Humor Helps Carol Burnett Cope - ABC News
Consider this story that actor and comedian Tim Conway shared in his She told him, “Ken Shutts down at the hardware store is taking on new help. . As fans of the show know, Tim's relationship with Harvey Korman was. The comedy legends traded anecdotes about their hit CBS variety show, including the time Harvey Korman wet his pants on air. Harvey Korman Unable to Maintain Straight Face at Funeral to keep from laughing at former "Carol Burnett Show" cast mate Tim Conway.
Lawrence was only 18 when the show started.
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Despite not having very much experience, Lawrence got a part on the show because she wrote Burnett a fan letter while in high school about their physical resemblance. In the letter, Lawrence also mentioned she was competing in the "Miss Fireball" contest in Inglewood, California.
Burnett showed up to support the pageant queen, and even urged her to audition for a role on the show.
Each episode was taped twice. Despite having the feel of a live TV program, each episode was taped twice in front of different studio audiences. That meant that if an actor flubbed a line in both takes, it was still included in the final edited episode.
Burnett's famous ear tug had a special meaning. Every week, viewers watched Burnett tug at her ear lobe at the end of the show. The gesture wasn't a stage cue, but rather a message for her grandmother saying "Hello, I love you. One famous designer had a lot of influence Bob Mackie is best known for designing dramatic and elegant gowns for celebrities like Cher and Liza Minnelli, but he also had a major part in some of the show's funniest moments.
Mackie was behind the idea of Burnett wearing the curtain rod dress with the drapes, making the moment infinitely more hilarious. In fact, some consider the curtain rod dress his most famous creation. Mackie also found the dress for Eunice on "The Family" at a thrift store. Burnett's husband, Joe Hamilton, also influenced the program in a couple ways. Hamilton also served as an executive producer. With Carrie's rebellious teenage years and her painful addictions behind them, Burnett had developed a new respect for Carrie as a writer.
Finally, they were working as equals on a project close to their hearts.
Humor Helps Carol Burnett Cope
Burnett's story is a classic rags-to-riches tale. Her difficult childhood was marked by alcoholic parents, their divorce when she was 4 years old, her upbringing in a rundown, one-room apartment with Nanny, and the fantasy life she created for herself on the rooftop of her apartment building. Burnett said she wrote her story because she wanted her children to understand the circumstances of her childhood. Carrie found her mother's story so moving that she wanted to take the story to the stage.
So she wrote the play Hollywood Arms, currently being performed at Chicago's Goodman Theater, to tell her mom's story. As bittersweet as the story is, the play also captures the humor that always loomed large in Burnett's life. Burnett admits that a lot of her childhood "sounds awful," but says: My mother was very witty and beautiful, and, uh, Nanny was funny as hell. Initially, Carrie had checked in and out of Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles as she underwent chemotherapy and radiation, keeping her sense of humor even as she lost her hair.
There seemed to be glimpses of hope that the cancer was receding, and that perhaps Carrie had triumphed over cancer the way she had beaten drugs and alcohol.
And Burnett decided to get married again. After 20 years of being single, she married musician Brian Miller. As Burnett was enjoying the new comfort and stability of married life, casting was getting under way for Hollywood Arms, a project Burnett and Carrie hoped would be just the start of a long-running mother-daughter collaboration. But then came the news that changed Burnett's life.
In NovemberCarrie learned that her lung cancer had spread to her brain. Like her mom, Carrie relied on humor to help her through her battle. When Carrie had a relapse and went back into the hospital, she told her mom she "missed the food. In her final weeks of life, Carrie helped her mother in casting decisions for the play. And in her last days, Carrie and her mom had a chance to talk again about their rough years, and Carrie actually apologized to her mom for smoking.
Carrie Hamilton died on Jan. She was 38 years old. Hollywood Arms opened to positive reviews in Chicago three months later. Hal Prince, who is directing Hollywood Arms, said: It is not a dysfunctional family show. It's about somebody who came out of all that turmoil — a difficult childhood — and emerged triumphantly.
After Carrie's death, when she was preparing for rehearsals in March, Burnett asked her daughter to give her a sign that she was with her.