Don Saroyan: Everything About Carol Burnett’s First Husband

Don Saroyan is renowned as the first husband of the accomplished actress Carol Burnett.

Despite having dreams of becoming a Broadway producer and a celebrated actor, Don faced challenges in achieving widespread success in those pursuits. 

This article will delve into Don Saroyan’s personal life, his professional endeavors, his significant journey alongside Carol Burnett, and the details surrounding his passing.

Quick Bio

Full NameDon Saroyan
Famous AsCarol Burnett’s Ex-husband
Date of Birth4 October 1928
Place of BirthOmaha, Nebraska, USA
Date of Death24 November 1990
Place of DeathLos Angeles, USA
Age (At the time of Death )62
Zodiac SignLibra 
ParentsAnna Saroyan and Harvey Saroyan

Early Life and Family

Don Saroyan, born on October 4, 1928, in Omaha, Nebraska, faced a life marked by both triumphs and tragedies. 

Raised in Omaha as the son of Anna and Harvey Saroyan, Don’s early years were shaped by his parents’ ownership of a dry cleaning plant, later expanding to include a drive-through restaurant. 

Unfortunately, he experienced the loss of his brother shortly after birth, followed by the passing of his mother and, later in his twenties, his father Harvey.

At the age of 17, Don embarked on a new journey, marrying and relocating to Philadelphia. The couple welcomed a child, bringing joy to Don’s life. 

However, their marriage faced challenges, leading to divorce when they moved back to Omaha, with Don’s wife taking their child.

Determined to create a fresh start, Don ventured to Los Angeles, enrolling at the University of California. 

Here, he discovered a newfound passion for the world of theatre, particularly captivated by the enchantment of Broadway. 

His dream was to become a director in this celebrated realm of the performing arts.

Fate took an unexpected turn when Don found love with a woman named Carol, and they remarried. 

This union provided Don with renewed support and encouragement, empowering him to pursue his aspirations in the world of theatre.

Don Saroyan’s Ex-Wife: Carol Burnett

Carol Creighton Burnett, born on April 26, 1933, in San Antonio, Texas, is a legendary American comedian, actress, and singer. 

Her multifaceted talents have made her an enduring icon in the entertainment industry.

Don Saroyan’s Ex-Wife Carol Burnett

Burnett’s career soared to new heights in the 1960s with her groundbreaking variety show, “The Carol Burnett Show,” which aired from 1967 to 1978. 

The show, winning an impressive 25 Emmy Awards, served as a platform for showcasing Burnett’s comedic brilliance and her remarkable ability to portray various characters.

Her infectious laughter, genuine warmth, and relatability endeared her to millions of fans worldwide.

Notably, Burnett’s versatility extended beyond comedy; she demonstrated her musical prowess by singing alongside various vocalists on the show. 

Her performances showcased not only her comedic genius but also her talent as a singer.

Throughout her illustrious career, Burnett garnered numerous accolades, including multiple Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award. 

His Ex-Wife Career Journey

Her contributions to the entertainment industry have solidified her status as one of the most respected figures in show business.

Beyond her professional achievements, Burnett’s philanthropic efforts and dedication to causes close to her heart have further elevated her stature. 

Her commitment to making a positive impact on society has made her an inspiring role model for many.

His Ex-Wife Career Journey

In addition to her professional success, Burnett’s personal life, including her marriages and family dynamics, has been a subject of public interest. 

Despite the spotlight, she has navigated her personal life with grace and resilience.

As a recipient of prestigious honors such as the Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Carol Burnett’s legacy transcends her remarkable career. 

Her infectious laughter, genuine talent, and commitment to making the world a better place have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, solidifying her as a beloved and enduring icon.

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The Love Story of Don Saroyan and Carol Burnett

The love story between Don and Burnett blossomed during their college days when they formed a deep connection and fell deeply in love. 

Their relationship was evident to everyone around them, portraying the image of a perfect couple. 

One of the common dreams that drew them closer was their shared ambition to conquer Broadway.

In 1955, a pivotal year in their careers, Don and Burnett exchanged heartfelt vows, brimming with hope and promise for their future. 

However, their marital bliss would soon face challenges that tested the strength of their bond.

The beginning of the end of Don and Burnett’s marriage came with two significant factors. The first was the tragic loss of Don’s daughter from his previous marriage. 

The profound pain and grief from this devastating event strained their emotional connection, leaving lasting scars that proved challenging to heal. 

The couple faced the formidable task of supporting each other through such a heartbreaking loss.

The second factor revolved around their diverging professional paths. While Burnett’s career soared to new heights, Don encountered constant setbacks in his industry ambitions. 

The disparity in their achievements created an imbalance in their dynamic, fostering resentment and insecurities. 

Don’s struggle for success clashed with Burnett’s flourishing career, creating an insurmountable rift.

