There’s no slowing Carol Burnett down! The comic actress has been a staple of the entertainment industry for 62 years, and she’s still adding credits to her impressive resume. And now, Hollywood is taking time to recognize her for her hard work with a very special TV occasion. CBS is airing the Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special to celebrate her iconic sketch comedy series, The Carol Burnett Show, which premiered 50 years ago. A number of A-list stars — including Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Jay Leno, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, and Carol herself — will toast the groundbreaking show, as well as her more than half-century on television.
Ahead of the Sunday, Dec. 3 special, it’s probably time we refresh ourselves on Carol. Scroll down to learn more about the comedienne and her life through the years!
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Carol entered the world on April 26, 1933, in San Antonio, TX, and is now 84 years old. Though she was technically born into the movie biz — her mom worked as a studio publicity writer and her dad as a theater manager — she and younger half-sister Chrissie were raised by their grandmother due to their parents’ alcoholism.
Carol planned to study journalism at UCLA, but she soon set her sights on becoming a playwright, changing her majors to theater and English. Due to the program’s requirements, she took an acting course and fell in love with the craft. She made a name for herself by performing in comedies and musicals at the school and left during her senior year to pursue an acting career in NYC.
The actress had early success alongside Buddy Hackett in the sitcom Stanley in 1956, though the series lasted only a year. She then turned to NYC cabarets, clubs, and even The Tonight Show to perform her sketches. Carol finally hit it big on Broadway in 1959’s Once Upon a Mattress, winning a Tony Award for the musical. She also won an Emmy for her work on The Garry Moore Show, which started that same year.
Carol has been married three times, starting with college sweetheart Don Saroyan in December 1955. They divorced seven years later, and she soon fell in love with divorced TV producer Joe Hamilton, who had produced a number of her projects. In May 1963, the couple tied the knot, and they went on to have three children before divorcing in 1984. Her third marriage to much younger (23 years!) Brian Miller — a principal drummer in and contractor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra — came long after in November 2001. The two remain hitched today!
Carol and ex-husband Joe had three daughters: Carrie in 1963, Jody in 1967, and Erin in 1968. Carrie, an actress, and singer passed away tragically from lung and brain cancer in January 2002 at the age of 38.
In 1967, Carol moved to LA and launched her self-titled CBS sketch series, inspired by vaudeville. There, she debuted a number of iconic characters in sketches that showed off her talents of songs and dance. The series also starred performers Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner.
Carol won five Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmys for The Carol Burnett Show, and received a number of nominations. She also earned many accolades for her work in TV series like Mad About You and Law & Order: SVU, as well as film projects like Annie.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Carol is currently worth $25 million, thanks to her many years as a star of TV, film, and the stage.
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