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|Born||Carrie Louise Hamilton
December 5, 1963
New York City, U.S.
|Died||January 20, 2002
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Lung and brain cancer|
|Burial place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Pepperdine University|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, playwright|
|Relatives||Erin Hamilton (sister)|
Hamilton worked in a number of productions for stage, film, video, and television. She took the role of Reggie Higgins in the TV version of the musical Fame for the fifth and sixth seasons (1985–1987), and portrayed the role of Maureen Johnson in the first national tour of the stage musical Rent to considerable acclaim. She also studied music and acting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
One of her films was Tokyo Pop (1988), in which she played an American singer who journeys to Japan. There she found a relationship with both a singer (played by Diamond Yukai aka Yutaka Tadokoro) and a band that made it into the Tokyo pop charts Top Ten. She performed several songs in the film.
Hamilton occasionally appeared with her mother on film. In 1987, Burnett guest starred in an episode of Fame entitled "Reggie and Rose". They costarred in a 1988 TV movie titled Hostage. Nine years later, they also starred on an episode of Touched by an Angel entitled "The Comeback". Hamilton played an aspiring Broadway star whose mother (Burnett) had also made a run for Broadway fame but failed (thanks to a dirty trick on the part of her conniving best friend, played by Rita Moreno).
In 1999, Hamilton starred in a popular sixth season episode of The X-Files, entitled "Monday". She played the role of Pam, the girlfriend of a would-be bank robber who is forced to relive the same day over and over.
Hamilton was the inspiration for the 1983 hit single "Carrie's Gone" (#79, Billboard), written by former boyfriend Fergie Frederiksen and recorded by his band, Le Roux, after they broke up. The 12-year age difference (Carrie was 19 and Fergie was 31 at the time) was cited as the main reason for the break-up.
Hamilton died from lung cancer that spread to her brain in Los Angeles on January 20, 2002 at age 38, and is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. She started smoking cigarettes in her early teens, which also led to a three-year period of heavy drug and alcohol abuse that she successfully overcame by the time she was fifteen. Except for a brief relapse at seventeen, she remained drug and alcohol free for the remainder of her life.
Hamilton was survived by her mother, 7 sisters, Kathi, Dana, Judi, Jennifer, Nancy, Jody and Erin; and brother, John Hamilton. Her father, Joe Hamilton, died in 1991, her brother, Joe, died in 1994 and her brother, Jeffrey, died in 1997.
In July 2006, the former Balcony Theatre of the Pasadena Playhouse was rededicated as the Carrie Hamilton Theatre in Hamilton's memory (Burnett is a board member). It hosts a series of readings called "Hothouse at the Playhouse", as well as the Directors Lab West and the Furious Theatre Company. On February 19, 2007, architect Frank Gehry was announced to be redesigning the Carrie Hamilton Theatre.
On March 23, 2010, Carol Burnett joined the establishment of the Anaheim University Carrie Hamilton Entertainment Institute. She signed a citation establishing the institute with Anaheim University Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Nunan, prior to answering questions regarding Hamilton and the Carrie Hamilton Entertainment Institute during a Q&A session with moderator Darrell Nelson. She concluded the Q&A by reading the following quote from Hamilton:
"ABOUT ART...The legacy is really the lives we touch, the inspiration we give, altering someone's plan -- if even for a moment, and getting them to think, rage, cry, laugh, argue...walk around the block, dazed...(I do that a lot after seeing powerful theater!) More than anything, we are remembered for our smiles; the ones we share with our closest and dearest, and the ones we bestow on a total stranger, who needed it then, and God put you there to deliver."
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