She celebrated her 90th birthday in 2023 and Carol Burnett’s net worth is indicative of her decades-long career in show business. But she came from a very modest background.
Her groundbreaking variety of The Carol Burnett Show debuted on 1967 CBS and was one of the first variety/sketch shows to be hosted by a woman. It ran for 279 episodes until 1978. It aired again in 1991 for nine episodes. “I don’t think a network would go for what we did,” she told Page Six on April 23, 2023. “We had a 28-piece live orchestra, we had 12 dancers, we had two guest stars a week and Bob Mackie designed—get this—60 to 75 costumes a week, everything everybody wore in all the sketches and all the musical numbers, on and on and on.”
She continued: “And no network today would spend that kind of money. The money that it would cost today would be astronomical. So, they’re not gonna go for it. And they, you know, they feel that variety is dead, which I don’t believe it is. … There are many people who could do a variety show, but … they couldn’t do what we did because of the cost. That’s the problem. That’s why there aren’t any shows like ours or Dean Martin or any of those, you know, just can’t happen today.”
What is Carol Burnett’s net worth?
Carol Burnett’s net worth is estimated at $45 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. Carol Creighton Burnett was born on April 26th of 1933 in San Antonio, Texas. Following her graduation from high school in 1951, Burnette was admitted to UCLA but her family could barely afford $30 per month in rent and therefore couldn’t the university’s $50 yearly tuition.
One day though, she found an envelope for $50 from an anonymous donor, and to this day, she still doesn’t know who her benefactor. A second act of generosity came from Don Saroyan, her future first husband, who offered her a $1,000 loan without interest so that she could move to New York after college. They met after she performed at a party in San Diego alongside other students in her third year at UCLA.
“His wife told me had also helped somebody start a restaurant and another person run a gas station. He liked the people he picked and felt that they had a chance and were sincere, so he sponsored them,” Burnett told People of her early supporter, who asked that she never reveal his name. “Somebody had helped him get his start in this country. So he was paying it forward.” In her first regular role on screen, Burnett played Celia, the girlfriend of Buddy Hackett’s character, in the sitcom Stanley from 1956 to 1957. In 1955, Burnett is said to have earned $1,15,000 every week from The Paul Winchell Show and Jerry Mahoney Show. Similarly, in 1981, she won a lawsuit against National Enquirer and received $1.6 million as a compensatory amount.
Burnett’s career would continue to gather momentum with a range of Broadway musical performances and appearances on other variety shows like The Gary Moore Show, for which she won an Emmy and that raised her star power considerably.
It was in 1967 when she started hosting her own show, The Carol Burnett Show, which ended up winning 23 Emmys in its 11-year run. Following that, she appeared in TV shows like Law & Order: SVU and Hawaii Five-O but in the 2010s, she started to scale back her public appearances. In the documentary Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love, she reflected on such a substantial career and how the opportunity to reminisce with old friends was the ideal birthday gift. “It’s exactly what I wanted,” Burnett told Variety on April 26, 2023.
“I didn’t want a birthday party with cake and balloons and confetti and all of that. What I wanted was to have an entertaining show. And that’s what we got. It’s a variety show, with live entertainment by Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Darren Criss and Sutton Foster. And then funny moments with Kristen Wiig, Allison Janney and Laura Dern. We had a 19-piece orchestra live.”
She told People that she was still struggling to accept the fact that she was turning 90. “I can’t wrap my head around it,” she said. “I still feel like I’m about 11, but I’m amazed. It sure went fast. But I’m glad because I’ve got all my parts — got my hips, I got my knees and I’ve got my brain, so I’m happy about that.”
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