LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - She may already have won some of the biggest U.S. honors but beloved American comedian Carol Burnett says she was “gobsmacked” when told she would receive the Screen Actors Guild 2015 lifetime achievement award.
Comedy duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will present Burnett with the honor on Saturday at the Screen Actors Guild annual award ceremony in Los Angeles.
“To use my friend Julie Andrews’ comment, this is very British, I was gobsmacked,” Burnett said. “Gobsmacked, what a great, great word that is and it really describes what I feel.”
Burnett, 82, the Emmy-winning star of the 1960s and 1970s TV sketch series “The Carol Burnett Show,” is regarded as a pioneer for women in comedy.
“I’ve been told that Amy (Schumer), and all of them, mention my name but if I’d never been born, they’d be doing what they’re doing,” Burnett said. “They would be where they are today. I appreciate the trailblazer label but I don’t think that’s really the case.”
“The Carol Burnett Show” won 23 Emmy Awards and Burnett went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and became a Kennedy Center honoree in 2003.
More recently, she appeared in the TV series “Hawaii Five-O” and in the 2014 Broadway production of “Love Letters.”
Asked about her legacy, Burnett said she hoped to be remembered as someone who had made people laugh.
“Well, I would hope they wouldn’t say, ‘Who was she?’ I would hope they say, ‘She made me laugh. She made me feel good,’” Burnett said. “That’s the legacy one would want to leave - that you made people feel good at a time when maybe they weren’t feeling so good.”
Burnett joins the ranks of other recent Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement honorees including Debbie Reynolds, Betty White and Dick Van Dyke.
Reporting By Reuters Television; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Bill Trott