Carol Channing Dies At 97. Watch Her Give A Tour Through '60s Los Angeles
Legendary Broadway actress Carol Channing died early Tuesday morning, her publicist told Broadway World. She was best known for doing shows like Hello, Dolly! and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway, but called Southern California home in her later years — the 97-year-old died at her home in Rancho Mirage.
She was beloved for her effervescent personality and her distinctive voice. You can see that in this 1966 TV special, where she took viewers on a comedic tour of L.A.
Channing winkingly praises the city's beaches alongside its cars, smog, and drive-in restaurants. She dispenses Los Angeles facts while playing up her ditzy persona.
Her tour includes:
- Wilshire Boulevard
- The L.A. County Museum of Art
- The Los Angeles Music Center
- The Chinese Theatre
- A studio lot
- The Original Farmers Market
- And a traffic-aborted mission to see Dodger Stadium
There are also multiple, ahem, culturally insensitive (cough racist cough) moments in this 1966 video. You'll get Channing donning a stereotypically Asian outfit as stereotypically Asian music plays when she visits the Chinese Theatre. Then, at the Farmers Market, the entire "joke" of the scene appears to be the audience laughing and Channing reacting awkwardly to the way an Asian person answers a question.
The video makes for an interesting look back at '60s Los Angeles — and at dated attitudes. Beyond the racial elements, a lot of the jokes are based around a dumb blonde persona that Channing is playing up. In real life, she scored one of the highest recorded results on an IQ test, according to Broadway World.
For more of a look back at Channing, watch this trailer for the 2012 documentary, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. You can also read more about her life in this obituary from NPR.