Friday, July 19, 2024

RIP: The Original Dolly Levi, Sparkling Broadway Legend Carol Channing, Dies at Age 97


Long before Bette Midler charged thousands of dollars to see her on Broadway, there was an original Dolly Levi. Carol Channing, who created the role in 1964, has died at age 97. Her sparkling personality let her transcend Broadway. Channing was a regular on talk shows, and often toured with George Burns or Jack Benny.

I was lucky enough as a teenager to see her and Benny perform once, and they were magic. She had a sly sense of humor that belied wide, innocent looking eyes. (She could bat an eyelash, that’s for sure.)

There aren’t many legends left. But Carol Channing sure was one. You can bet they’ll be dimming the lights on Broadway tonight.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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