|Dolly Gallagher Levi|
|The Merchant of Yonkers character|
|First appearance||The Merchant of Yonkers|
|Created by||Thornton Wilder|
|Portrayed by||See below|
|Spouse||Ephram Levi (dec.)|
|Home||Yonkers, New York|
Dolly Gallagher Levi is a fictional character and the protagonist of the 1938 play The Merchant of Yonkers and its multiple adaptations, the most notable being the 1964 musical Hello Dolly! Levi's main profession is matchmaking in Yonkers, New York. She also begins a romantic involvement with businessman, Horace Vandergelder, when she sends his niece on a date with a local town boy.
Dolly Levi is a "widow in her middle years who has decided to begin her life again. She is a matchmaker, meddler, opportunist, and a life-loving woman." She is from Yonkers, New York and was married to Ephram Levi, who dies before the events of the story. She is loud, brassy, and constantly meddling in others' lives. These qualities make her beloved by her hometown. During one of her matchmaking jobs, she meets half-a-billionaire, Horrace Vandergelder, who owns a store in downtown Yonkers. During the story, she attempts to make him fall in love with her, though her attempts are mostly unsuccessful. She also constantly quotes her late husband's favorite saying:
"Money is like manure. It's no good unless you spread it around."
Main article: Hello, Dolly! (musical)
During the first act of the musical, Dolly is still quite attached to her late husband, Ephram. However, during the act finale, "Before the Parade Passes By," she decides to move on with her life and chase after Horrace's affections. In the titular song, Dolly claims to the waiters of the Harmonia Gardens restaurant that she will never leave New York again.
Main article: Hello, Dolly! (film)
While many portrayals of Levi in the musical are comedic and loving, Barbara Streisand's concept of the character is more harsh to those around her, especially Horrace (who is played by Walter Matthau). This feeling can be seen especially in the penultimate song, "So Long Dearie."
Clips from the 1969 musical film were featured in the 2008 computer-animated film WALL-E.