Prayers for Carol Burnett

The entire globe paused earlier this year to honor Carol Burnett, who turned 90 on April 26. For those who missed it, a two-hour television spectacular called Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love aired on NBC and Peacock on her birthday. Absolutely worth watching!

Burnett kept herself busy by conducting interview after interview in the run-up to her program. Everyone wanted to talk to her, and most media outlets had the opportunity to do so, including PEOPLE, which profiled her in their magazine’s April issue. As you could expect from her, it was a lovely interview with lots of sound bites.

She spoke about a variety of topics, including her late daughter Carrie Hamilton, who was one of her three children with her second husband, Joe Hamilton. Carrie continued in her mother’s acting and singing career, although she battled addiction and passed away from lung and brain cancer in 2002.

Carrie Hamilton was just 38 years old when she passed away; if she were still alive, she would have turned 60 in December. Despite the shortness of her life, she had a lasting impression on those around her, particularly her mother, who now carries a remembrance of her wherever she goes.

There is almost ever a day or even a moment when she is not with me. Together, we accomplished tasks, had laughs, and even shed some tears. A few weeks before turning 90, Carol Burnett told PEOPLE in April that “she was a force.” She even recalls the last advise her daughter gave her before passing away.

“I recall that when she become ill, I would see her every day in the hospital. A hospital nurse once commented, “Carrie lifts our spirits.” Carrie said, “Everyday I wake up and decide,” when I questioned why she was constantly upbeat. Decide is the essential word, Carol told her daughter.

Every morning when she awakens, she reminds herself of it. She is reminded of how fleeting life may be and to live each day as it comes. “You have no idea. A lot may happen in a day. So, she continued, “just be thankful for what you have today; that’s something we can all practice a little more of.

Prior to her passing on January 20, 2002, Carrie Hamilton collaborated with her mother, Carol Burnett, on the play Hollywood Arms. The dramedy was based on Burnett’s 1986 autobiography One More Time, which chronicled her early years, upbringing, and ascent to stardom in Hollywood.

Carol was deeply saddened by the fact that Carrie Hamilton never got to see the play come to life. Her husband was the one who persuaded her to finish it in memory of her daughter. He advised her to complete their project since she owed it to Hal Prince, the director, as well as to Carrie. She did just that, then.

Not even three months had passed since the death of her daughter when the play made its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 2002. It later traveled to Broadway, where it played for 76 performances and 28 previews at the Cort Theatre. As was predicted, the play was a huge success.

Carol Burnett referred to its premiere as “we’re on the plane, my husband and I, to Chicago, and I said a little prayer to Carrie.” “I declared, ‘I’ll be doing this, but I don’t want to be by myself. Follow me. Be with me in some way. I need confirmation that you’ll be there in spirit even if you aren’t physically there.

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