Carol Burnett Talks About Her Daughter's Tragic Death in Heartbreaking Interview

"I think about her every day."

Back in 2002, comedy legend Carol Burnett lost her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, to lung cancer that spread to her brain when she was just 38 years old. Burnett hasn't spoken about her loss much in the past, but the 85-year-old is now opening up about the pain she endured following the tragedy. 

"I think of her every day," Burnett told PEOPLE. "She never leaves me … I just feel her." Hamilton was Burnett's oldest of three daughters from her second marriage to Joe Hamilton, a producer on The Carol Burnett Show. "You don't get over it, but you cope. What else can you do?" she says.

Burnett describes her daughter's personality as similar to her own: "She was very interested in people," Burnett told PEOPLE. "She never met a stranger. I think it's in our genes … [knowing] you can make somebody’s day by being kind."

And they looked alike too.

Burnett (left) and Hamilton (right) at the 6th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala in 1983.

But that doesn't mean they didn't go through some rough times. When Hamilton was a teenager, she struggled with drug addiction. "She got sober when she was 17," Burnett told PEOPLE. "I put her in a third rehab place, and oh my God, she hated me. I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me. She got sober and we started bonding. We wound up working together, writing a play together. We worked together in three shows."

Hamilton (left) and Burnett (right) in 1987.

Hamilton starred with her mother in Fame and had guest roles on Murder She Wrote and Beverly Hills 90210 during her career. She also helped Burnett create a stage version of her best-selling memoir One More Time. After Hamilton's passing, Burnett went on to honor her daughter in her own work.

"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," Burnett told PEOPLE. To calm her worries, the comedian asked her daughter to give her a sign that it was the right thing to do.

"I got on a plane and said a little prayer to Carrie, and said, 'I've got to do this alone,'" she told PEOPLE. "'Don’t leave me alone. Give me a sign that you’re with me.'" When Burnett got off the plane, she saw a bouquet of birds of paradise flowers — which Hamilton had a tattoo of on her right shoulder. Then at dinner a bottle of champagne said "Louise" on the label, Hamilton's middle name. And it rained on opening night. "Carrie and I were nuts for the rain," Burnett reveals.


Now, Burnett is starring in the Netflix series A Little Help With Carol Burnett, in which she'll work with a panel of children to give advice to adults. Burnett says Hamilton was constantly on her mind while filming.

We can't wait to watch.


From: Good Housekeeping US

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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