In honor of Carol Burnett’s 80th birthday (Friday, April 26), I’ve decided to dedicate this post to her. It is also my submission for Carol Burnett Day on Tumblr, featured on the All About Carol blog.
Carol Burnett has been making millions of people laugh for over fifty years. Her talent is rare and inimitable, and she has incredible range in her acting skills. She is not simply a comedienne, Carol Burnett is an immensely gifted actress. When it comes to funny ladies, there aren’t many in her league, but Carol is equally talented in drama. At the beginning of her career, she stuck to what she knew–comedy. Her first big break was as Princess Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress on Broadway, a comedic role if ever there was one. During the run of Mattress, she landed a job as a regular on The Garry Moore Show which is what really propelled Carol into the spotlight. She spent four seasons on the show before moving on to other things. She went on to act in a few more Broadway productions, but eventually things slowed down a bit. She and her husband, Joe Hamilton (and their first daughter Carrie) decided to head to California to see if they could find success in Hollywood. For Carol it was going home, as she had been raised in Hollywood–just a block north of Hollywood Boulevard–since the age of seven years old. Once they arrived in Hollywood, Carol took advantage of a clause in her contract which entitled her to her own show to include 30 one-hour sketch comedy episodes. CBS tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted. The network had no faith in her, but that “hopeless” show went on to run eleven seasons and became one of the most beloved television shows of all time. After eleven years, Carol again decided it was time to pursue different things. She began taking more serious roles–a prime example of this is her role as Peg Mullen in Friendly Fire, the mother of a soldier who was killed in Vietnam as a result of a mistake made by his own company during a training exercise. Carol also took the role of Miss Hannigan in John Huston’s adaptation of Annie, and Carol’s Miss Hannigan has since become iconic. She was THE Miss Hannigan. We should all count ourselves fortunate that this wonderful woman is still with us, receiving many much-deserved awards and honors at this stage of her life. Carol is also an accomplished author, having written three books.
Carol Burnett is one of my role models. She is a fantastic example to follow and one of the nicest people in Hollywood. Although she is a legend and receives, no doubt, hundreds of letters a month at least, she still takes the time to answer her fan letters. I know this to be true because I wrote to her myself and received a reply a few weeks later. Carol has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I grew up staying with my grandparents a great deal of the time, and there we would watch re-runs of The Carol Burnett Show regularly. She is an American treasure and here’s hoping she’s with us for many years to come. Happy birthday Carol!