Broadway legend and comedian Carol Channing passed away from natural causes at 97 years old on Tuesday morning.
The Tony Award-winning (Hello Dolly!) actress accrued many accolades during her career, including an Academy Award for her transition to the silver screen (Thoroughly Modern Millie); but she regarded being placed on Richard Nixon's "Hate List" to be one of her highest honors. She was also the first celebrity to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show (and the first to perform twice), so we have her in part to thank for the comedic fails of past halftime shows, as well as the most theatrical ones.
With iconic blond hair and a trademark rasp, Channing gracefully took on the challenges of show business — and her four marriages — with a consistent sense of humor, once saying, "Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward." She also ascribed much of her iconic status to her endeared LGBT following, as she openly stated, "The gay community is responsible for so much of my success, and I love them. It's a mutual love affair, really. They make the better audiences too, because they laugh often and loudly."
Channing's storied career earned her a lifetime achievement award at the 1995 Tony Awards. She later noted, "Live theater is something that can't possibly die because we're working on their metabolism." She added, "Some nights they're hyper, some nights they're slow, some nights they're sleepy, we have to nurse them; we have to find the way in to communicate with them... It's an electric thing for the performer; it's like plugging me in the wall."
On Tuesday, modern Broadway stars like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sandra Bernhard took to Twitter to remember Channing. Other actors like George Takei and even Josh Gad posted tributes.
Channing is survived by her son, Channing Carson.
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