Burnett, Carol(bərnĕt`), 1936–, American television performer, b. San Antonio, Tex. Beginning her show-business life as a singer, she soon turned to comedy. After starring in the off-Broadway play Once upon a Mattress (1959), Burnett achieved success on television as a regular on The Garry Moore Show (1959–62). Then, at a time when variety shows were disappearing, her own Carol Burnett Show (1967–79) with its regular group of players performing comedy sketches and musical numbers, proved highly successful and won five Emmy Awards. She also starred in a number of successful television specials. Her made-for-television movies include Friendly Fire (1979). Burnett has also appeared in such feature films as Pete 'n' Tillie (1972), The Four Seasons (1981), Annie (1982), and Noises Off (1992). She has returned to the stage many times, recently in the Broadway productions of Moon over Buffalo (1995) and Putting It Together (1999), a Stephen Sondheim revue.
See her One More Time: A Memoir (1986); biography by J. R. Taraborrelli (1988).
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Burnett, Carol(1936– ) television comedian/actress; born in San Antonio, Texas. After studying at the University of California: Los Angeles, she made her Broadway debut in a musical, Once Upon a Mattress (1959); she went on to appear in a few other Broadway shows but moved quickly into television, appearing as a regular on the Garry Moore show (1959–62) and on occasional CBS-TV specials. This led to her own comedy-variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, which ran from 1967–79. She appeared in several Hollywood movies (such as Pete 'n' Tillie, 1972) and television movies (such as Friendly Fire, 1979). In 1991 she revived her television comedy series with Carol and Company. An accomplished singer and dancer, she is known for her ability to use her expressive face and full-throated voice in playing a variety of broad comic roles.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.