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Goodbye, Dolly! One-of-a-kind Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at 97

Goodbye, Dolly! One-of-a-kind Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at 97

“Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.” — Carol Channing

If anyone has heard her share of both gaffaws and clapping, it would be Channing, who died on Tuesday 16 days shy of her 98th birthday. The Seattle native broke out on Broadway in 1949 in as Lorelei Lee, an irrepressible man-crazy gold-digger from Little Rock, Arkansas, in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” She performed the showstopper, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” which would be memorably warbled in the 1953 film version by Marilyn Monroe and influenced Madonna‘s 1985 music video for “Material Girl.”

Her unique voice, willowy stature and bigger-than-life personality proved to be a plus but also a minus, since she always fused her traits into her characters. In a cover story for Life magazine, she was described as “an over-grown kewpie” who sang like “a moon-mad hillbilly.” Still, Channing had out-sized talent

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