Carol Burnett still thinks of her daughter Carrie every day 21 years after her death: ‘She was a force’

Carol Burnett, hailed as one of the most adored comedy icons in history, recently marked her 91st birthday.

Leading up to this significant occasion, Burnett has been sharing insights into her remarkable life and career.

However, in a recent interview, she bravely delved into a profound loss that continues to weigh heavily on her mind, even more than two decades later…

Carol Burnett’s daughter Carrie

The renowned star shared three daughters with her former spouse, producer Joe Hamilton. The eldest, Carrie Hamilton, entered the world in 1963.

Following her famous mother’s path, Carrie pursued acting. She notably starred in the TV series Fame and portrayed Maureen in Rent’s initial national tour. Additionally, she made appearances in various TV shows such as The X-Files, Murder, She Wrote, and thirtysomething.

Despite their shared career interests, the relationship between mother and daughter faced challenges. Carrie grappled with drug addiction during her teenage years, causing anguish for Burnett.

Carrie Hamilton in X-files

Reflecting on those turbulent times, Burnett advised, “In that situation, don’t be their best friend.” She recounted the difficulty of enrolling Carrie in rehab, acknowledging her daughter’s resentment. Nevertheless, Burnett emphasized the importance of tough love.

Questioning herself, Burnett wondered if she had missed signs of Carrie’s struggles. However, she found solace in Carrie’s eventual sobriety at 18, leading to a profound bond between them for the next two decades.

Their relationship flourished alongside Carrie’s burgeoning career until tragedy struck. In 2001, Carrie received a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer, later spreading to her brain.

Yet, Carrie faced her illness with resilience and humor, a trait admired by Burnett. She remembered Carrie’s uplifting mantra, “Every day I wake up and decide, today I’m going to love my life.”

Carrie passed away in 2002 at the age of 38, leaving Burnett shattered by the loss. Despite her grief, Burnett found strength in honoring Carrie’s memory by finishing a play they had started together, dedicated to her daughter and the renowned director Hal Prince.

Reflecting on her coping journey, Burnett acknowledged the pain of loss but affirmed the necessity of moving forward.

“You don’t get over it, but you cope,” she told People in 2018. “What else can you do? When Carrie died, I didn’t want to get out of bed for a while, but I had a play to finish that we started that Hal Prince was going to direct. I owed it to Carrie, and I owed it to Hal.”

‘Still with me’ 22 years later

In a recent interview ahead of Burnett’s 91st birthday, she shared her ongoing thoughts about her daughter’s passing, which occurred over two decades ago.

“Hardly a day passes, or even a moment, without Carrie being present in my thoughts,” Burnett revealed to People Magazine this month. “We shared so much—work, laughter, tears. She had an indomitable spirit.”

Burnett finds continual inspiration in her daughter’s resilience throughout her illness.

“During her illness, Carrie’s unwavering positivity remained a beacon for me,” Burnett reflected. “I vividly recall visiting her in the hospital every day. One day, a nurse remarked, ‘Carrie uplifts us.’ I asked her about her constant cheerfulness, and she simply replied, ‘Every day I wake up and decide.’ It’s that notion of choice that resonates with me deeply.”

“Every morning, I echo those words to myself,” Burnett added.

Carol Burnett at 91

On April 26, Burnett celebrated her 91st birthday, demonstrating resilience and a positive outlook despite the profound loss she experienced 22 years ago.

Recently, she has garnered numerous accolades for her lifetime achievements, including the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 2019, the Golden Globes introduced the “Carol Burnett Award” for television lifetime achievement, with Burnett as its inaugural recipient. Additionally, she made a memorable return to television with a guest appearance on Better Call Saul last year.

Reflecting on reaching the milestone of 91, the iconic comedian expressed disbelief, stating, “I can’t wrap my head around it… I still feel like I’m about 11.” Despite the swift passage of time, Burnett remains grateful for her health and vitality.

While the loss of her daughter, Carrie, undoubtedly left a profound impact, Burnett continues to exude strength and resilience. As she entered her 91st year, we celebrate her enduring spirit and wish her many joyous birthdays ahead.

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