Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review of "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" by Carol Burnett

Carol Burnett had amiable, but alcoholic, parents and was raised in the Hollywood area by her grandmother. Early in life Carol realized she wanted to be an entertainer and, with talent and drive, became a very successful comedian, singer, and actor. Along the way Carol acted in stage plays, TV shows, and movies. She was a regular on the Garry Moore TV variety show for years and then had her own TV variety show for 11 seasons. Carol was also married three times, had three daughters, and met entertainers and show business personnel of every kind.

This book contains a variety of anecdotes about all aspects of Carol's life. Some are funny, some are touching, and some are sad. One of my favorites is a story about Carol and four other young, struggling, would-be actresses pooling five dollars each to buy an orange 'community dress' for auditions - bright colors being necessary to catch the director's eye. When Carol lost a part to another gal in an orange dress she switched to yellow.

Carol talks about how thrilled she was to meet Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant and about an hour-long telephone conversation she had with Marlon Brando while she desperately needed to pee. Carol tells tales about doing shows with Julie Andrews and Beverly Sills, and of course the regulars on her TV show - Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. There are lots of anecdotes about actors, and singers, and playwrights, and directors, and so on that Carol knew, but the book never comes across as name-dropping.

Carol also talks about her marriages and raising her three children. For a long time Carol was married to Joe Hamilton, the producer of her variety show and father of her three daughters. An array of stories in the book revolve around raising the girls - dealing with their little fibs, their naughty behavior in restaurants, etc. A sad anecdote talks about Carol's daughter Carrie struggling with and dying from lung cancer.

I thought the book was interesting and entertaining though not as laugh out loud funny as I expected. I'd recommend it to folks interested in celebrity memoirs.  

Rating: 3.5 stars

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