Carol Channing dies aged 97

Broadway icon Carol Channing passed away of natural causes aged 97, her publicist confirmed.

Known for her blonde bouffant, huge smile and gravelly voice, Channing graced stages from the age of 19, starting with No for an Answer. She gained recognition when she took on the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with signature song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Channing appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1950, hailed as becoming a new star on Broadway.

Her star shone in 1964 as the star of Hello, Dolly! which won her Best Actress in a Musical at the Tony Awards the same year. The role is one she would perform more than 5,000 times over three Broadway runs.

Four years later, she went on to win Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for her role as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie, alongside Julie Andrews.

Channing was the first celebrity to perform at the Super Bowl halftime in 1970 and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame 11 years later. In 1995, Channing was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.