Carol Burnett is still reeling from the loss of her daughter, Carrie Hamilton. “I think of her every day,” Burnett, 85, told People of her youngest daughter whom she shared with Joe Hamilton, a producer of “The Carol Burnett Show.” “She never leaves me … I just feel her.”
Hamilton, who was a writer and actress, passed away in 2002 at the age of 38 following a battle with cancer. Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Hamilton struggled with — and eventually overcame — a drug addiction as a teenager.
“She got sober when she was 17,” Burnett said. “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.”
Burnett continued: “She got sober and we started bonding. We wound up working together, writing a play together. We worked together in three shows.”
A mother’s love: Carol Burnett, pictured with her daughter Carrie in 1987, has written a memoir about their relationship and her daughter’s death from cancer in 2002
Following Hamilton’s death, Burnett decided to finish the play that the pair had been working on together.
“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,” Burnett said. “I owed it to Carrie, and I owed it to Hal.”
“I got on a plane and said a little prayer to Carrie, and said, ‘I’ve got to do this alone. Don’t leave me alone. Give me a sign that you’re with me,’” Burnett shared.
Tight-knit: Carol Burnett with her daughters, Carrie (left) and Erin (right) at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, New York on September 7, 1985.
After that prayer, there were signs aplenty, including a bouquet of birds of paradise flowers in her hotel room.
“That was Carrie’s favorite flower,” Burnett said. “She had one tattooed on her right shoulder. Then at dinner, the maître d’ gave us a bottle of Champagne, and the label said ‘Louise.’ That was Carrie’s middle name. Then it rained on opening night. Carrie and I were nuts for the rain.”
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