Broadway dims its lights in memory of Carol Channing

The Tony Award-winning Broadway legend died on January 15, 2019, at the age of 97.

Carol Channing

In accordance with The Broadway League, the Broadway theatres will dim their marquee lights tonight in memory of three-time Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Carol Channing.

Thomas Schumacher, Chairman of the Broadway League commented: “Carol Channing personified everything we love about American musical comedy: big, funny and joyous. To see her hold an audience in her thrall was a master class in star power. Hello, Dolly! opened 55 years ago tomorrow. She always was famous for her timing.”

Ms. Channing was born in Seattle, Washington on January 31, 1921 and passed away in Rancho Mirage, California on January 15, 2019, at the age of 97. The lights will be dimmed at exactly 7:45pm ET tonight for one minute.

She famously originated the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the cherished Broadway musical comedy Hello, Dolly! in 1964, winning her first Tony Award that same year. She went on to reprise the role in both the 1978 and 1995 Broadway revivals of Hello, Dolly! Bette Midler, who also took home a Tony Award for her performance as Dolly Gallagher Levi in 2017, also released a statement to commemorate Ms. Channing:

“There was only one Carol Channing, and there will never be another. She was that rarest of stage creatures, an absolute original. From her instantly recognizable voice, to her stature, which was close to 6 feet, with her wide-eyed take on the world she crept into theater-goers hearts and took up permanent residence there.

When Scott Rudin invited me to play Dolly in 2016, I immediately thought of her and went to visit. How could I not? She had played the part over 7,000 times around the world, and to the world, she WAS Dolly. It was one of the great afternoons of my life. She was gracious, and she was generous, sharing with me the legends, the lore and the mechanics of Dolly, much of which had been lost in time. I will forever be grateful to her for lighting my way to one of the most magical experiences of my performing life, and for the hours I spent in her company. I flat-out adored her and send her fans, her friends and her son, Channing Lowe, my condolences, although as far as I am concerned, she will live forever”.

Ms. Channing's other Broadway credits include Tony-nominated performances in Lorelei (1974), Show Girl (1961), and The Vamp (1956). She also appeared on the Great White Way in Four on a Garden (1971), Wonderful Town (1954), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), Lend an Ear (1948, receiving a Theatre World Award in 1949), Proof Thro' the Night (1942), and Let's Face It! (1941). She was also the recipient of a Special Tony Award in 1968 and a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995.

On screen, she also earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in 1968 for her performance as Muzzy Van Hossmere in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."


Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!

(Photos by Joan Marcus)