Carol Burnett Explains How She Ended Up Playing Marion in ‘Better Call Saul’

by Chris Piner

Born in 1933, Carol Burnett watched firsthand as television shows and movies at the time featured male hosts and male protagonists. To find a movie, let alone a show that featured a female in a main role was somewhat unheard of. In September of 1967, that changed when the actress hosted The Carol Burnett Show, which was one of the first shows helmed by a woman. Running for 11 years, the show gained a spot on Time’s Best 100 TV Show of All Time. Currently 89 years old, fans of Burnett might be surprised to see her gracing TV screens once again in AMC’s Better Call Saul

With Better Call Saul coming to an end on August 15th, Carol Burnett recently sat down with AMC to discuss her portrayal as Marion and how she got the role in the first place. Adding her name to the massive list, the actress admitted to being a fan of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and most importantly, the man behind it all, Vince Gilligan.

But while just a fan, Carol Burnett used her star power to speak with the creator of Walter White and Saul Goodman only to find out he was a fan of hers. 

Carol Burnett Shares The Dinner That Started It All

Speaking about their first dinner together, Carol Burnett admitted, “we did get to meet Vince and Holly for dinner, he told me that he had written an episode of The X-Files that my daughter Carrie starred in and he said she was one of his favorite performers and he went on and on and on about how good she was in that episode, and that really touched me a whole lot. I told him how much I was loving Better Call Saul and he said, ‘Someday maybe.’ I said, ‘Listen, I’ll go in and say one sentence. I don’t care! But I would love to be a part of the show.’”

Carol Burnett is no stranger to false promises, but true to his word, Vince Gilligan never forgot his promise. “Over a year ago, he got in touch with me and we had a phone interview with the writers. They talked about writing something for me in the last few episodes and I said, ‘Absolutely! I’m there.’ I started last October and I was there for two months and I just had the best time! Bob and I totally bonded. Right from the get-go, it was as if we’d known each other forever. I had a great time with him and Pat [Healy]. I couldn’t have been more thrilled or more comfortable.”

As for her role on Better Call Saul, Carol Burnett explained the ease of getting into character. “I’ve done a lot of dramatic stuff that didn’t even have a comic overture, so I was very comfortable and they made me very comfortable. I never thought about, ‘Oh gosh, I’m a comedian doing drama.’ That never occurs to me anymore at all and I’m sure it doesn’t occur to Bob because he’s been doing Saul for 14 or 15 years.”