Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
June 17, 2014
The beloved comedian and actress, who appears Sunday in the first-season finale of Hallmark Channel’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered (8 ET/PT), likes the concept of four Denver postal detectives who search for the intended recipients of undeliverable mail. She plays the grandmother of one, Norman (Geoff Gustafson).
Burnett, 81, treasures the letters and cards she received from her children and grandchildren. However, as the host of an iconic variety show who has touched many lives, she also has memorable missives from other celebrities, including a hospitalized Johnny Carson.
“I had given some of my shows to the hospital to run on their in-house television,” she says. “When he was in the hospital for the last time, just before he died … I got the sweetest letter from Johnny, saying how much he enjoyed seeing those shows again and that it cheered him up. That’s certainly a letter to save.”
Fans have written her about her performances in Annie and Once Upon a Mattress, while others talk about how The Carol Burnett Show provided laughs and a respite during difficult times. She says younger fans have caught up with the variety show on DVD and YouTube.
Some fans just reminisce about watching the variety show with family. “When you get letters like that, it makes your heart swell,” she says.
Burnett e-mails and texts but maintains a fondness for cards and letters. “It’s a tactile thing. Also, your brain is thinking a little more because you can’t just erase it and start over. You have to think about what you’re going to say.”
Burnett’s friendship with Signed creator Martha Williamson is a major reason she is appearing on the show. Burnett and her daughter Carrie Hamilton, who died in 2002, co-starred in an episode of an earlier Williamson hit, CBS’ Touched By an Angel.
Burnett is keeping busy: She also guest-starred last year in TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland and played Steve McGarrett’s aunt on Hawaii Five-0, whose forerunner was part of the CBS lineup with The Carol Burnett Show.
“I’m a fan of the show, and I love Hawaii. I used to live there for a while,” says Burnett, who is scheduled to appear again next season.
She also hopes to set up a fall reading of Hollywood Arms, a play based on her family and written with Hamilton. And she’s working on her fourth book, which will feature commentary on the more than 250 episodes of her variety show. She will reminisce about some of the Hollywood immortals who appeared, including Rita Hayworth, Mickey Rooney, Gloria Swanson, Betty Grable and Lana Turner.
“This is going to be pretty specific,” she says, but fans should be prepared to wait. “It’s going to take me a while. I’m on Show 22 now.”
Click here for article.