“The Carol Burnett Show” may have been all laughs while the cameras were rolling, but off-screen, things got heated.
During filming, Carol Burnett, the show’s leading lady, had to go against her co-star Harvey Korman about his bad behavior.
When Korman and Burnett began working together, she quickly realized that Korman had a temper.
While she didn’t mind if he got angry with her, but once Korman went after their guest stars, she knew she had to reprimand him.
“Our guests that week were Tim [Conway], who had not yet joined the cast as a regular, and Petula Clark, two of the nicest people in showbiz,” Burnett wrote in her book In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. “Something was wrong with Harvey. Now, at times he could get into a mood. … He was scowling at everybody, and at one point he was actually rude to Tim and Petula.”
Burnett told Korman he couldn’t act that way around the guests, and Korman responded by telling her to mind her own business.
Stunned, Burnett felt like the situation had gotten out of hand.
However, Burnett wasn’t going to give up. Despite hating the idea of confrontation, she knew it had to get resolved.
“It is not in my makeup to be confrontational, but I knew this situation called for it and I was going to have to step up,” she wrote.
Carol Burnett Channels Hollywood Icons Prior To Confrontation
This time, Burnett decided to channel Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck, two actors who knew how to handle their own in Hollywood.
“I conjured up Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford, women who were strong and spoke their minds. If I acted like them, I could stand up to Harvey,” she said.
After Korman disrespected Burnett and the guest stars, she decided to fire the actor from her show.
“That night, after the show, still conjuring up Stanwyck and Crawford, I knock on Harvey’s dressing room door,” she said.
While channeling Crawford’s no bs persona, she told Korman that he was done.
Korman was stunned and immediately changed his tune. He then promised he would never be rude to guests and be more respectful while on set.
Even though Burnett was initially afraid of the confrontation, it paid off in the long run. Korman kept his word, and they remained friends until he died in 2008.