Carol Burnett is “One of the Strongest People” and her “Love of Laughter” has helped her overcome tragedy…

Carol Burnett, who looked much younger than her 89 years, joined in the celebration when Julie Andrews received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award yesterday. When they first met in 1960, they grew fast friends right away. It was like if we had known each other forever, adds Carol.

That’s understandable considering Carol’s admirers have always seemed like an old friend. This approachable comedian has had success in theater, movies, and as a published book, but it was The Carol Burnett Show, a trailblazing TV series, that really cemented her place in the family. According to Kenny Solms, co-creator of Carol’s variety show and author of the biography Bits, “we have all known someone like Carol in our lives.” “She’s either your adorable neighbor or your high school best buddy. She’s as American as apple pie.”

Although she overcame poverty and rose to fame on television, Carol’s life story is also a classic American rags to riches one. She has had two divorces, problems with addiction with two of her three daughters, and the death of her oldest daughter due to cancer. The actress applied for temporary guardianship of her teenage grandson Dylan in 2020 because his mother, Carol Hamilton’s youngest child Erin Hamilton, is still struggling with addiction. A close friend describes Carol as “one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.” She has a strong sense of faith and thinks that her love of laughing has given her the ability to cope with life’s setbacks.

Carol, who was born in Texas but reared in Hollywood, had destitute, estranged, and alcoholic parents, but she also had Mabel, her maternal grandmother, as a role model and protector. We occasionally saw eight movies a week, recalls Carol. We would visit four theaters a week because there were double features at the time.

It was a nice break. Carol didn’t even have a closet while she was growing up. To hang her clothes, she had to use the bathtub’s shower curtain rod, according to Solms. Carol’s mother Ina, who lived down the hall, made sporadic visits, while Carol’s father was generally gone. According to Carol’s 2016 memoir In Such Good Company, “She and Nanny had one doozy of an argument after another about our lack of money and Mama’s ‘pipe dreams’.” Drinking prevented her mother’s aspirations of becoming a well-known Hollywood journalist from coming true. Carol explains, “Both of my parents passed away from drunkenness.”

Their daughter was treated better by fate. A spectator in a UCLA play noticed Carol’s performance in 1954 and inquired about her objectives. She admitted that she intended to visit New York to attend musical comedy auditions but lacked the funds to do so. He gave me a $1,000 loan, Carol remembers. There are conditions to this, he noted. This is a loan. You return it without interest after five years and keep my identity a secret.

The money was well used. Carol received a Tony nomination in 1959 for her performance in Once Upon a Mattress. Before landing The Carol Burnett Show, which aired from 1967 to 1978, she did a number of TV specials and live appearances and eventually became a regular on The Garry Moore Show.

Her variety program’s production schedule even made it possible for her and her second husband Joe Hamilton, a producer on the show, to be actively involved parents to their daughters Carrie, who was born in 1963, Jody, who is 55, and Erin, who is 53. Solms says, “It wasn’t always easy.” However, she would eat dinner at home every night but Friday (due to taping). She aimed to maintain equilibrium in her home life.

Carol’s tolerance was tested and her marriage to Joe crumbled during Carrie’s adolescent years of substance usage. The couple’s relationship failed, but Carrie’s third stint in treatment was successful. Oh my God, Carol remembered, “she despised me. “I realized that in order to let her hate me, I had to love her enough.” Carrie and Carol grew close over the course of the last two decades of her life as she achieved success as an actress, singer, and writer. As a result, the loss of Carrie in 2002 at the age of 38 was all the more tragic. No parent ever recovers from a loss like Carol did, according to a friend.

Carol Burnett arrives for the 16th Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor on Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C.

She has been appreciative of her third spouse, 66-year-old Brian Miller. Brian, a musician in the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, helped Carol through her bereavement and is still her pillar of strength. The couple volunteered to take on the role of Dylan Hamilton-temporary West’s legal guardians in 2020. Dylan is the 15-year-old son of Erin, Carol’s youngest child. The couple testified in court that Erin had spent the previous 19 years institutionalized eight times and in and out of treatment facilities.

Today, Erin is finding her path, while Dylan is thriving at a boarding school. The buddy continues, “She still has her good days and bad days, but Carol understands addiction better than most people,” adding that the comic is still optimistic. Carol enjoys living. She is incredibly proud of her friends, family, and job. Although she has never had things easy, she is aware of her blessings.

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Carol Burnett is “One of the Strongest People” and her “Love of Laughter” has helped her overcome tragedy…
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