June 08, 2009

One Laugh Changed Carol Burnett's Life

A great story from thestar.com on Carol Burnett. The star of TV and stage is appearing Friday night at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada for an evening called Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett, but she was already sharing both those qualities in a recent conversation.

The Carol Burnett Show is the last — and many still say the greatest — of all the classic TV variety shows. Carol Burnett and her show won 23 Emmys, staying popular until it finally went off the air after 11 seasons.

FIVE FAVES: CLASSIC MOMENTS FROM THE SHOW

1. "Tim (Conway) and Harvey (Korman) were always great together, but I'll never forget one sketch where Tim was a new dentist and Harvey was his first patient."

2. "Oh Lord, the Gone with the Wind parody. Coming down the stairs wearing the dress made out of curtains with the rod still in them. That was (costume designer) Bob Mackie's idea."

3. "I loved all the little mini one-act plays about `the family' with me as Eunice and Vicki (Lawrence) as Mama. Originally, everyone thought the roles should be reversed, but I think it worked out better the way we did it."

4. "Parodies made me happy. Like when we did Lovely Story instead of Love Story. I played a woman who only had five minutes to live. Harvey asked me if I wanted something to eat. I said `I'd love a four-minute egg.'"

5. "It was fun doing those backstage takeoffs of the old Betty Grable movie musicals. You know, the kind where we were a showbiz couple and they only wanted one of us and we got into such a horrible fight they wound up taking neither of us."

Carol Burnett's versatility is one of her great strengths. Few other women, past and present, share her skill set. Lucille Ball was Burnett's idol and a lifelong mentor. The woman who went from daffy 1940s movies to TV's I Love Lucy also did Broadway musicals (Wildcat), film musicals (Mame) and dramas such as What Now, Catherine Curtis?

Read the complete interview with Carol Burnett at The Star.

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