How Carol Burnett’s Fervent Love for All My Children Once Terrified a 'Shaking' Hotel Employee

by 24USATVMarch 25, 2024, 9:01 p.m. 22
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From the first episode of All My Children she watched, Carol Burnett was hooked — and not even a family vacation could keep her out of the loop.

According to the actress — who eventually went on to appear on the series — her love affair with the iconic ABC soap opera “started with my kids.”

“They would watch at noon. And I said, ‘What are you guys doing?’ And I sat down and I started to watch and I got hooked,” Burnett, 90, told hosts Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, who both starred on the soap, on Monday's episode of LIVE with Kelly and Mark.

When a European vacation threatened to keep her away from the show's soapy antics, she had to do something.

“My husband and my kids were going to go on a trip this one summer to London, Paris, Italy, Rome and Lake Como,” she explained. “And this was before they had VCRs or TiVo or anything and I thought, ‘How am I going to last if I don’t know what’s going on in Pine Valley?’ “

So, naturally, Burnett enlisted the help of a pal and fellow All My Children devotee.

"I had a friend of mine, he’d send me a telegram to every hotel on Friday to the concierge to bring me up to date on what was going on,” she remembers. “So in London, I got a telegram. Then when we got to Rome, I got another telegram.”

But, in true All My Children fashion, by the time the actress and her family reached Northern Italy, her fool-proof plan took a turn.

“Now, we got to Lake Como and there were some friends who were there. And so we all had dinner, it was lovely,” Burnett recalls. “And then it was kind of late and we went to bed. And there was a knock on the door around two in the morning. I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ “

The visitor? Their hotel manager, who was “shaking,” telegram in hand.

He came bearing a message about the latest in the characters’ lives that — at least to the untrained ear — would understandably cause a fright.

And thankfully, Burnett still has the message.

“I wrote down what the telegram said: ‘Erica is still in a coma. Mark slipped again and ran away from rehab. Mona has to have exploratory surgery, doesn’t look good. Chuck has learned that Donna, who’s carrying his baby, was once a hooker. Hope you’re having a great trip.’”

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Burnett’s love of All My Children eventually came full circle, as she appeared on the show as Verla Grubbs — the long-lost daughter of Langley Wallingford — in 1983. She later reprised the role for a few episodes in 1995, 2005 and, finally, 2011.

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