Who Are Carol Burnett's Children?

The following article includes references to addiction and suicide.

Carol Burnett is a beloved comedian and actor. Though she is best known as the host of "The Carol Burnett Show," an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning variety and sketch comedy television show that aired from 1967 to 1978, Burnett has also appeared onscreen in "Annie," "Noises Off," and "The Four Seasons," according to her IMDb page. The performer is also a talented voice actor, having lent hers to a kangaroo in "Horton Hears A Who!" and Chairol Burnett, a talking chair, in "Toy Story 4." The six-time Emmy winner has also appeared on stage, earning Tony Award nominations for "Once Upon a Mattress" and "Moon Over Buffalo."

Despite her impressive career, Burnett has not had an easy family life. A two-time divorcée, she's been a devoted mother to the three daughters she and her late ex-husband, producer Joe Hamilton, raised: Carrie, an actor and writer; Jody, an actor and producer; and Erin, a singer. While her children grew up privileged, they faced their fair share of struggles. In a diary entry published in her book "Carrie and Me: a Mother-Daughter Love Story," Burnett mused that they "weren't born into fortunate circumstances at all" and wrote that her more modest upbringing served her better because she had "none of the distractions and temptations that come with those 'advantages.'"  

Read on to learn more about Carol Burnett's children and their complicated lives.

Carol Burnett's own childhood was tough

Carol Burnett was born in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933, to Ina Louise and Joseph Burnett, per Biography. Both of her parents struggled with alcoholism, causing Carol to have a complicated childhood. In a 2003 "Fresh Air" interview with NPR's Terry Gross, the actor reflected, "Daddy, when he drank, just became sweeter. He was — there wasn't a mean thought in his body. ... But he was ineffectual. He couldn't hold a job. You know, he was just a hopeless — he had that disease." Speaking to People in 2018, she also recalled how hard it was to grow up with parents who were addicts, saying, "I thought they could [quit] if they wanted to ... You can't fix it."

Carol's life was further complicated when she was a few years old. Her parents moved to Hollywood, leaving her with her grandmother, Mabel White, whom she called Nanny, she told NPR. Following her parents' divorce, Carol and her grandmother also moved to Hollywood in 1940, residing in a one-bedroom apartment down the hall from Carol's mother. Their financial situation was so dire that Carol's grandmother resorted to stealing cutlery so they'd have eating utensils, per People. Unfortunately, Carol's experience with motherhood would be difficult, as well.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Who are Carol Burnett's kids?

In 1963, Carol Burnett wed her second husband, five-time Emmy Award-winning television producer Joe Hamilton, one of the producers of "The Carol Burnett Show." Hamilton was also known for his work as a producer of "The Garry Moore Show," "The Tim Conway Show," and "Mama's Family," according to The New York Times. Sadly, the couple divorced in 1984 after over 20 years of marriage, although they remained dedicated parents to their children. In 1990, Burnett told People that her inclination to conceal negative feelings and avoid confrontation contributed to the breakdown of her marriage. "I always wanted the children to see us as Ozzie and Harriet," she said. "And that was wrong."

Together, Burnett and her ex-husband had three daughters — Carrie, Jody, and Erin — all of whom inherited their parents' flair for the performing arts as actors, producers, and singers. While the family had plenty of love to go around, growing up in the spotlight seems to have taken quite the toll on Burnett and Hamilton's three girls. From substance abuse to court cases to untimely deaths, the Burnett-Hamilton family is, unfortunately, no stranger to strife and loss.

Who was Carrie Hamilton?

Carol Burnett's oldest daughter, Carrie Louise Hamilton, was born on December 5, 1963. An actor like her mother, she was most known for her roles in the movies "Shag" and "Tokyo Pop" and the television series "Fame," though she also made appearances on "The X-Files" and "Beverly Hills, 90210," among other shows, per her IMDb page. She also played the role of Maureen Johnson in the first national tour of the musical "Rent." She married musician Mark Templin in 1994, but the couple divorced four years later in 1998 and did not have any children together, per People.

Unfortunately, like others in her family, Hamilton struggled with addiction. He issues began around the age of 13, per ABC News, and she spent time in multiple rehabilitation facilities before becoming sober at age 17. Reflecting on her daughter's addiction, Burnett told ET, "Finally we got tough and sent her to rehab ... and she hated me for it; she was 17, but I knew that was the last time she could do it because she would be turning 18. ... I realized then that I had to love her enough to let her hate me." 

Hamilton was a people person, according to her mother. "One time she was in New York and it was the winter, and homeless people would come up and ask for money. She would say, 'I'll give you $10 if you tell me your story.' She would collect those stories and write about them," Burnett told People in 2018.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Carrie Hamilton's tragic death

After she became sober as a teenager, Carrie Hamilton used her difficult past to make a difference by teaming up with her mom to help promote the first Alcoholics Anonymous in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, per UPI. And for two decades, Hamilton had a thriving career as an actor and playwright. Tragically, in January 2002, Hamilton died from pneumonia — a complication due to lung cancer that had spread to her brain — at the young age of 38, according to People. At the time of her untimely death, Hamilton was working on putting up a play she had written with her mother, but sadly never got to see it premiere.

No child should ever die before their parents, something Carol Burnett knows all too well. In 2018, the comedian told People, "I think of her every day. She never leaves me ... I just feel her." Burnett also remembered the inspiring words that her daughter shared with her while she was in the hospital. "She said, 'Every day I wake up and decide, today I'm going to love my life.' And that was her mantra," Burnett told AARP. The actor isn't the only one keeping Hamilton's memory alive; in addition to her sisters Jody and Erin, Hamilton was survived by her eight half-siblings from her father, Joe Hamilton's, first marriage, according to the New York Times.

