After decades of making us laugh, Carol Burnett is making us cry.
The 85-year-old comedy icon was honored as the eponymous winner of the first-ever Carol Burnett Award at Sunday night’s Golden Globes in Los Angeles, where she delivered a gracious speech reflecting on her professional life in comedy and television.
Presented by Steve Carell, who adoringly recounted Burnett’s seemingly endless list of impressive accolades, the gracious comic legend’s acceptance speech was preceded by a video retrospective of her amazing TV career highlights that brilliantly proved why she was the perfect entertainer to name the special award after.
Burnett took the stage to a resounding standing ovation from the packed house at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as a room full of presenters cheered for the woman who influences so many of their careers.
“My first love growing up was the movies… and later, when I was a teenager, we got our first television set, and then I got a new love. But what fascinated me was how the stars on the screen could make people laugh, or cry, or maybe both,” Burnett said, getting choked up over the honor.
“I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over, and then I bring myself up short when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time,” she shared. “Because what we did then, it couldn’t be done today.”
After reflecting on her acclaimed career, and how TV has changed and developed over the years, Burnett shared some final, emotional words in which she dedicated the inaugural honor “to all those who made my dreams come true, and to all those out there who share the love I have for television and yearn to be part of this unique medium that has been so good to me.”
“I’m just happy our show happened when it did, and I can look back and say I’m so glad we had this time together,” Burnett concluded, giving a tug on her ear, which she famously did at the end of every episode of The Carol Burnett Show, as a message and tribute to her beloved grandmother.
It’s a fitting award for Burnett, whose decades in TV, from The Carol Burnett Show to roles on shows such as Mad About You and The Larry Sanders Show, have paved the way for countless comedians to follow. Prior to this distinction, Burnett had already won five Globes, all for The Carol Burnett Show, in 1968, 1979, 1972, 1977 and 1978.
Burnett spoke to ET last August, where she reflected on her career and shed light on what she would like her legacy to be, saying that when people think of her, she hopes what comes to mind is, simply, “She made me smile. She made me laugh when I was down.”
Watch the video below for what Burnett told ET are some of her favorite memories from “The Carol Burnett Show”.
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