Carol Burnett

Award-Winning Actress, Comedian, Singer and Writer

Carol Burnett, mother of Tokyo Pop star, Carrie Hamilton, is an award-winning American actress, comedian, singer, and writer. The Carol Burnett Show was one of the longest-running variety shows in television history and at the time was one of the only variety shows with a female star. Her exceptional talent and quick wit have made her a beloved figure in the entertainment industry for over six decades. Throughout her illustrious career, Carol Burnett has amassed a multitude of honors and accolades, including six Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, a Grammy Award, and seven Golden Globe Awards. In 2005, she was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in recognition of her remarkable achievements. In 2013, she was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an esteemed accolade celebrating individuals who have made significant contributions to American comedy. Furthermore, in 2015, the Screen Actors Guild acknowledged her outstanding career by presenting her with the Life Achievement Award and in 2019, the Golden Globes named an award after her for career achievement in television, the Carol Burnett Award, with Carol receiving the first award. On April 26, 2023, she was honored with an NBC special Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love celebrating her 90th birthday. Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Burnett's journey to stardom began in the 1950s when she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. She gained recognition for her appearances on various television shows, including "The Garry Moore Show," where her comedic skills and ability to portray a wide range of characters quickly captivated audiences. In 1967, Burnett launched her own highly successful variety series, "The Carol Burnett Show," which became one of the most beloved and longest-running shows in television history. The show, which ran for 11 years, featured a mix of sketch comedy, musical numbers, and memorable characters. Burnett's brilliant comedic timing, improvisational skills, and infectious laughter endeared her to millions of viewers worldwide. Carol Burnett has also excelled on the stage and in film. She received critical acclaim for her performances in Broadway productions such as "Once Upon a Mattress" and "Moon Over Buffalo," as well as her film roles in "The Four Seasons" and "Annie.” Her extraordinary talent, versatility, and genuine charm have solidified her as one of the greatest comedic legends of all time, and her legacy will undoubtedly continue to shine brightly for years to come.

Fran Rubel Kuzui

Director, Co-Writer

Fran Rubel Kuzui has made a home for herself in every conceivable corner of the film world as a director, writer, producer, and distributor. After receiving an MA in film from New York University she was an Associate Producer at PBS and then worked as a Script Supervisor out of New York for over ten years. Fran first entered the spotlight by writing and directing the film Tokyo Pop, one of the hits of the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. She went on to direct Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Twentieth Century Fox, a critical and box office success that generated the popular Fox TV series of the same name, which she packaged and then worked on as an Executive Producer. She was also an Executive Producer on the Buffy spin-off Angel. For twenty-five years Fran was also Co-President of Kuzui Enterprises with her husband Kaz Kuzui, distributing independent and art films in Japan. Kuzui Enterprises is credited with revolutionizing the marketing and distribution of independent film in Japan. During that time, she and Kaz brought a group of artists, break-dancers, and rap singers to Japan and are considered the “Grandparents” of Hip Hop culture in Japan. They later partnered with legendary graffiti artist Keith Haring to open Pop Shop Tokyo and won a Tokyo Chamber of Commerce award for best new store selling his goods. Continuing her tradition of choosing breakthrough, timely material, Fran produced South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s first film, Orgazmo, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. After that she actively developed and financed material as both a producer and executive producer. Fran has attempted to “retire” several times, but it has never worked out. She was a festival panelist and mentor for the Sundance Institute for many years and continues mentoring young filmmakers in both the United States and Japan. She now works as a journalist and is a contributing writer for Nikkei Asia.

Bob Gruen


Bob GruenBob Gruen, who was the official stills photographer for the 1988 film Tokyo Pop, is one of the best-known and respected photographers in the rock and roll industry. By the mid-1970s, he was regarded as one of the most prominent documenters of the music scene. Throughout his career, Bob Gruen has worked with major artists such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Elton John, KISS, Aerosmith, David Bowie, and Alice Cooper. He has also covered emerging new wave and punk bands, including the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and Blondie. Shortly after John Lennon moved to New York in 1971, Bob became John and Yoko’s personal photographer and friend, making photos of their working life as well as private moments. In 1974 he created the iconic images of John Lennon wearing a New York City t-shirt and standing in front of the Statue of Liberty making the peace sign – two of the most popular of Lennon’s images. As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the ’70s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands. In 1989, he documented the epic trip to Russia of the “Moscow Music Peace Festival” featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi. For many years Bob was the official photographer for the New Music Seminar held in New York City, covering dozens of aspiring new bands in the course of a summer week. This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists. His wealth of personal experiences and uncanny memory provide the most illuminating and comprehensive histories of rock youth culture. In the spring of 2007 FAAP University in Sao Paulo, Brazil, presented an exhibition of Bob Gruen’s work. Titled ROCKERS, the exhibition attracted 40,000 visitors. The ROCKERS exhibition was also shown from April to July 2008 at Morrison Hotel Gallery on the Bowery in New York City. Bob was presented in June 2004 with MOJO Magazine’s prestigious Honours List Award for Classic Image in London and in November 2010 he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. For his many charitable contributions, Bob received the first ever John Lennon Real Love Award in December 2014 at the 32nd Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert.

Diamond YukaiYutaka Tadakoro (Diamond Yukai)

Singer, actor and television celebrity

Yutaka Tadokoro (known professionally as Diamond Yukai) made his acting debut with Tokyo Pop as an aspiring rock ’n’ roll singer. At the time he was ranked as one of Japan's newest rock stars with his band, Red Warriors. The grandson of one of Japan's famous Noh acting teachers, Yutaka was born in Omiya City in Saitama Prefecture. With no formal musical training, he organized a series of amateur bands throughout high school, but could not keep one together for more than three months. In February 1985, he helped form the Red Warriors, and they made their recording debut in October of 1986 with Yutaka as lead singer. Following his role in Tokyo Pop, Yutaka has continued to act occasionally, appearing in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation as well as on television variety shows in Japan.

Ava August Ava August

Youngest contestant on American Idol and The Voice

Ava August is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Southern California. Ava achieved international fame after appearing on two nationally televised singing competitions while being the youngest person ever to appear on each show (American Idol and The Voice). She received the Golden Ticket during the American Idol Audition Round and advanced to become a Top Ten Finalist on American Idol. Ava August has performed before sold-out crowds at professional sporting venues in Los Angeles including The Los Angeles Rams, The Lakers, Dodgers, LA Kings, LA Angels and LA Galaxy.