Carol Burnett: The PBS Fresh Air InterviewBy: Tina Volpe - November 17, 2013
Who doesn’t know Carol Burnett! If you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s you probably saw her frequently on shows such as the Winchell-Mahoney Show, a children’s TV program, co-starring with Buddy Hackett on the sitcom Stanley and in the late 50’s, she became a regular on the Garry Moore Show. Over the years, she was also featured on CBS specials. Already a popular performer, she got her own comedy-variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, in 1967.
She has quite the impressive biography and has accomplished leaps and bounds, and today at 80 years old, is still going strong.
One of her long list of accomplishments include the upcoming Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be aired on PBS on Sunday, November 24th. She was the first woman to host a TV variety show, winning 22 Emmy Awards.
In her early days, she starred in the musical comedy, Once Upon a Mattress, and has starred in movies such as A Wedding, The Four Seasons and Annie.
In a recent interview by Terry Gross of NPR, she talked about her childhood, being raised by alcholics and how humor was common in her family. She said, “I had a lot of laughs with my grandmother and my mother. They had great senses of humor.”
When asked about the prevalence of alcoholism in her family, with both her parents dying from alcohol related diseases, she simply said, “… people who read the memoir… they think, oh, my gosh, that was a real tough upbringing. But I never felt that. We were poor, and both my parents died, eventually, of alcoholism, but I was kind of in the same boat with a lot of the kids in the neighborhood. Everybody was poor, and a lot of their folks had drinking problems. But we found a way to survive and to play and to laugh and thrive in a funny way.”
What an incredible woman, and the PBS Special might be a show not to be missed!