Carol Burnett – comedic trailblazer, actor, singer, dancer, producer and author – has been named the 52nd recipient of SAG-AFTRA’s highest tribute: the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Burnett will be presented the performers union’s top accolade at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®, which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at 8 p.m. (ET), 7 p.m. (CT), 6 p.m. (MT) and 5 p.m. (PT). Given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” the SAG Life Achievement Award will join Burnett’s exceptional catal og of preeminent industry and public honors, which includes multiple Emmys®, a special Tony®, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and both a Kennedy Center Honor and its Mark Twain Prize for Humor.
In making today’s announcement, SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said, “Carol Burnett is a creative dynamo and a comedic genius. She embodies the generosity and courage that the greatest actors use in creating enduring and memorable characters. From her heartbreakingly hilarious Starlet O’Hara to the adorably inept Eunice and alarmingly funny Miss Hannigan, Carol has delighted and inspired millions of viewers and thousands of comedic actors. She took risks as a performer and through her courage, encouraged fellow actors to try new things and always, always reach for the sky. Her innate love of actors led to the creation of an ensemble cast that made The Carol Burnett Show a masterpiece of variety programming.”
The public and her peers treasure Carol Burnett 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 “100 Best Television Shows of All Time,” and by Variety in 2011 as one of “The 25 Shows That Changed Television,” 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.
An inductee into the Television Hall of Fame and the California Museum’s Hall of Fame, Burnett’s many accolades also include a Peabody Award, the Television Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award, five Golden Globe Awards, five American Comedy Awards, 12 People’s Choice Awards, an Ace Award, an Horatio Alger Award, both Crystal and Lucy Awards from Women in Film, the TV Land Legend Award, the Jimmy Stewart Museum’s Harvey Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2013, the City of Los Angeles named the intersection of Highland Ave. and Selma directly adjacent to Hollywood High School, Burnett’s alma mater, Carol Burnett Square.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1933, Burnett, 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, Burnett could only dream of college. After receiving an anonymous donation of $50 to pay for her tuition to UCLA, she enrolled. While studying journalism, she took an acting class, and the rest is history.