Comedienne Carol Burnett received the Harvey Award on Friday in honor of the late, great Jimmy Stewart. The award was bestowed upon her at a fundraiser for the James M. Stewart Museum Foundation, which is based in the late actor's hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania. Burnett was quite taken with Jimmy Stewart from the very first time she laid eyes on the A Wonderful Life star. That first time was when she was just a small child attending the movies in San Antonio, Texas, with her grandmother.
"I saw this long, tall drink of water up there in black and white, and I said, 'He's my friend. I know him,'" she said right before she received the award. "And it came to pass."
The Harvey Award is named for the 1950 film in which Jimmy Stewart befriends an invisible rabbit. It is given annually to someone with entertainment industry connections to Stewart. Previous recipients include Janet Leigh, Shirley Jones, Ernest Borgnine, and Rich Little. Little was known for his stammering impression of Jimmy Stewart.
Some might say Carol Burnett had fewer professional connections with Jimmy Stewart than others who might also have been considered for the award. She had an emotional connection, however, that simply couldn't be surpassed. Jimmy Stewart even made a surprise visit to her final taping of The Carol Burnett Show back in March of 1978.
Carol Burnett Receives Jimmy Stewart Award http://t.co/6TtmG4JM4S
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 4, 2014
"I have talked about him, I have worshipped him," she said when he took the stage that evening.
"They hid him in the dressing room from me," she told the Associated Press of that surprise appearance.
"I just love Jimmy Stewart," Carol Burnett said after receiving her award, remembering that trip to the movies, but not the name of the film. "It was the late '30s and in a nightclub setting. I know I was 3 or 4 because my feet couldn't touch the floor from my seat. I just remember I fell in love with that man."
Carol Burnett is now 81 years old.
Congratulations to Carol Burnett for receiving the Harvey Award in honor of Jimmy Stewart. He is no doubt smiling down on her with fondness and appreciation. She is a perfect choice for keeping his legacy and his memory alive.