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EXCLUSIVE: Carol Burnett Says She Felt 'Sad' for the Way Michael Jackson Saw Himself: 'I Thought He Was Beautiful'

by Andi Rocco 8:12 AM PDT, September 13, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Carol Burnett Says She Felt 'Sad' for the Way Michael Jackson Saw Himself: 'I Thought He Was Beautiful'

Carol Burnett has been on the stage and in front of the camera for over six decades, giving fans a never-ending list of memorable jokes, characters and anecdotes.

And at 83, the actress isn't done impressing us just yet. In her latest book, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox -- out today -- the Golden Globe winner takes us back in time, sharing hilarious behind-the-scenes stories of her iconic variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.

Photo: Crown Publishing

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As one of the most popular TV shows of all time, Burnett reminiscences fondly about her guest stars, like Dick Van Dyke and Joan Rivers, while talking about the more memorable episodes. One in particular definitely stands out.

Burnett recalls when The Jackson 5 made a guest appearance on the hit show, which ran from 1967 to 1978. She goes on to explain the skit they were performing, and how an unexpected earthquake shook the stage. Despite the semi-traumatic experience, Burnett says the musicians remained shy and sweet.

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The comedic legend also reveals that it pained her to see how Michael Jackson felt about his appearance.

"I'm still sad that Michael thought he was unattractive," she writes. "I thought he was beautiful."

It's no secret the late King of Pop's looks changed dramatically throughout his career, reportedly undergoing his first plastic surgery in his early 20's.

Here's an exclusive excerpt from the book:

The first time Michael, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, and Marlon -- along with their youngest brother, Randy -- were on our show was March 16, 1974.

The Jacksons performed "Dancing Machine," featuring the incredibly talented sixteen-year-old Michael, and later on in the show they took part in our finale, portraying bored "students" (along with our dancers) in a classroom run by an uptight old biddy (me) attempting to teach the kids how to read music.

Pointing to a music staff written on a chalkboard, the teacher proceeds to pontificate.

TEACHER: "This is 'Mr. A,' he is sharp. This is 'Mrs. B,' she is flat. Now, if Mr. A and Mrs. B get married and move into a home, can you tell me what happens?"

JACKIE: : "They give birth to the blues!"

The classroom erupts in laughter, much to the teacher's annoyance.

TEACHER: "NO THEY DON'T! They give birth to 'Baby C'! Now to review, this is a Sharp, this is a Flat, and this is a Natural."

RANDY: (Pointing to his Afro) "No, this is a natural!"

My character continues trying to engage a totally disinterested bunch of kids, when out of the blue . . . there is an earthquake!

I mean a real earthquake.

The stage lights above us started swaying like crazy, and everybody in Studio 33 stopped breathing for a few seconds, until the jolt was over. I glanced at our audience, and no one had moved. I figured I should keep on going with the scene, and as the teacher I said, "No visiting, no visiting! The earth just moved. See what can happen when you pay attention!"

There were no more jolts and we finished the number, none the worse for wear.

The Jacksons were very shy during rehearsals, so very, very shy. But when it came time to perform, they blew the roof off the studio! They were the sweetest kids in the world, and I couldn't wait to have them back with us. They graced our show with their fantastic talents three times. I'm still sad that Michael thought he was unattractive. I thought he was beautiful.

Excerpted from IN SUCH GOOD COMPANY: ELEVEN YEARS OF LAUGHTER, MAYHEM, AND FUN IN THE SANDBOX by Carol Burnett. Copyright © 2016 by Mabel Cat, Inc. Published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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