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Carol Channing: In Memoriam Playlist

Carol Channing, performing in Los Angeles in 2004. Channing died Tuesday at age 97. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Carol Channing, performing in Los Angeles in 2004. Channing died Tuesday at age 97. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The late Carol Channing's charisma and ebullience were so big that only a Broadway stage could contain her. In the two iconic roles she created — her breakout turn as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and later, as the fast-talking matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly — her crackling voice and blazing theatrical chops became legendary. Her outsized mouth, fluttering eyes and nimbus of platinum-blonde hair just underscored those gifts.

But she shared some of her comedic magic in other realms, too. Her entry on the Marlo Thomas-speared kids' classic Free To Be ... You And Me, "Housework" (written by lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who also wrote the lyrics for Fiddler On The Roof), is a sparkling takedown of consumer culture, and a sketch called "The Inside Story," from the musical revue Show Girl, isssss a classsssssic.

Copyright NPR 2019.

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