In the depths of the Great Depression on April 26, 1933, a baby girl was born in a downtown San Antonio hospital to two alcoholic parents. They named her Carol Burnett.
Her parents’ addictions left them unable to care for their child, so Carol was left in her grandmother’s care. She grew up poor, sad, and somewhat shy but with a vivid imagination and robust sense of humor that made her situation bearable. Insecure about her appearance (as many young girls are), her mother harshly advised her to become a writer saying, “You can always write, no matter what you look like.” So Carol set out to be a writer, but she fell in love with acting when she received applause and acceptance for her performance in a play during her first year of college. Her first big success won her a nomination for a Tony Award for her role in the 1959 Broadway musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, a parody of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea.
Carol Burnett, now 83 and publishing her fourth book, has enjoyed a prolific career as an actress, comedian, singer, and writer for over six decades. Most people associate her with The Carol Burnett Show, which was popular for 11 seasons and a 1-year reprise, but when asked what she would like to be remembered for, Carol replied, “That I made somebody laugh when they needed it. That at one point, when they needed it, that I made them forget–even if it is just for 10 seconds–that they were hurting.”