Despite the love that once defined their relationship, Don and Burnett found themselves engulfed in a storm of emotional turmoil, grief, and unrealized dreams. 

The weight of their struggles proved too much for their relationship to bear, ultimately leading to their separation.

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Don Saroyan’s Professional Career

Don Saroyan made a significant impact on the entertainment industry during his career, spanning from the 1960s to the 1980s. 

He left an enduring legacy with his notable contributions to both films and television shows. 

Saroyan showcased his acting prowess in various films, including memorable roles in “Blast of Silence” and “Decoy.”

In addition to his on-screen presence, Don ventured into behind-the-scenes roles, highlighting his versatility and skills in different aspects of production. 

Notably, he served as an associate producer in RCA’s “Opening Night” and took on the role of production coordinator in the acclaimed show “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

His involvement in these diverse positions underscored his multifaceted talent within the industry. 

Beyond acting, Don Saroyan’s television credits expanded to include roles such as Dick in “The Magical World of Disney” and Joseph Scarelli in “Airwolf,” showcasing his ability to portray a wide range of characters across various genres.

Don’s impact extended to the sound department of the film “Cuban Rebel Girls,” further emphasizing his diverse contributions to the world of entertainment. 

Through his talent and versatility, Don Saroyan left an indelible mark on the industry, cementing his place as a respected figure in both front-of-camera and behind-the-scenes roles.

Don Saroyan’s Children

Don Saroyan, the first husband of Carol Burnett, had three stepdaughters from his marriage to Carol Burnett. Their names are Carrie, Jody, and Erin Kate. 

Don Saroyan’s Children

Carrie Hamilton

Carrie Louise Hamilton, the firstborn daughter of television celebrities Burnett and Joe Hamilton entered the world on December 5, 1963. 

While her mother soared to fame with “The Carol Burnett Show,” Carrie wasn’t particularly drawn to the series. 

Her teenage years were marked by a challenging battle with addiction, a struggle she eventually triumphed over, achieving sobriety.

Despite the strains in their relationship, Carrie and Burnett reconciled, forming a close and meaningful bond. Carrie found her own success in the realms of music and acting. 

Tragically, her promising life was cut short when she succumbed to cancer-related pneumonia in 2002, at the tender age of 38.

In a poignant tribute to her daughter, Burnett chose to honor Carrie’s memory by continuing their collaborative play, “Hollywood Arms.” 

This decision not only celebrated their creative partnership but also became a poignant reminder of Carrie’s enduring influence on her mother’s life. 

Carrie Louise Hamilton’s presence has proven indelible in Burnett’s life. 

Despite her physical absence, their bond persists through subtle signs and poignant reminders, keeping the memory of Carrie alive and fostering a lasting connection that transcends time and space.

Jody Hamilton

Jody Hamilton, born on January 18, 1967, in Los Angeles, is the second child of Burnett and Hamilton. 

Her early years were marked by her parents’ divorce, during which Jody and her sister Erin were sent to live with friends in Hawaii. 

This decision aimed to shield them from the tumultuous dissolution of their parents’ marriage.

Jody forged her path in the entertainment industry, establishing herself as a film and TV producer. 

She co-founded the independent film company Namethkuf and gained recognition for producing a successful retrospective of her mother’s early career. 

Additionally, Jody has been co-hosting the podcast “From The Bunker” since 2014, showcasing her talents and insights.

Currently residing in Los Angeles, Jody shares her life with her husband, musician, and songwriter Lonny Paul Johnson. 

Through her achievements in the industry and her creative endeavors, Jody Hamilton has carved out her niche while maintaining strong ties to her family roots.

Erin Kate Hamilton

Erin Kate Hamilton, the youngest daughter of the famed duo Burnett and Hamilton, enjoyed a childhood immersed in the world of her superstar mother. 

Fond memories of visiting the set of her mom’s show shaped Erin’s early years.

Choosing a path of her own, Erin embarked on a music career, initially exploring jazz and blues bands before venturing into a solo career as a dance music artist. 

Her journey, however, was not without challenges, as she grappled with addiction. Despite these struggles, Erin has shown resilience and moments of recovery.

In 2020, faced with the complexities of life, Burnett and Miller took a significant step by seeking legal guardianship of Erin’s son, Dylan. 

This move aimed to provide support and stability during challenging times. 

Reflecting on her experiences as a mother, Burnett expressed gratitude for the present and the joy she brings to people’s lives through laughter.

Erin Kate Hamilton’s story is one of artistic exploration, personal triumphs, and familial support, all woven into the rich tapestry of the Burnett-Hamilton legacy.

Don Saroyan’s Death

Don Saroyan, the first husband of Carol Burnett, passed away on November 24, 1990, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 62. The cause of his death was not publicly revealed.