Los Angeles: Comedy icon Carol Burnett, who has made the audience laugh for decades altogether, turned emotional as she received an eponymous honour — the first-ever Carol Burnett Award — a Lifetime Achievement in Television recognition — at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony here.
The award is envisioned by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as a companion honour to the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award which lauds lifetime achievements of film professionals.
Burnett, 85, was presented the award on Sunday by actor-director Steve Carell, who took the audience on a journey recounting the accolades and achievements of the actress of “The Carol Burnett Show” fame.
After a video retrospective showcasing highlights from Burnett’s glorious career, Burnett gave a moving acceptance speech which started with her saying she was “really gobsmacked by this”.
Burnett said showbiz attracted her since she was a teenager and she wanted to be a part of any medium which could make the audiences laugh or cry or both.
“I wished or hoped that maybe someday I could have the chance to do the same,” Burnett said, adding that her love transferred to television after her family got their first set.
“I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over, and then I bring myself up short when I realise how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time… Because what we did then, it couldn’t be done today,” she added.
Burnett also noted changes in the television world, pointing out that production costs for a variety entertainer like her iconic “Carol Burnett Show” — which had a 28-piece orchestra — would be prohibitive today.
Also, that a lack of risk-taking from networks would have kept it away from seeing the light of the day.
In Burnett’s view, artistes across the film and television mediums are equipped with a gift.
“We’ve been granted a gift, a canvas to paint with our talent. One that can make people laugh or cry, or both,” she said.
She dedicated the award to “all those who made my dreams come true and to all those who shared my love for television”.
“I’m just happy our show happened when it did. I am so glad we had this time together,” Burnett said, wrapping up her acceptance speech with her signature earlobe-tug which she did at the end of every episode of “The Carol Burnett Show”.
HFPA President Meher Tatna said they are “profoundly grateful for her (Burnett’s) contributions to the entertainment industry and honoured to celebrate her legacy forever at the Golden Globes”.