SAG-AFTRA announced today in a press release that the 2015 SAG Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the multi-talented Carol Burnett on Monday, July 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Burnett, known for being a trailblazer for women comedians, will be the 52nd recipient of this incredible honor. As tradition dictates, Burnett will receive the award at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016, which will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS.
SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said in regards to today’s announcement said, “Carol Burnett is a creative dynamo and a comedic genius. She embodies the generosity and courage that the greatest actors use in creating enduring and memorable characters. From her hilarious Starlet O’Hara to the adorably inept Eunice and alarmingly funny Miss Hannigan, Carol has delighted and inspired millions of viewers and thousands of comedic actors. She took risks as a performer and through her courage, encouraged fellow actors to try new things and always, always reach for the sky. Her innate love of actors led to the creation of an ensemble cast that made 'The Carol Burnett Show' a masterpiece of variety programming."
Carol Burnett is treasured for her dramatic and comedic roles on television, Broadway and film and most notably on her very own variety show "The Carol Burnett Show." It was one of the best variety shows ever to grace the television screen and the very last successful variety show. Both TIME Magazine and Variety have named "The Carol Burnett Show" as one of the best television shows of all-time. Each week over 30 million viewers tuned into the show that ran for 11 years and received an amazing 25 Emmy Awards. It is the most honored television show in history.
Carol Burnett was born in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933. In the late 1930's Burnett's mother and grandmother moved to Los Angeles and raised Burnett in a small studio apartment, in the midst of the depression. Burnett's mother was an alcoholic and she was primarily raised by her grandmother. Despite the desperate circumstances, Burnett had dreams. She wanted to go to college. Thanks to an anonymous donation, Burnett was able to attend UCLA. She studied journalism and took acting classes.
Burnett moved to New York City and after staging a musical revue with her out-of-work roommates, she received offer to appear on Paul Winchell's television show. Soon she was invited to appear on "The Jack Paar Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show." It was these television appearances that helped Burnett to land the lead role in the Broadway sensation of "Once Upon a Mattress." This role garnered Burnett with her first Tony Award nomination.
In 1959, Burnett got her first steady long-term gig, receiving a job as a permanent cast member on "The Garry Moore Show." This was while she still performing at night on Broadway and she literally worked day and night between the two shows. She remained on "The Garry Moore Show" for a total of four years.
It was during this time that Burnett became best friends with Academy Award winning actress Julie Andrews ("The Sound of Music"). The two super stars appeared in an Emmy Award-winning special, "Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall." Not long after, CBS offered Burnett a ten year contract and "The Carol Burnett Show" was born.
Along with the talented Carol Burnett as the star of the show, "The Carol Burnett Show," featured one of the most talented ensembles in television history, including Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner. Costumes were created by Bob Mackie and the sketches were created by the most talented minds in the business.
One of the key ingredient to making "The Carol Burnett Show" a success was the A-list star guest appearances from stage, music and screen. One sketch performed by this dynamic team still brings new viewers on Youtube.com - it is called "Went with the Wind" (see attached clip). It is a mere example of the weekly faire that Burnett and her team were able to bring to their loyal viewers. Each week, Burnett ended her broadcast by collecting autographs from her famous guests and a tug of the earlobe (a way of acknowledging her grandmother).
Since the popular run of "The Carol Burnett Show" ended, the comedian has written several books, wrote a play with her daughter, starred in several films and returned to Broadway for a run of Sondheim's "Putting It Together." She has also made guest appearances on many television series throughout the years.