Carol Burnett, the legendary comedian, is approaching her 90th birthday, and as she reflects on her nine decades of life, she carries with her the enduring memory of her daughter, Carrie Hamilton. Despite her numerous career accomplishments, Burnett has faced significant loss, including the passing of her daughter in 2002.
Burnett shared with PEOPLE in a recent interview, “There’s not a day or almost a moment goes by that she’s not with me.” She fondly remembers their time working together, sharing laughter and tears. Carrie, an actress herself, had roles in the Fame TV series, as well as movies like Tokyo Pop and Shag. The mother-daughter duo even collaborated on an episode of Carol & Company in 1990 and co-wrote a play titled “Hollywood Arms,” based on Burnett’s childhood memoir.
Carrie Hamilton battled drug addiction, and in 2002, she was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized from her lungs to her brain. Tragically, she passed away in January the following year at the age of 38.
Carol Burnett vividly recalls visiting her daughter every day during her illness. She was struck by the impact Carrie had on the hospital staff, who found her cheerful and uplifting. When Carol asked her daughter about her positive attitude, Carrie simply replied, “Every day I wake up and decide.” This outlook on life left a lasting impression on her mother.
Now, as Carol Burnett approaches her 90th birthday, she carries this lesson with her: “I say that to myself every morning.” She understands the fragility of life and the importance of appreciating each day. “It’s taking [it] one day at a time,” she says, recognizing that life can change unexpectedly. Her wisdom serves as a reminder to be grateful for what you have today.