What was Carol Burnett's relationship with her eldest daughter like?

Carol Burnett enjoyed a close relationship with her eldest daughter, Carrie Hamilton. In an interview with People, Burnett said, "She got sober and we started bonding. We wound up working together, writing a play together. We worked together in three shows."

Together, the mother-daughter pair penned the stage play "Hollywood Arms," an adaptation of Burnett's memoir, which tells the story of Burnett's difficult upbringing at her grandmother's downtrodden apartment in Hollywood. Directed by Hal Prince, the Tony Award-winning director of "West Side Story" and "The Phantom of the Opera," the play premiered at the Goodman Theater in Chicago in April 2002, according to the theater's website. "Hollywood Arms" made its Broadway debut later that year, although it was difficult for Burnett to put her heart into the show after her daughter's death. Reflecting back on the experience to People in 2018, Burnett said, "When Carrie died, I didn't want to get out of bed for a while, but I had a play to finish that we started that Hal Prince was going to direct. I owed it to Carrie, and I owed it to Hal."

Who is Jody Hamilton?

The middle daughter of Carol Burnett and Joe Hamilton, Jody Ann Hamilton, was born on January 18, 1967. Also in show business, she has produced "Carol Burnett: Show Stoppers," which was a filmed reunion of the cast of "The Carol Burnett Show," and various shorts, including "Porkchop Playhouse," per her IMDb page. She has acted as well, playing Casey in the movie "Genesis: The Future of Mankind is Woman," and she also hosts a politics and pop culture podcast called "From the Bunker." Jody has been married to her husband, Lonny Paul, since September 18, 2015. In an interview with NPR, Burnett revealed that she and her middle daughter had both had corrective dental surgery — Burnett for an overbite, Hamilton for an underbite.

Hamilton is also a fierce defender of her late older sister, Carrie Hamilton. Shortly after Carrie's death in 2002, Carrie's ex-boyfriend, musician Ryan Adams, released an album inspired by Carrie entitled "Demolition." In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Adams expressed that Carrie had been the love of his life; Jody, however, alleged that she knew firsthand that Adams had treated her ill sister incredibly poorly, writing to Entertainment Weekly that "Mr. Adams wasn't around long enough to witness Carrie's illness. He was with her for one procedure within two weeks of her diagnosis; he left within a week, never to return." The protective younger sister shared this letter in a tweet to Alyssa Milano in 2019 after accusations that Adams had manipulated young women came out.

Who is Erin Hamilton?

Born August 14, 1968, Erin Hamilton is the youngest daughter of Carol Burnett and Joe Hamilton. She first gained attention in 1993, when she was named Miss Golden Globe, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A fairly successful singer, Hamilton is known for her 1998 cover of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" and has performed at large events featuring big stars, including Bette Midler, according to an interview she did with NAJM. She has also had multiple hits on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart, including "Control Yourself" and a dance remix of her song "The Flame," released as "The Flame 08."

Sadly, the singer has not had an easy life. After divorcing her first husband, Trae Carlson, she dated Tanya Sanchez, who committed suicide in 2001. Erin told The Advocate that her mother never met Tanya, whom she described as "an incredible person." Like her older sister Carrie and her maternal grandparents, Erin has struggled with substance abuse and addiction. According to court filings obtained by People, "Throughout her adult life, and since Dylan's birth, Erin has suffered from severe substance abuse and addiction issues. In the past 19 years, Erin has been in and out of rehabilitation centers and has been institutionalized a total of eight times for a minimum of 30 days each time." Hamilton is a mother of two sons: Zachary Carlson with her first husband Trae Carlson and Dylan Hamilton-West with her second husband, Kurt West.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Carol Burnett filed for custody of Erin Hamilton's son

Carol Burnett and her third husband, musician Brian Miller, filed for temporary legal guardianship of their grandson, Dylan Hamilton-West, in August 2020, according to People. Burnett and Miller became Hamilton-West's legal guardians in September 2020 due to his parents, Erin Hamilton and Kurt West, being in the midst of struggles with addiction. According to ET, Burnett and Miller filed this paperwork after Hamilton threatened to commit suicide in text messages to both of her sons in July 2020.

In a September 2020 statement, Burnett's manager shared, "Due to addiction issues and other circumstances that my daughter, Erin, has been struggling with impacting her immediate family dynamic, my husband and I have petitioned the court to be appointed legal guardian of my 14-year-old grandson," per ET. While Miller is not biologically related to Hamilton-West, "he has known Dylan for Dylan's entire life and loves him like his grandson," the filing said, per People. Sadly, this custody arrangement was familiar for Burnett, whose parents "both died in their 40s" after struggling with substance abuse for years, the actor told CBS News in 2013. Luckily, she also had a loving grandmother who was willing to step in and raise her — one who would even "save up her pennies" to take Burnett to the movies.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Carol Burnett is a doting grandmother and guardian of her grandson

In addition to becoming the temporary legal guardian of her grandson Dylan Hamilton-West in September 2020, Carol Burnett has always looked out for her grandson. Even before she became his guardian, Burnett has financially supported him for all of his life, including "providing for his medical insurance, dental insurance, educational needs, as well as his basic living and housing expenses," per court filings obtained by People. Burnett even paid for her grandson to go to boarding school so that he could get a good education without being disrupted by his complicated home life, according to the Daily Mail. The comedian had been named Hamilton-West's educational rights holder two years earlier in September 2018, per People.

Hamilton-West appears to have been put in good, loving hands with his grandparents, with the court filing stating that the untraditional arrangement "is in Dylan's best interests and consistent with the love and care they are already providing to him. This will further Dylan's interests in a stable, secure, and loving environment and ensure that his needs are met on a consistent basis," per People.