Carol Burnett will commemorate turning 90 later this month. While Burnett’s nine decades have been marked by professional accomplishment, she has also experienced significant tragedy, including the passing of Carrie Hamilton in 2002, one of the three daughters she had with her second husband Joe Hamilton.
“There’s not a day or almost a moment that goes by that she’s not with me,” Burnett says in this week’s edition of PEOPLE. “We collaborated, we cried, and we laughed together. She was powerful.
Hamilton had a job as an actress like her mother. She played Reggie Higgins in the television series Fame, as well as the films Tokyo Pop and Shag. In 1990, Hamilton and Burnett co-wrote the play Hollywood Arms, which was based on Burnett’s biography about her childhood. They also appeared together in an episode of Carol & Company.
In addition to her drug addiction, Hamilton battled lung and brain cancer, which was discovered in 2002. She passed away the next January at the age of 38.
Burnett remembers, “I remember she was in the hospital when she got sick and I would go to see her every day.” “Carrie lifts our spirits,” a hospital nurse remarked one day. Carrie said, “Everyday I wake up and decide,” when I questioned why she was constantly upbeat. Decide is the crucial word here.
In the present, Burnett claims, “I say that to myself every morning.”
The Golden Globe winner for six times is aware of how fleeting life can be.
“It’s taking [it] one day at a time,” says Burnett. “You have no idea. A lot may happen in a day. Just be thankful for what you have today.