Joe Hamilton; Producer of ‘Carol Burnett Show’


Joe Hamilton, who gave new meaning to the phrase “successful television producer,” has died of cancer at his Brentwood home.

A spokesman for his production company said Tuesday that Hamilton was 62 when he died Sunday of cancer.

The former husband of Carol Burnett and father of 11 children, three of them from that marriage, won five Emmys during his relatively brief but productive career. He received 20 other Emmy nominations.

Three of his Emmys were for his former wife’s critically acclaimed “The Carol Burnett Show,” which came to TV in 1967 at a time when variety shows were on the wane but went on to triumph over the next 12 seasons.


The show’s success was credited with the bonding of such actors as Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence who appeared for most of the show’s lengthy run.

Joseph Henry Hamilton, born in Los Angeles, was a product of local Roman Catholic schools who had intended to become a singer.

He was accepted into the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music after serving in the Navy and joined the vocal group Skylarks.

They sang on the old 15-minute “Dinah Shore Show” in the 1950s, whetting Hamilton’s appetite for the TV industry.

He was 29 when he became producer of “The Garry Moore Show,” which brought him the first of his Emmys in 1962.

Hamilton formed a succession of production companies and won his second Emmy for “Julie (Andrews) and Carol at Carnegie Hall,” which he also directed.

His other three Emmys were as executive producer of Burnett’s variety shows between 1971 and 1974.

Additional specials included “Once Upon a Mattress” and “6 Rooms Riv Vu.”


In 1976, he produced "(Beverly) Sills and Burnett at the Met” and in 1980 became executive producer of “The Tim Conway Show,” which ran through the 1981 season.

He did a special spinoff called “Eunice,” which starred Burnett and Lawrence reprising their characters from the earlier variety show, and in 1981 began the first of the “Mama’s Family” series.

In the late 1970s, he and Burnett were widely praised for their openness in dealing with the drug problems of their daughter, Carrie. But in 1982, they separated, Burnett saying at the time that those problems were “driving a wedge into my marriage.”

Besides his children, Hamilton’s survivors include his third wife, Sandra, 11 grandchildren and two sisters.