Broadway icon Carol Channing passed away at 97 years old today, January 15. She is best known for her Tony Award-winning role as Dolly Levi in the hit Broadway musical “Hello Dolly!” However, she is also known for claiming she was a Black woman.
Taking a look at Channing, one would think she does not have any recent African ancestry in her family history. However, back in 2002, she told CNN’s Larry King that her grandmother’s birth certificate on her father’s side was marked as “colored.” She explained to King, “I was 16 years old and my mother told me. And you know, only the reaction on me was, ‘Gee, I got the greatest genes in show business.'”
However, Channing told Wendy Williams back in 2010 that she didn’t know if it was true — and that she thinks her mother was playing a joke on her. But she “hoped” it was true. Watch below:
Channing never took a DNA test that we know of, but here is an alleged picture of her father and he looks far from being a man of color.
Might be safe to assume Channing’s mama was joking.
Nonetheless, Channing’s illustrious career on Broadway is unmatched. The actress passed away at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. Publicist B. Harlan Boll told USA Today she died of natural causes after suffering two strokes last year. Boll said, “It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original industry pioneer, legend and icon: Miss Carol Channing. I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped … or fell rather … into my life. It is so very hard to see the final curtain lower on a woman who has been a daily part of my life for more than a third of it. We supported each other, cried with each other, argued with each other, but always ended up laughing with each other.”
Rest in peace, Carol Channing.