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Carol Burnett

First Woman Variety Show Host

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Carol Burnett on her young Hollywood dreams and her barrier-breaking series, The Carol Burnett Show.

Carol 's Biography

Cause of Choice: The Carrie Hamilton Foundation, to honor her daughter's memory and support the performing arts
Early Career Ambitions: Cartoonist or journalist
First Paying Job: Usherette at a movie theater. She saw Strangers on a Train 57 times.
Advice for Younger Women: "You have got to have the fire in the belly. If you really think you can do it just keep going and don't take the setbacks too seriously."

A child of Hollywood, but not of means, Carol Burnett had to fight her way into the playwright program at UCLA. An acting class was a requirement and Burnett would always remember her first encounter with an audience: “I had always been a quiet, shy, sad sort of girl and then everything changed for me. You spend the rest of your life hoping you'll hear a laugh that great again.” She spent the 1960s garnering acclaim for both her musical and comedic abilities.  It earned her the deal that made her the first female host of a TV sketch and variety show with The Carol Burnett Show. 
The series’ 1967-’78 run made it the last (to date) successful prime-time variety hour and remains one of the most beloved and respected of all time. Her irresistible villainess Miss Hannigan in the 1982 film of Annie is similarly enduring. They’re only two highlights of a career that includes 12 People’s Choice awards, eight Golden Globes, six Emmys, Kennedy Center honors, the Horatio Alger Award, a Peabody, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Just for good measure, Burnett has authored two New York Times best sellers, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection and her autobiography, One More Time.

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