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Carol Burnett, award-winning actress and best-selling author, is widely recognized by the public and her peers for her work on stage and screen, most notably “The Carol Burnett Show.” Named in 2007 by TIME magazine as one of “100 Best Television Shows of All Time,” “The Carol Burnett Show” ran for 11 years, averaged 30 million viewers per week, and received 25 Emmy® Awards, making it one of the most honored shows in television history. But it is Carol’s artistic brilliance, her respect and appreciation of her fans, and her graciousness, integrity, warmth, and humor on and off screen that have made her one of the most beloved performers in entertainment and one of the most admired women in America.
As a highly acclaimed actress, Carol has been honored with Emmys®, Golden Globes®, People’s Choice Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, an Ace Award, and the Peabody. A Kennedy Center Honoree, Carol has also been honored with the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In 2013, the City of Los Angeles named the intersection of Highland Ave. and Selma, directly adjacent to Hollywood High School, Carol’s alma mater, Carol Burnett Square and her star appears on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Carol has penned three New York Times Bestsellers, "Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story," about Burnett and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" and her autobiography, "One More Time." Both "Carrie and Me" and "This Time Together" earned Carol Grammy® nominations for Best Spoken Word.
In 2013, Carol co-starred opposite lifelong friends, Betty White and Tim Conway, on TV Land’s hit series, “Hot in Cleveland.” In addition to her appearance on “Hawaii 5-0,” Carol co-starred opposite Jane Lynch in the FOX television smash-hit “Glee,” when she created the role of Sue Sylvester’s mother and received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal as a murderess on “Law and Order: SVU.” Carol can be heard alongside Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as the voice of Kangaroo in 20th Century FOX’s animated feature, “Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who” and as Hara in Disney’s animation adventure “The Secret World of Arrietty,” co-starring Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.
In 2012, Time Life released “The Carol Burnett Show” on DVD and sold more than four million DVDs in six months, setting a record. A comprehensive collector’s edition boxed set is available exclusively from timelife.com.
In 2000, Carol added playwright to her credits when she and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, began writing a play together based on Carol’s autobiography. Sadly, Carrie passed away four months prior to the play’s premiere at the Chicago Goodman Theatre in April 2002. But Carrie’s dream was fulfilled when "Hollywood Arms" premiered on Broadway. Directed by Hal Prince, "Hollywood Arms" premiered on Broadway on October 31, 2002. Carol established The Carrie Hamilton Foundation to honor her daughter’s memory and her passion for the performing arts.
Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1933, Carol, her mother, and grandmother moved to a less-than-glamorous section of Hollywood in the late 1930s. Raised in a small studio apartment by her grandmother, but with no financial means, Carol could only dream of college. After receiving an anonymous donation of $50 to pay for her tuition to UCLA, Carol enrolled. While studying journalism, Carol took an acting class, and the rest is history. After moving to New York City, Carol staged a musical revue, featuring her out-of-work roommates from The Rehearsal Club, a theatrical boarding house, performing material by unemployed writers and composers. Soon, offers for summer stock and 13 weeks' work on Paul Winchell's TV show followed. While performing at The Blue Angel nightclub, she was spotted by talent bookers from both “The Jack Paar Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show” and was invited to perform her infamous rendition of "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles” on television. Shortly thereafter, Carol landed the leading role of Princess Winifred in the original Broadway musical production of "Once Upon a Mattress." In 1959, after guest spots on Garry Moore's morning TV show, she became a permanent cast member on “The Garry Moore Show,” taping the show during the day and performing Mattress at night for the remainder of its Broadway run. Carol remained a regular on Garry Moore for the next four years.
During this period, Carol met Julie Andrews and the two became close friends. After the duo appeared in their Emmy®-winning special, “Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall,” CBS took notice of this emerging new talent and signed her to a 10-year contract. On September 11, 1967, “The Carol Burnett Show” premiered on CBS. With a talented ensemble featuring Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner, costumes by Bob Mackie and music by Buz Kohan and Ken and Mitzie Welch, the show became a hit. Guest stars included many of the greatest performers from music, stage and screen including Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Jimmy Stewart, Gloria Swanson, Ronald Reagan, Betty White, Cher, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Jim Nabors, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Rock Hudson, Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, and many, many more. Carol’s portrayal of Starlet O’Hara in “Went WithThe Wind,” a parody of “Gone With The Wind,” is always counted among the top 10 greatest moments in television history. The “curtain-rod” dress, as it is known, now resides at The Smithsonian.
After the show concluded in 1978, Carol immersed herself in numerous projects. Her film projects included playing Miss Hannigan in the film version of the musical, “Annie,” directed by John Huston, “Noises Off,” directed by Peter Bogdanovich, “A Wedding,” directed by Robert Altman, and “Four Seasons,” directed by Alan Alda. She starred in the television series “Fresno” and “Carol & Co.” as well as the highly acclaimed made-for-TV movies “Friendly Fire” and “Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice.” Carol has also produced and starred in numerous television specials. In 2005, she returned to her Once Upon A Mattress roots, appearing in a television special, this time playing the evil Queen Aggravain. Her Broadway credits include "Fade Out, Fade In," book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green with music by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim's musical review "Putting It Together" and Ken Ludwig’s farce "Moon Over Buffalo" starring with Philip Bosco.
When not performing or occasionally touring the country in her Q & A format "Laughter & Reflection," she enjoys spending time with her husband Brian, her two daughters Erin and Jody, and her grandsons. As a passionate supporter of the arts and education, she has also established several scholarships around the country, including “The Carol Burnett Musical Theatre Competition” at her alma mater, UCLA.