Famous Like Me > Singer > B > Carol Burnett
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Profile of Carol Burnett
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||26th April 1933
|Place of Birth:
||San Antonio, Texas, USA
Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933) was one of the most successful female comedians on American television, thanks largely to her variety show that ran on CBS from 1967 through 1978.
Burnett was born in San Antonio, Texas to two alcoholic parents, Jodie and Louise Burnett, who left her with her grandmother. Carol moved to Hollywood, California with her grandmother where she graduated from Hollywood High School and then attended University of California, Los Angeles and worked her way up through bit parts on TV. Burnett came to prominence in the mid-1950s singing a novelty love song, "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles". About this time, she also appeared in a one-season NBC sitcom, Stanley, with Buddy Hackett. She achieved success on Broadway in the 1959 musical Once Upon a Mattress. In the same year she appeared on The Garry Moore Show as a regular until 1962, most memorably with her portrayal of a cleaning woman. With her success on this variety show she finally came to headliner status and appeared in the 1962 special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall co-starring her friend Julie Andrews.
Burnett's first husband was Don Saroyan (no known relation of author William Saroyan) to whom she was married from December 15, 1955 until they divorced in 1962. On May 4, 1963, Burnett married Roman Catholic TV producer Joe Hamilton, a divorced father of 8, with whom she had 3 daughters, including late actress and writer, Carrie Hamilton, and singer Erin Hamilton. The marriage ended in divorce in 1984, and Hamilton would ultimately die of cancer. Her last husband is the much-younger Brian Miller, to whom she has been wed since November 2001.
Before getting her variety show, Burnett also appeared as a panelist on the game show Password — an association she maintained until the early 1980s.
The hour-long The Carol Burnett Show was a huge success, garnering 22 Emmy Awards and continuing to have success in syndicated reruns. Its ensemble cast included Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, and Vicki Lawrence, who was cast partly because she looked like a younger Burnett.
Burnett drew attention in 1981, when she sued the National Enquirer for libel after the tabloid newspaper described her alleged public drunkenness, purportedly with Henry Kissinger. (The fact that both of her parents suffered from alcoholism made this a particularly sensitive issue to Burnett.) The case is a landmark in the study of libel cases involving celebrities, although the unprecedented $1.6 million verdict for Burnett was reduced to about $800,000 on an appeal, and the case was eventually settled out of court. She donated a portion of that award to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism saying she hoped the suit would teach aspiring journalists the dangers of defaming individuals in articles. The money was used to fund Law and Ethics courses at the school.
Her film work includes The Four Seasons, Annie, and Noises Off.
Burnett returned to TV in the mid-1990s as a supporting character on the sitcom Mad About You when she played Theresa Stemple (originally played by Nancy Dussault), the mother of main character Jamie Buchman, played by Oscar and Emmy winning actress Helen Hunt.
Personal tragedy struck Burnett in 2002 when her daughter, actress and writer Carrie Hamilton, died of lung cancer at the age of 38. Hamilton had a problem with drugs as a teenager but overcame it with her mother's help. She and her mother often spoke out against drug abuse. Carrie Hamilton was a talented actress in her own right, and she and her mother appeared together in the 1988 television film Hostage.
Burnett was a recipient of the 2003 Kennedy Center Honors at the age of 70.
Burnett has been a long time fan of the soap opera All My Children. She realized a dream when Agnes Nixon created the role of Verla Grubbs for her. Burnett suddenly found herself playing the long-lost daughter of Langly Wallingford (Louis Edmonds), and raising hell for her stepmother Phoebe Tyler-Wallingford (the late Ruth Warrick). She hosted a 25th anniversary special about the show in 1995 and made a brief cameo as Verla on the January 5, 2005 episode celebrating the 35th anniversary of the program. Due to scheduling conflicts, the scene was shot on the Los Angeles set of General Hospital instead of the New York City set where All My Children is taped.
- The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show (regular in 1955)
- Stanley (1956-1957)
- The Garry Moore Show (regular from 1959-1962)
- The Carol Burnett Show (1960)
- Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall (1962)
- An Evening with Carol Burnett (1963)
- Calamity Jane (1963)
- Once Upon a Mattress (1964)
- The Entertainers (1964-1965)
- [[Carol + 2]] (1967)
- The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)
- The Carol Burnett Show in London (1970)
- Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center (1971)
- Once Upon a Mattress (1972)
- 6 Rms Riv Vu (1974)
- Out to Lunch (1974)
- Sills and Burnett at the Met (1976)
- All My Children (cast member in 1976 and in 1983, 1995, and 2005)
- Dolly and Carol in Nashville (1978)
- The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (1978)
- Friendly Fire (1979)
- Carol Burnett & Company (1979) (canceled after 4 episodes)
- The Tenth Month (1979)
- Eunice (1982) (pilot for Mama's Family)
- Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice' (1982)
- Between Friends (1983)
- Mama's Family (cast member from 1983-1985)
- Burnett Discovers Domingo (1984)
- The Laundromat (1985)
- Follies in Concert (1986)
- Fresno (1986) (miniseries)
- Plaza Suite (1987) (also executive producer)
- Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin (1987)
- Hostage (1988)
- Julie & Carol: Together Again (1989)
- Carol & Company (1990) (canceled after a few months)
- The Carol Burnett Show (1991) (canceled after 2 months)
- The Carol Burnett Show: A Reunion (1993)
- Carol Burnett: The Special Years (1994)
- Seasons of the Heart (1994)
- Men, Movies & Carol (1994)
- Grace (1998)
- The Marriage Fool (1998)
- Putting It Together (2000)
- Carol Burnett: Show Stoppers (2001) (also executive producer)
- The Carol Burnett Show: Let's Bump Up the Lights (2004) (also executive producer)
- Once Upon a Mattress (2005) (also executive producer)
- Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963)
- Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968) (short subject)
- Star Spangled Salesman (1968) (short subject)
- Pete 'n' Tillie (1972)
- The Front Page (1974)
- A Wedding (1978)
- HealtH (1980)
- The Four Seasons (1981)
- Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
- Annie (1982)
- Noises Off... (1992)
- Moon Over Broadway (1997) (documentary)
- Get Bruce (1999) (documentary)
- The Trumpet of the Swan (2001) (voice)
- Broadway: the Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003) (documentary)
- The Last Guy on Earth (2006) (currently in pre-production)
- Once Upon a Mattress (1959)
- Fade Out - Fade In (1964)
- Moon Over Buffalo (1995)
- Putting It Together (1999)
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