‘Utterly American’ Carol Burnett honored on PBS

Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character: "American Masters" documentary. Directed by Kyra Thompson. <P></P> <P>"She was so utterly American," an observer notes in the "American Masters" portrait "Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character" (Monday, 9-10:30 p.m. ET, on PBS; check local listings). </P> <P>The PBS special is devoted to Carol Burnett’s television comedy. Classic sketches that included the dim-witted secretary, Mrs. Wiggins, odes to old movies, and the Mama and Eunice bits too.</P> <P>The show details her tough Texas beginnings.  The child of an alcoholic father and a mother who later became one herself, Carol grew up in Los Angeles with her grandmother.</P> <P>The show celebrates the genius that comprosed Burnett’s ensemble players including the brilliant Tim Conway and Harvey Korman – Korman admitted he complained about every little thing in rehearsal, so much that Burnett once suggested he take the weekend to think about whether he wanted to leave. Korman came to his senses.</P> <P>The show highlights one of her classic bits, the "Gone With the Wind" spoof that had Bob Mackie share that the day before the live filming,  he went to the CBS props department and asked them for a set of curtains for the scene where Burnett, as Scarlett, descends the staircase of her dilapidated plantation to greet Rhett (Korman), wearing not only the curtains, but the rod as well across her shoulders. </P> <P>That moment caused the audience to laugh so hard, they had to stop the taping so the show wouldn’t run over its hour time limit.</P> <P>When Korman as Rhett compliments Scarlett on her dress, she deadpans, "I saw it in the window and just had to have it." </P> <P>Burnett was the queen of timing, and her comedy still holds up beautifully today.</P> <P>Burnett’s show came to an end in 1978; she and Joe Hamilton divorced in 1984. </P> <P>Carrie Hamilton, the eldest of the couple’s three daughters, became addicted to drugs but eventually kicked them, only to succumb to lung cancer in 2002.</P> <P>"A Woman of Character" is a must see television special.</P>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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