Carrie Hamilton, Actress, Emerging Playwright and Daughter of Carol Burnett, Dead at 38

News   Carrie Hamilton, Actress, Emerging Playwright and Daughter of Carol Burnett, Dead at 38 Carrie Hamilton, the actress-writer daughter of TV legend Carol Burnett, died Jan. 20 of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Burnett's publicist said.

Carrie Hamilton, the actress-writer daughter of TV legend Carol Burnett, died Jan. 20 of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Burnett's publicist said.

Ms. Hamilton was 38 and was known to regional theatregoers for playing Maureen in the first national tour of Rent. She and her mother co-wrote a play, Hollywood Arms, based on her mother's life, which is planned for a Harold Prince-directed staging April 19-May 25 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Linda Lavin and Frank Wood have been mentioned for roles.

Ms. Hamilton was a veteran of the TV series, "Fame," and guest-starred on TV series ("Walker, Texas Ranger" and more), and acted in films ("Tokyo Pop," "Cool World," "Checkered Flag," "Shag") and TV movies ("A Mother's Justice," "Single Women, Married Men," "Hostage" and "Love Lives On").

She was also a film director. In the 1980s she spoke about her substance abuse problems. She is survived by two sisters and Burnett. Her father, the producer Joe Hamilton ("The Carol Burnett Show"), predeceased his daughter.

* Hollywood Arms replaces the previously-announced Amy Freed play, The Beard of Avon, at the famed regional house, The Goodman. The latter play has been rescheduled for the 2002-03 season.

The new play is based on Burnett's best-selling memoir "One More Time," and chronicles the life of a woman named Helen in a pre- and post-World War II Hollywood. The piece contains a cavalcade of characters including a pill-popping Christian Scientist grandmother who cares for the heroine when her parents divorce, a wide-eyed and distant mother who longs to be a celebrity interviewer and a recovering drunk father who wants to be the daddy he never was.

Ms. Hamilton started the ball rolling on the project. She was skeptical to take on the adaptation alone, as she said in a release from the Goodman, "having only written screenplays, I didn’t think I’d be up to the task." So when mom Burnett suggested to co-write the play with her, she was "thrilled."

When Burnett sent a rough draft to "a close friend" for a personal suggestion on someone to helm the work, the friend volunteered himself. The friend is 20-time Tony-winner Harold Prince. Prince went to his friend, Goodman artistic director Robert Falls, and the final piece of the puzzle was set.

— By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson