Beloved Broadway star Carol Channing has passed away. According to reports, she died Tuesday morning of natural causes after sufferring two strokes last year. She was 97.
A statement from her publicist B. Harlan Boll reads:
"It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original industry pioneer, legend and icon: Miss Carol Channing," he said in a statement. "I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped … or fell rather … into my life. It is so very hard to see the final curtain lower on a woman who has been a daily part of my life for more than a third of it. We supported each other, cried with each other, argued with each other, but always ended up laughing with each other."
Boll added, "Saying good-bye is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I know that when I feel those uncontrollable urges to laugh at everything and/or nothing at all, it will be because she is with me, tickling my funny bone."
She rose to fame with her performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" in the 1949 Broadway musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."
Since her 1948 Broadway debut in Blitzstein's "No For An Answer," Channing's Broadway appearances included "So Proudly We Hail," "Let's Face It," "Lend An Ear," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Show Girl," "Pygmalion," "The Millionairess," "The Vamp," "Four On A Garden" and "Wonderful Town."
And, of course… her most famous role of all was Dolly in "Hello, Dolly!"