Carol Channing has passed away at the age of 97.
The Broadway star was known for her raspy voice and role as Dolly in the musical Hello Dolly!
Born in Seattle, she was first introduced to the theater when she and her mother used to stand outside of the venues distributing Christian Science Monitor issues.
As a teen, she found out that she was multiracial and had Black ancestry. Her father never revealed that he was listed as “colored” on his birth certificate because his mother was Black. In an interview with Larry King back in 2002, she said, “I was 16 years old and my mother told me. And, you know, only the reaction on me was, ‘Gee, I got the greatest genes in show business.'”
In a later interview with the Chicago Tribune, she said, “I know it’s true the moment I sing and dance. I’m proud as can be of [my Black ancestry]. It’s one of the great strains in show business. I’m so grateful. My father was a very dignified man and as white as I am. My [paternal] grandparents were Nordic German, so apparently I [too] took after them [in appearance].”
Her breakout role came in Gentleman Prefer Blondes in 1949. She portrayed Lorelei Lee. However, her most notable role came in 1964 with Hello Dolly! She went on to reprise that role for decades to come.
For her role of Muzzy Van Hossmere in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Mille, she won a Golden Globe and was also nominated for an Academy Award.
She continued to work in theater, film and television over the years, and her last appearance was guest starring on RuPaul’s Drag Race.