Bidding Farewell To 'Hello, Dolly' Star Carol Channing: 6 Fascinating Facts About The Broadway Legend
January 16, 2019 13:05 By Mambee
Actress and singer Carol Channing passed away on Tuesday, January 15th, at her California home. In a statement by BroadwayWorld, Channing's publicist, B. Harlan Boll, confirmed her passing. He expressed his admiration of the Broadway icon and how heartbreaking her death was.
Saying good-bye is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
Many remembers Channing, who played such memorable roles as Dolly, in 'Hello Dolly!', Lorelei, in 'Lorelei', and Muzzy, in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'. Here are a few more facts about the late actress:
1. She performed 'Hello, Dolly!' more than 5000 times
The show, which debuted in 1964, was such huge success that Channing reprised her role as the matchmaker and busybody Dolly in several Broadway revivals. She ended up performing the musical more than 5000 times.
2. Her love for theater began at a young age
Channing's father was editor-in-chief of several Christian Science newspapers. When she was young, Channing would often go with her mother to the Curran Theatre to help distribute the newspapers backstage. She talked to The Austin Chronicle in 2005 about what she thought of the theater at the time:
I stood there and realized—I'll never forget it because it came over me so strongly—that this is a temple. This is a cathedral. ... I stood there and wanted to kiss the floorboards.
3. She hated that Barbra Streisand was cast as 'Dolly' in the film version
When the film was being made, the producers chose to cast then 25-year-old Barbra Streisand for the role of 'Dolly' because they felt like Channing's personality may not be the perfect fit. Later, Channing revealed to a newspaper that it was heartbreaking.
I felt like someone had kidnapped my part.
4. She was friends with the Kennedys
Jackie Kennedy once took her two kids to see 'Hello, Dolly!' and, afterward, they met Channing backstage. That summer, Channing visited the Kennedy family a few times.
5. She honored her father by releasing a special album
In 2009, Channing released a gospel album titled 'For Heaven's Sake' as a tribute to her late father, who sang her gospel songs as a child.
6. She married her high-school sweetheart at the age of 82
In 2003, when Channing was 82, she got married for the fourth time to Harry Kullijian. The couple met in middle school but lost touch over the years. In her autobiography, Channing described Harry as her 'first love" and talked about how she "went steady" with him for two years.
I was so in love with Harry I couldn’t stop hugging him.
Harry heard about that passage and reached out to Channing. They were engaged two weeks after their reunion. The pair stayed together until he passed away in 2011.
Carol Channing lived a full and exciting life. Her beauty, talent and the impact she had in the world will never be forgotten. She will be missed.