Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933) is an American actress, comedienne, singer, dancer and writer. Burnett started her career in New York. After becoming a hit on Broadway, she made her television debut. After successful appearances on The Garry Moore Show, Carol moved to Los Angeles and began an eleven-year run on The Carol Burnett Show which was aired on CBS television from 1967 to 1978. With roots in vaudeville, The Carol Burnett Show was a variety show which combined comedy sketches, song, and dance. The comedy sketches ranged from film parodies to character pieces. Burnett created many endearing characters during the show's television run.
Burnett was born in San Antonio, Texas, the daughter of Ina Louise (née Creighton), a publicity writer for movie studios, and Joseph Thomas Burnett, a movie theater manager. Both of her parents, particularly her father, suffered from alcoholism, and at a young age she was left with her grandmother, Mabel Eudora White. Her parents divorced in the late 1930s, and Burnett and her grandmother moved to an apartment near her mother’s in an impoverished area of Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. There, they stayed in a boarding house with her younger half-sister Chrissy.
When Burnett was in the fourth grade, she briefly invented an imaginary twin sister named Karen, with Shirley Temple-like dimples. Motivated to further the pretense, Burnett recalled fondly that she "fooled the other boarders in the rooming house where we lived by frantically switching clothes and dashing in and out of the house by the fire escape and the front door. Then I became exhausted and Karen mysteriously vanished."