Veteran comedienne Carol Burnett will be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The John F. Kennedy Center announces that the 80-year-old actress, singer and writer is the recipient of its annual award for "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar" to the prize's namesake this year.
"From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway in 'Once Upon a Mattress' and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters," says David M. Rubenstein, the Kennedy Center chairman. "We are delighted to pay tribute to this unique and beloved entertainer."
Burnett herself has reacted to being chosen as the winner of the prize, stating, "I can't believe I'm getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington."
The Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, who is best known for her long-running TV variety show "The Carol Burnett Show" on CBS, will receive the award in a ceremony set to be held on October 20 and broadcast on PBS October 30.
Burnett began her career performing on the New York circuit of cabarets and night clubs in the late 1950s, and was notable for a hit parody number called "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles". She had a breakout success on Broadway in 1959 before making a TV debut with "The Garry Moore Show".
Her variety show "Carol Burnett Show" was a hit during its run from 1967 to 1978, earning her numerous Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. Her film credits include "Annie" and "Noises Off". She appeared as a special guest on "Glee" in a 2010 episode.