timeline

born 1933

Silly. Slapstick. Loud. Not afraid to leap from windows in pursuit of a laugh. And also...Honest. Unshakeable. Soft spoken. Not afraid to bare her soul in pursuit of understanding.

Legendary comic Carol Burnett found freedom from a difficult childhood through letting loose on stage. She got her start in showbiz in 1955, with guest spots on a kid's TV program. Roles on Broadway + The Garry Moore Show soon followed, but she became an icon as the first female variety-show host. As the long-running The Carol Burnett Show racked up Emmys + Golden Globes, the pioneering comedian also won America's heart...by making us laugh {and sometimes cry} with her.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Carol Burnett (20)

"My idea of grandeur is being able to say, well, I guess I’ll go out in the backyard."

LIFE magazine | may 1971

"When you have a dream you’ve got to grab on and never let go."

Here's to You, Mrs. Hamilton | may 1971

"There is something about being poor and having alcoholic parents that either poisons you or toughens you for life. I realized it was either sink or swim—get out, or be pulled down."

Superstar Women And Their Marriages | august 1976

"I believe you have to make it yourself in this world, but if you have a good helpmate, it’s terrific."

Superstar Women And Their Marriages | august 1976

"The minute the laugh happened, I was floating."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"I don’t need to be challenged. It’s the effort that’s the fun."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"The movies gave me hope."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"I was around so much anger that I behaved the other way."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"I’m not a fighter. I like getting out there and playing."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"I trust an audience. They will tell you what you’re doing. And they are never wrong. They are never wrong."

The serious business of being funny | august 1995

"I cannot tell a joke to save my soul."

Tavis Smiley show | june 2010

"I love to write. I have always loved writing. That was my first love."

Tavis Smiley show | june 2010

"I was terrified that nobody would raise their hands. And then I was terrified that they would!"

Tavis Smiley show | june 2010

"It's not my turn. That's her turn. My turn will come."

Here & Now | december 2010

"I just felt it was classier to leave before they knocked on the door and said, ‘Stop doing this.’"

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy | 2012

"If you live long enough and you keep working, you become a living legend."

Carol Burnett loving audience’s input for stage show | may 2012

"I’ve always believed that kids are great actors."

Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story | 2013

"There are so many people funnier than I am, especially here in Washington."

Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize | october 2013

"I’m not good enough for the chorus, so it looks like I might have to have a featured role."

Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize | october 2013

"I’ve had and I’m still having a great ride."

Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize | october 2013
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Carol Burnett

curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {august 2014}