News Column

Carol Burnett to receive Indiana museum's Harvey Award

August 22, 2014

By Gina DelFavero, The Blairsville Dispatch, Pa.

Aug. 22--A comedy legend will be visiting the area this fall.

Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Carol Burnett has been announced as the 2014 recipient of the Harvey Award, given each year by Indiana's Jimmy Stewart Museum to an individual who had personal ties to the local native and acting legend. Burnett will receive the award in a ceremony Oct. 3 at the Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort and Conference Center just east of Blairsville.

Jimmy Stewart was a guest on the final episode of television's "The Carol Burnett Show," which aired March 29, 1978.

"Although they never were in any films together, they always had a great respect and admiration for each other," said Tim Harley, executive director of the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

Harley learned about the connection between the two actors several years ago, when watching a talk show on which Burnett mentioned Stewart.

"She talked extensively about her friendship with Mr. Stewart and it was really fascinating," Harley said. "It was very much a kind of mutual admiration."

During the final taping of "The Carol Burnett Show," Burnett's popular 1970s variety series, Stewart surprised the show's host with an appearance. Stewart sat at a piano and sang "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," much to the delight of the star-struck Burnett, who called Stewart her idol.

In talking with the 81-year-old actress, Harley said, "She is just very honored, as we are, and excited to be able to participate in this event related to a very dear friend."

Burnett is perhaps best known for her TV variety show, which aired from 1967 to 1978 and again for a season in 1991 on CBS. In 2007, it was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. Over the 287 episodes that aired, Burnett brought in some of the biggest names of the time, acting in sketches with a cast that varied from season to season, but which included fellow comedy legends Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. The show is one of the most honored in television history, having received 25 Emmy awards.

Burnett herself has won several Emmys, Golden Globes and People's Choice awards, as well as a Peabody Award, the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is a Television Hall of Fame inductee and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Comedian Rich Little will once again be on hand as part of the Harvey Award ceremony, named after the invisible six-foot-tall rabbit befriended by Stewart in the 1950 movie of the same name. Little appeared in two episodes of "The Carol Burnett Show," and Burnett made appearances on Little's variety show as well.

"They know each other well and are excited to have this opportunity to be together," Harley said of old friends Little and Burnett.

Stewart's daughters, Judy Stewart and Kelly Stewart Harcourt, are also expected to make appearances for the Harvey Award event.

Burnett's visit will have an unusually short turnaround, Harley said, due to Burnett's professional schedule.

Because of her time constraints, there will be no meet-and-greet with the star as in years past, but Harley noted that he plans to show Burnett around the Jimmy Stewart Museum. When she makes her stops in Indiana and Blairsville. Burnett will actually be en route to Manhattan, where she'll be appearing in a Broadway production of "Love Letters."

In addition to the award presentation, Harley said the event will feature a couple of clips related to Stewart and some pertinent to Burnett

"It's our standard format," he said.

The event is held every year as a fundraiser for the James M. Stewart Foundation, which supports the operation of the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

The Oct. 3 ceremony, to be held in the ballroom at the Chestnut Ridge resort, will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception and cocktail hour, followed by the dinner and award ceremony at 7 p.m.

"We're looking foward to being down at Chestnut Ridge," Harley said. "We've done a number of our dinners there, and it's an elegant setting."

The cost to attend is $153 per person. Credit card reservations may be made by calling the museum at 724-349-6112. Reservations are due by Sept. 22.

"We are thrilled and appreciative, and very excited," said Harley about Burnett's visit.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or


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