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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Carol Burnett Hosts "Funny Ladies", A TCM Celebration Of Cinema’s Greatest Comediennes

TCM Pays Tribute to Lucille Ball, Lilly Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and more with Funny Ladies, premiering October 4. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is paying tribute to cinema’s iconic comediennes in this special month of programming that celebrates hilarious movie performances from Lucille Ball, Doris Day and Phyllis Diller to Goldie Hawn, Gilda Radner and Lilly Tomlin. The series is hosted by comedy legend Carol Burnett, and actress/filmmaker Illeana Douglas. The special programming begins Thursday and continues weekly every Thursday this month in primetime.

A beloved favorite of television, stage and film, Burnett was the first woman to have her own variety TV show (The Carol Burnett Show). The famous red-head began her impressive run with the television landmark when she was just thirty-four years old. From the very beginning, she dominated network programming and continued to do so for more than a decade from 1967 to 1978. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality, Burnett became known as the successor to Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy". So, when it came to chose a co-host for Funny Ladies, TCM naturally turned to Burnett.

The TCM salute is broken down by decades. First to the screen are films from the Silent era to the 1930s. The night showcases the comedy duo of Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in Babes in the Goods. The same night Marion Davies (mistress to Randolph Hearst) in her star turn in the Silent escaped, Show People. The evening ends with the iconic Mae West in I’m No Angel (with second time co-star Cary Grant).

The following week brings the 1930s-1940s. This decade features three memorable performers that earned Best Actress Oscar nominations for their roles. Carole Lombard demonstrates her peerless ditsy-blonde persona in the screwball comedy, My Man Godfrey. Two years later in 1936, Irene Dunne shows her silly side in Theodora Goes Wild, and Jean Arthur finishes out the night with the charming pre-war comedy, The More the Merrier.

The 1950s includes the female talents of Jean Hagen in her Oscar nominated supporting role in Singin’ in the Rain. Doris Day appears in her first of three films with Rock Hudson, in Pillow Talk. And Lucille Ball shines with husband Desi Arnes and the incredibly sophisticated, James Mason in Forever, Darling.

The month also brings highlights from the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Lily Tomlin reveals her comedic genius in The Late Show, Goldie Hawn glitters in Protocol, Gilda Radner gives a tour-de-force performance in Gilda Live, and Madeline Kahn and Cloris Leachman steal the spotlight in the slap-stick, Mel Brooks comedy, High Anxiety. The series also features Phyllis Diller in Eight on the Lam, and Elaine May in Enter Laughing. That's a lot of comedy.

“Our celebration allows us to feature a variety of actresses, showcasing their work while also highlighting the incredible impact they had paving the way for the future of comedy on-screen,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. “Carol Burnett is a living comedic legend and we can’t wait to share her insightful and hilarious thoughts on the great comediennes of film history.” Don't miss a chance to broaden your knowledge of history and turn into TCM every Thursday this month. Remember, knowledge is a wonderful thing.

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