Comedy legend Carol Burnett pays tribute to her late daughter Carrie Hamilton in her funny and moving new memoir Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, available Wednesday, and she explains to our own Nancy O'Dell how she came to terms with continuing the work that her daughter left behind when her life was cut short by cancer.
"Carrie was kind of a force, and everybody who met her fell in love with her," says Carol of her daughter, who passed away at 38 after an aggressive battle with the disease. "She was just out there and cheerful and optimistic about life and people and she never met somebody she didn't like, and I wanted to bring her essence to the page and I hope I've succeeded."
Through personal diary entries, photographs, and correspondence, Carrie and Me traces the journey mother and daughter took through some of life's toughest challenges, including confronting Carrie's drug addiction during her teen years.
"Finally we got tough and sent her to rehab," recalls Carol, explaining that she put her daughter in rehab twice, the second time against her will, "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. And once she got sober, just before she was 18, we clicked again, you know, and then we became mom and Carrie and laughing and scratching and writing together."