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.