For over a decade, Carol Burnett ended her show, "The Carol Burnett Show," with an emotional farewell and an ear tug.
However, the audiences didn't know the heartwarming meaning when the comedic legend pulled her left earlobe at the end of her closing song, "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together."
She was acknowledged as "one of America's most cherished entertainers" and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
According to Biography, Burnett was also sending a message to her grandmother Mabel White, also known as Nanny.
"My grandmother raised me out here in Hollywood. When I got my first job back in New York, I called her and I said 'Nanny, I'm going to be on television Saturday morning.' She said, 'Well, you gotta say hello to me.' We figured this out — to pull my ear — and that was my signal to her," Burnett explained.
"It always meant 'Hi Nanny. I'm fine. I love you.' Later it meant, 'Hi Nanny. I'm fine. I love you. Your check's on the way.'"
Burnett, who was born on April 26, 1933, in San Antonio, Texas, had a tough childhood. Both of her parents were alcoholics, and at a young age, she was left with her grandma.
In the late 1930s, Burnett's parents divorced. She and her grandmother moved to an apartment in an impoverished area of Hollywood, California, where she attended Hollywood High School and eventually studied theater and musical comedy at UCLA.
Burnett later performed in nightclubs in New York City and had a breakout success on Broadway in 1959. She soon made her television debut, regularly showing up on "The Garry Moore Show" for the following three years.
Burnett then moved to Los Angeles, California, where she started an 11-year run as star of "The Carol Burnett Show" on CBS television from 1967 to 1978.
After her variety show, Burnett starred in numerous TV and movie projects. In 2005, she was acknowledged as "one of America's most cherished entertainers" and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In January 2019, the Golden Globe Awards honored her as the winner of the first-ever "Carol Burnett" Award.