She died of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Channing was best known for originating the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly! She first played the role in the St. James Theatre production, which ran from January 1964 to December 1970. The actress went on to play Dolly 5,000 more times on Broadway and in traveling productions.
Her other acting credits include the productions Let’s Face It!, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Proof Through the Night, Lend an Ear, Wonderful Town (in which she replaced Rosalind Russell), The Vamp, Show Girl and Four on a Garden and Lorelei.
Channing won a Golden Globe and was nominated in the best supporting actress category for playing eccentric widow Muzzy Van Hossmere in the 1967 musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Committee of Theatre Owners plan to dim the lights of Broadway theaters in New York for one minute on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7:45 p.m. to honor Channing.
Lin-Manuel Miranda honored Channing by tweeting the lyrics to Hello, Dolly!‘s “Before the Parade Passes By” on Twitter. The post concluded with a simple “Goodbye, Carol” followed by red heart emojis.
Bette Midler, who won a Tony for the title role in the 2017 Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, said in a statement: “There was only one Carol Channing, and there will never be another. She was that rarest of stage creatures, an absolute original. From her instantly recognizable voice, to her stature, which was close to 6 feet, with her wide-eyed take on the world she crept into theater-goers hearts and took up permanent residence there … I flat-out adored her and send her fans, her friends and her son, Channing Lowe, my condolences, although as far as I am concerned, she will live forever.’
Meanwhile, Bernadette Peters retweeted Miranda’s tribute. “She was show business and love personified,” she wrote. Peters stepped into the lead in the recent Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! last year after Midler’s departure.
“One of Broadway’s greatest lights, Carol Channing, has passed on,” George Takei tweeted. “She rejoins the heavens as a new diamond in the night sky, and as she famously sang, they are a girl’s best friend. Goodbye and farewell, forever our Dolly.”
Audra McDonald posted a photo of herself and Channing in mid-embrace to remember the actress. “RIP dear wondrous legendary lady. You were one of a kind,” she wrote.
Read on to see what others had to say about Channing.
“When the whistles blow
And the cymbals crash
And the sparklers light the sky
I’m gonna raise the roof
I’m gonna carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by!”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 15, 2019
She was show business and love personified https://t.co/isNzReB733
— Bernadette Peters (@OfficialBPeters) January 15, 2019
One of Broadway’s greatest lights, Carol Channing, has passed on. She rejoins the heavens as a new diamond in the night sky, and as she famously sang, they are a girl’s best friend. Goodbye and farewell, forever our Dolly. https://t.co/0u2zLcAnff
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 15, 2019
Goodbye Dolly. https://t.co/00Wz6nMsTp
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) January 15, 2019
And thanks for it all.
— Alex Brightman (@ABrightMonster) January 15, 2019
RIP dear wondrous legendary lady. You were one of a kind.pic.twitter.com/Me7yB96ciO
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) January 15, 2019
Dazzling. Priceless. Durable. Flawless. A diamond.
Carol Channing, 1921-2019.
Rest in peace.
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) January 15, 2019
We’ll only ever say HELLO, not Goodbye. The legendary #CarolChanning, January 31, 1921 – January 15, 2019. Tomorrow is the 55th anniversary of the original HELLO, DOLLY opening night at the St. James. She will always be Wow Wow Wow, fellas. Forever. pic.twitter.com/OAaskBnkjV
— Jordan Roth (@Jordan_Roth) January 15, 2019
I am so sad just lost my incredible original inspiration #carolchanning I saw her in Hello Dolly when I was 8 and she changed my DNA love you lady forever one of the greatest entertainers of all times
— Sandra Bernhard (@SandraBernhard) January 15, 2019
RIP Carol Channing. pic.twitter.com/WJNJIdp5il
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) January 15, 2019
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) January 15, 2019
— Kristy Swanson (@KristySwansonXO) January 15, 2019
Rest In Peace https://t.co/lslGvaibrm
— Bebe Neuwirth (@BebeNeuwirth) January 15, 2019
Dear Carol, I knew of you as the iconic #DollyLevi. I want to thank you for inspiring me to sink my teeth into the role of the legendary Dolly in high school and celebrate the strong funny vulnerable young woman in me. May you Rest In Peace and Power. #CarolChanning pic.twitter.com/KrhXd9171j
— Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez) January 15, 2019
RIP Carol Channing. One of the nicest, sweetest people I ever had the pleasure of working with. What an original, one of a kind, LEGEND! : Herb Ritts #carolchanning #love #icon #legend #oneofakind #original #wonderful #restinpeace pic.twitter.com/OJxGlCQaCE
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) January 15, 2019
A star…a legend…an inspiration. You will forever be missed. R.I.P Carol.
“Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.” – Carol Channing pic.twitter.com/GdSmomRSiJ
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) January 15, 2019
Carol Channing was one of the few who paved the path for so many women in theater and beyond… I will forever admire and look up to you, Carol. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/RTUeyqxAtW
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) January 15, 2019
Carol Channing performed a piece on my Free To Be album and was adorable. Here she is whispering to me. Hope it’s comedic advice. There was no one better! pic.twitter.com/uxQQxi6N9g
— Marlo Thomas (@MarloThomas) January 15, 2019
“Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday. But never ever jam today!” R.I.P. to an icon. Carol Channing pic.twitter.com/Z4G6OcCP91
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) January 15, 2019
RIP Carol Channing. “corn”????
— ADAM LAMBERT (@adamlambert) January 15, 2019
RIP. Carol Channing. You will always be my Dolly. pic.twitter.com/VMZx1rtOhL
— Lea DeLaria (@realleadelaria) January 15, 2019
Farewell, Dolly. Taking your final bow but revered and loved forever. RIP Carol Channing. pic.twitter.com/9uj8OCPvyM
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) January 15, 2019
Sad to hear of the passing of Carol Channing. An icon. Her unique voice and beautiful personality always lit up the stage and screen whenever she was on. Her long career is one to honored and enjoyed!
Dolly’ll never go away, Dolly’ll never go away#RIPCarolChanning https://t.co/CWyacm5QKG
— Brian O’Halloran (@BrianCOHalloran) January 15, 2019
Carol was a true life-force…a kind and effervescent woman who never allowed the parade to pass her by! xo B pic.twitter.com/C2WSCsYZbl
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) January 15, 2019