Burnett was born to parents Ina Louise and Joseph Thomas Burnett in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933. As a young child, her parents fell prey to alcoholism so she moved to Los Angeles to be raised by her grandmother.
The comedienne and television star spent much of her adolescence living in a small studio apartment in Hollywood, where her grandma would take her to the movies as a weekly treat.
When it was time for Burnett to head to college, she decided to pursue journalism at UCLA, but discovered she had a passion for the stage while taking up theater classes on the side. Her transition from news to the arts would eventually lead her to trail blaze a vibrant television career that has now spanned seven decades.
Here are Burnett and her sister in 1959, listening to records on the floor of the star's apartment in N.Y.C., where she moved near the end of her time at UCLA to pursue acting.
The highly successful series consisted of several skits performed by Burnett and her co-stars. Many of the episodes featured famous guests, including Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jonathan Winters, Lucille Ball, Diahann Carroll, Cher and Sonny Bono.