PBS to Air Kennedy Center's Carol Burnett Celebration, 11/24; Julie Andrews, Tina Fey & More to Appear
A lineup of top entertainers including, Julie Andrews, Lucie Arnaz, Tony Bennett, Tim Conway, Tina Fey, Rashida Jones, Vicki Lawrence, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Rosemary Watson and others will salute Carol Burnett at the 16th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. The evening will pay tribute the humor and accomplishments of Carol Burnett, and will be taped by WETA Washington, D.C. as Carol Burnett: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize. The program will air on PBS stations nationwide November 24, 2013 (check local listings). Artists are subject to change.
The 16th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, sponsored by Capital One Bank, focuses on the achievements of American comedic artists. The proceeds from the evening's event are used to support the Kennedy Center's programs, performances, and outreach. As recipient of the 2013 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Ms. Burnett will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and images of it are courtesy of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.
As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens-the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist also known as Mark Twain-was a fearless observer of society who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, "against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
"Carol Burnett is a comedic icon, an actress and an author who truly represents the essence of the Mark Twain Award in honoring those who create humor from their uniquely American experience," said Jon Witter, President Retail and Direct Banking, Capital One Bank. "Capital One Bank is proud to support the Kennedy Center and salutes Ms. Burnett for the lifetime of laughter she has shared with us all."
Along with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the creators and executive producers of The Mark Twain Prize are Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and Cappy McGarr. WETA Washington, D.C. executive producers for Carol Burnett: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.
The Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor was instituted as an annual event in October 1998. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005) Neil Simon (2006) Billy Crystal (2007) George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011) and Ellen Degeneres (2012).
Carol Burnett, award-winning actress and best-selling author, is widely recognized by the public and her peers for her comedic and dramatic roles on television, film, and Broadway, most notably The Carol Burnett Show. Named in 2007 by TIME magazine as one of the "100 Best Television Shows of All Time,"The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 years, averaged 30 million viewers per week, and received 25 Emmy Awards, making it one of the most-honored shows in television history.
As a highly acclaimed actress, Carol has been honored with Emmys, Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, an Ace Award, and the Peabody. A Kennedy Center Honoree, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2013, the City of Los Angeles honored Carol by naming the intersection of Highland Ave. and Selma directly adjacent to her alma mater, Hollywood High School, Carol Burnett Square.
Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1933, Carol, her mother, and grandmother moved to a less-than-glamorous section of Hollywood in the late 1930s. Raised in a small studio apartment by her grandmother, but with no financial means, Carol could only dream of college. After receiving an anonymous donation of $50 to pay for her tuition to UCLA, Carol enrolled. While studying journalism, Carol Took an acting class, and the rest is history.
After moving to New York City, Carol staged a musical revue, featuring her out-of-work roommates from The Rehearsal Club, a theatrical boarding house, performing material by unemployed writers and composers. Soon, offers for summer stock and 13 weeks' work on Paul Winchell's TV show followed. While performing at The Blue Angel nightclub, she was spotted by talent bookers from both The Jack Paar Show and The Ed Sullivan Show and was invited to perform her infamous rendition of "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles", written by Ken Welch, on television. Shortly thereafter, Carol landed the leading role of "Princess Winifred" in the original Broadway musical production of Once Upon a Mattress. In 1959, after guest spots on Garry Moore's morning TV show, she became a permanent cast member on The Garry Moore Show, taping the show during the day and performing Mattress at night for the remainder of its Broadway run. Carol remained a regular on Garry Moore for the next four years.
During this period, Carol met Julie Andrews and the two became close friends. After the duo appeared in their Emmy-winning special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, CBS took notice of this emerging new talent and signed her to a 10-year contract. On September 11, 1967, The Carol Burnett Show premiered on CBS. With a talented ensemble featuring Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner, costumes by Bob Mackie and musical material by Buz Kohan, Artie Malvin, Ken and Mitzie Welch, the show became a hit. Guest stars included many of the greatest performers from music, stage, and screen including Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Jimmy Stewart, Gloria Swanson, Ronald Reagan, Betty White, Cher, Jim Nabors, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Rock Hudson, Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, and many, many more. Carol's portrayal of "Starlet O'Hara" in "Went with the Wind," a parody of Gone with the Wind, is always counted among the top 10 greatest moments in television history. The Bob Mackie designed "curtain-rod" dress, as it is known, now resides at The Smithsonian. In 2012, Time Life released The Carol Burnett Show on DVD and set a record, selling more than four million DVDs in six months.
After the show concluded in 1978, Carol immersed herself in numerous projects. She wrote three New York Times Bestsellers: Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, Laughter and Reflection, for which she received a Grammy nomination for best spoken word, and her autobiography, One More Time. Carol added playwright to her credits when she and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, wrote Hollywood Arms. Sadly, Carrie passed away four months prior to the play's Broadway premiere. Directed by Hal Prince, Hollywood Arms premiered on Broadway on October 31, 2002.
Carol's film credits include playing "Miss Hannigan" in the film version of the musical, Annie, directed by John Huston, Noises Off, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, A Wedding, directed by Robert Altman, and Four Seasons, directed by Alan Alda. On Broadway, Carol starred in Fade Out, Fade In, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green with music by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim's musical revue Putting It Together, and Ken Ludwig's farce Moon Over Buffalostarring with Philip Bosco. Carol produced and starred in numerous television specials and guest starred on several television series, including Glee, Hot in Cleveland, and Law and Order: SVU. She also starred in the television series Fresno and Carol & Co., as well as the highly acclaimed made-for-TV moviesFriendly Fire and Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice. In 2005, she returned to her Once Upon a Mattress roots, appearing in a television special, this time playing the evil "Queen Aggravain."
When not performing, she enjoys spending time with her husband Brian, her two daughters Erin and Jody, her grandsons, and her cat, Mabel. As a passionate supporter of the arts and education, she established several scholarships around the country, including "The Carol Burnett Musical Theatre Competition" at her alma mater, UCLA, and the Carrie Hamilton Foundation, to honor her daughter's memory.
Photo by: Peter Brooker /Rex USA