Broadway star Carol Channing died on Tuesday, only 16 days before what would have been her 98th birthday. She is survived by her son, 66-year-old cartoonist Channing Carson.

Channing will, in part, by remembered for her status as a Broadway star, acting in iconic works like “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” and “Hello, Dolly!” Journalist Michael Musto interviewed Channing on multiple occasions, commentating how she always seemed to portray “the gold digger or schemer who had to manipulate her way to the top.”

Musto spoke highly of Channing’s talent on the stage, saying, “She was one of the greatest musical theater icons, and you know how gays love musical theater. She was the definition of gay camp in that she was over the top, but she was always in on the joke,” adding, “I think part of us identified having to work people in a way to get our just desserts – that is part of being an outcast, and we just found her cartoony and delightful.”

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Unlike many other celebrities from her era, Channing was on board with and embraced her status as a gay icon. Musto, who is gay himself, was grateful Channing served as an icon for the LGBTQ community. During a 2013 interview with Channing, he asked her why she believed gay men appreciated her.

“I don’t know, but I am terribly grateful, she responded. “I mean, gay men seem to always know who has talent before the rest of the public does, don’t you think? A stamp of approval from the gay community is almost a guarantee of success. Just ask Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, or Cher. I think they would agree.”

Many have taken to social media to mourn Channing’s passing, honoring the loss of a generation-defining talent.

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