"I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh or sing this song."
(The Carol Burnett Show Theme Song)
Carol Burnett (left) and her half sister circa 1945 courtesy ancestry.com.
Carol Burnett spent 10 years signing off her show by singing the song "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together". Then she would tug on her ear, a sign to her Grandma who had raised her, and exit the stage. Here is a look at her successful and, at times, troubled life.
Carol Burnett was born in 1933 to a movie theater manager father and a publicity writer mother. Both of her parents were alcoholics and divorced in the late 1930's, leaving Carol with her grandmother. Carol grew up in an impoverished neighbourhood of Hollywood where she invented an imaginary twin named Karen, who resembled Shirley Temple, to combat her loneliness. It was that creativity that would serve her well in her career.
Shirley Temple courtesy wordpress.com.
At Hollywood High, Carol discovered that she had a gift for comedy. In 1951, the young redhead performed a comedy routine and received a warm reception. "They laughed and it felt great." Carol found laughter to be healing. She wanted more.
Carol's mother had always encourage her to become a writer, but she could not afford the tuition to go to university. An anonymous donor left her an enveloppe with $50 which gave her the opportunity to go to college. She enrolled in the journalism program at U.C.L.A. but, after discovering her love for acting, switched to theatre arts.
Carol was discovered at a black tie party in Hollywood. She and her boyfriend were hired to be comics for the night. One of the guests was so impressed that he loaned the young couple $1000 each to pursue their comedy routine in New York City. Both quit college and headed to the Big Apple.
"Once Upon a Mattress" playbill circa 1959 courtesy www.playbillvault.com.
After holding down odd jobs like a hat check girl, Carol found her first big break on the Tonight Show where she performed her comedy routine followed by The Ed Sullivan Show. She starred in "Once Upon a Mattress" on Broadway in 1959. Then she had a guest appearance on "The Twilight Zone". She also guested on Jim Nabor's Show. Carol found a friend and mentor in Lucille Ball and was invited on her show in 1966. Lucille offered her a weekly series called "Here's Agnes" to be produced by Desilu Productions. However, Carol turned it down as she had another project waiting in the wings.
Carol Burnett guest stars on "Here's Lucy" courtesy blogspot.com.
In September 1967, The Carol Burnett Show debuted with Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and later Vicki Lawrence, discovered by Carol herself. Carol's characters, like the charwoman carrying the mop, were unforgettable as was her Tarzan yell. The Carol Burnett show would garner 23 Emmy awards and several Golden Globes before it signed off in 1978.
Rita Hayworth guest stars on the Carol Burnett Show circa 1971 courtesy upload.wikimedia.org
Carol's personal life was not quite as successful. She married her college boyfriend Don Saroyan in 1955, but the union only lasted a few years. In 1962, she married director Joe Hamilton and the marriage produced three children. However, they divorced in 1984. Carol married Brian Miller in 2001. Tragedy struck the following year when Carol's daughter Carrie Hamilton passed away from cancer. Carol penned her memoir This Time Together
in 2010. She is a survivor.
Carol Burnett circa 1974 courtesy upload.wikimedia.org.
CAROL BURNETT'S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks
1/2 toasted almonds
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped
3 tbsp dark rum (optional)
Combine water, sugar and rum. Add chocolate in small saucepan; cook for five minutes. Put into blender or food processor. Add egg yolks and almonds, turning the processor on and off until almonds are chopped. Put into large bowl and then carefully fold in cream. Freeze or chill before serving.