Her publicist confirmed that Channing died at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, of natural causes. Channing had two strokes in 2018.
Channing is best known for originating the lead role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Broadway production of Hello Dolly, which began in 1964. She went on to play Dolly 5,000 more times on Broadway and in various traveling productions.
The current Hello Dolly touring company released a statement on Tuesday. ‘We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing,’ it read. ‘She was a ‘Dolly’ for the ages, and a true icon of the American theater. Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight’s performance in San Diego to her memory.’
In addition to Hello Dolly, Channing starred in the Broadway stage versions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), Lend an Ear (1949), The Vamp (1956) and Show Girl (1961).
She also had an extensive film and TV career that earned her nominations for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for her role as Muzzy Van Hossmere in the 1967 musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Channing also went on to guest star in the popular TV shows Laugh-In, The Love Boat, The Addams Family, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Magnum P.I., to name a few.
Channing received many awards throughout her long career, but one of the most recent was the Tony’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
Those who knew Channing well — including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Barbra Streisand, Pee-wee Herman, George Takei, Margaret Cho, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth and Miss Piggy — took to Twitter Tuesday to honor the legendary actress and singer.
‘She rejoins the heavens as a new diamond in the night sky, and as she famously sang, they are a girl’s best friend,’ George Takei tweeted. Wrote Barbra Streisand: ‘Carol was a true life-force… a kind and effervescent woman who never allowed the parade to pass her by!’