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Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 3:27:00 PM
Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 4:04:07 PM
by jeff mason
Carol Burnett, 80, is known for tugging her ear at the end of all her performances.
Stars came out to salute the actress and comedienne over the weekend.
Stars from television and stage honoured entertainer Carol Burnett last weekend with the Kennedy Centre’s Mark Twain Prize during a night that highlighted her decades-long comedy career while poking fun at politicians in Washington.
Broadway and film actress Julie Andrews, comedian Tina Fey, and singer Tony Bennett were among the lineup of friends and colleagues who paid tribute to Burnett, whose variety series The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 years.
“I’m overwhelmed, totally overwhelmed,” Burnett told reporters ahead of the award ceremony.
“I just hope after tonight they’ll knock me down a few pegs because I think I’m getting a really big head.”
The 80-year-old singer and actress, famous for tugging her ear at the end of her performances, watched from a Kennedy Centre balcony in Washington as many of her contemporaries spoke of the example she set for their lives and careers.
“I love you in a way that is just short of creepy,” Fey, a former lead writer and actress on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and sitcom show 30 Rock, said to Burnett.
“I watched your show, and I thought: I could do that.”
Most of the evening focused on the actress whose famous roles include Princess Winifred in the original Broadway production of Once Upon A Mattress and Miss Hannigan in the film version of Annie. Burnett wiped her eyes after crooner Bennett serenaded her with a smooth rendition of The Way You Look Tonight, and she talked back from the balcony as Andrews recalled their shenanigans during decades of personal and professional partnerships.
“We’re going on our 55th year of friendship,” said Andrews, the star of movies Mary Poppins and The Sound Of Music.
“My squeaky clean image goes right out of the window when I’m with her.”
Colleagues described Burnett as generous and classy. Vicki Lawrence, a co-star on Burnett’s long-running variety show, and Rosemary Watson, a fellow entertainer, described how Burnett helped their careers after responding to simple fan letters they had sent to her. “She shaped my life as a child,” Watson said.
“She was the female comedienne I wanted to be most like.”
Clips from The Carol Burnett Show played throughout the evening, and famous costumes – one of which now resides in Washington’s Smithsonian museum – were brought on stage. The Mark Twain Prize, named after the 19th century satirist, is the highest honour in the US for achievements in comedy.
Burnett ended the show with a tug of her ear and a rendition of a signature song, I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together. — Reuters
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