Carol Burnett, legendary comedian, considers herself a ‘late bloomer’ compared to other performers

Carol Burnett has been making audiences laugh for decades, but she claims it wasn’t always like that. In fact, she considers herself a “late bloomer.”

As she approaches a milestone birthday – her 90th on April 26th – she sat down with People to reflect on the past nine decades.

“I can’t wrap my head around it,” the legendary comedian said. “I still feel like I’m about 11, but I’m amazed. It sure went fast. But I’m glad because I’ve got all my parts — got my hips, I got my knees and I’ve got my brain, so I’m happy about that.”


Kathy Hutchins /

Burnett was born April 26, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas to parents who were involved in the film industry. Her mother was a publicity writer and her father managed a movie theater.

As a young child she moved from San Antonio to Hollywood where she let her imagination run wild.

“I used to pretend to be on a radio show. I would yell out the window, ‘Now ladies and gentlemen, we have a young girl who is going to sing here without any musical accompaniment. One time, a man next door said, ‘Will you turn that goddamn thing off?’ And I thought, ‘I’m a hit. They think it’s real.'”

Despite her knack for putting on a performance, Burnett didn’t discover her love for acting until college when she realized in order to get into the playwright program at UCLA she had to enroll in an acting class.

“I was pretty much of a quiet student all through grammar school, junior high and Hollywood High,” she said. “I would kid around with my friends, the neighborhood kids, stuff like that. But I never really thought about it until I got to UCLA and I was in an acting class. A lot of the kids at the class were doing heavy, dramatic stuff and I thought, I can’t do that. So I picked something light and they laughed. That’s when the bug bit.”

Even though the soon-to-be 90-year-old considers herself a “late bloomer” – “so many performers who started when they were 3 and 4 and 5 years old” – it didn’t hinder her success.

Although it took some time for her acting career to get off the ground, once she found her rhythm she never lost it.

She starred in several Broadway shows, one which earned her a nomination for a Tony Award; performed a television special with Julie Andrews that earned her two Emmy Awards; and eventually headlined her very own show, The Carol Burnett Show for 11 seasons.

Joe Seer /

After the success from her variety show, Burnett went on to star in several television shows as well as films. Her distinct voice can also be heard in many more recent animated films.

In recent years Burnett has stayed out of the spotlight, only to emerge to accept a well-deserved award for her work in comedy.

Now, as she turns 90 she’s taking the time to reflect on her illustrious career and how she wants to be remembered.

“I made people laugh, made them feel good when they might have been down,” she said, adding, “In my fan mail, many say it was the only time the family would get together, to watch and laugh. And that sometimes they were lonesome and were cheered up by our show. That’s a good feeling.”

Carol Burnett is an absolute legend. Happy birthday, Carol, and thank you for decades of laughter!

Please share if you’re a fan of the one and only Carol Burnett.