Carol Burnett is preparing to turn 90 later this month on April 26, and in a new interview, the comedic legend is opening up about how proud she is to still be receiving fan mail at her age.
“I made people laugh, made ‘em feel good when they might’ve been down,” Burnett said, according to TODAY. “That’s some of the things I get in my fan mail, which really touches me.”
Burnett went on to say that fans often write her to say that “The Carol Burnett Show” was a program that brought their families together.
“A lot of times they say it was the only time the whole family would get together, to watch, to laugh, (to) be together as a family,” she recounted. “Sometimes they were lonesome and they were cheered up by our show and they looked forward to it every week and it’s a good feeling.”
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“The Carol Burnett Show” ran on CBS for eleven seasons from 1967 until 1978, and it was known for both its hilarious sketch comedies and its musical performances. Burnett explained in her latest interview that she fell in love with sketch comedy after appearing on “The Garry Moore Show,” which she became a regular on after starring in “Once Upon A Mattress” on Broadway.
“I really enjoyed doing the television show as much, if not more so, than I enjoyed doing the Broadway show for the simple reason that with the television variety show, I could do different characters each week,” she explained. “I could do different songs, different musical numbers each week as opposed to being the same character eight times a week on the Broadway stage for a year.”
When Burnett scored her own television show, network executives were nervous about making it a sketch comedy program because they didn’t believe a woman could carry that kind of show.
“When I got my own show, they tried to talk me out of it to do a sitcom,” she recalled. “I said, ‘No. I want to do comedy variety.’”
“The Carol Burnett Show” was still a hit when it went off the air, but Burnett felt that it was time to walk away from it.
“I decided to hang it up after 11 years because we’d done just about everything that I could think of,” she said. “It was nice. The network wanted us back for a twelfth year, but I wanted to leave before they asked us to leave, before they started flicking the lights on and off. It’s nice to leave while you’re ahead.”
Just two weeks away from her birthday, Burnett still can’t quite believe that she’s turning 90.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” Burnett told People Magazine. “I still feel like I’m about 11, but I’m amazed. It sure went fast. But I’m glad because I’ve got all my parts — got my hips, I got my knees and I’ve got my brain, so I’m happy about that.”
In celebration of Burnett’s birthday, NBC will be airing the star-studded special “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love.” If you love Burnett as much as we do, be sure to check out her special when it airs at 8pm on April 26!