Carol Burnett 'Burst Into Tears' Over Sweet Way Laura Dern, Jayme Lemons Surprised Her with Handprint Ceremony (Exclusive)

The legendary comic got her hands and footprints cemented in Hollywood on June 20, telling PEOPLE she was "gobsmacked" by Dern and Lemons' sweet gesture to make it happen

<p>Eric Charbonneau/Getty</p> Jayme Lemons (left), Carol Burnett (center) and Laura Dern at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

Eric Charbonneau/Getty

Jayme Lemons (left), Carol Burnett (center) and Laura Dern at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

Carol Burnett couldn’t have been more surprised when Laura Dern and Jayme Lemons arranged for the legendary comic to get her hands and footprints cemented at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE following Burnett's ceremony on Thursday, June 20, Dern and Lemons recalled how the special event came to be.

The ball first started rolling when Lemons said she and Dern realized Burnett had not yet been honored at the TCL Chinese Theater, which stopped them in their tracks.

"I was like, wait a minute. What? I did not believe it," Lemons recalled. "So, we checked. I don't think that the Chamber of Commerce, I don't think that TLC Chinese folks really believed it either. They checked and everyone was just immediately set in motion. I mean, we called Apple TV Plus, and Rita Cooper Lee was essentially like, 'Give me five minutes,' and literally within moments called back and the TLC Chinese said, name a day, and we chose June 20th and here we are."

Noting how Burnett often travels with a business card that contains her go-to martini recipe on it and a little caricature of herself to give to bartenders, Dern and Lemons said they leaned into that concept to then surprise Burnett.

Related: Carol Burnett Has 'Full Circle' Moment at Handprint Ceremony in Same Theater She Stole Toilet Paper from as a Kid

<p>Eric Charbonneau/Getty</p> Carol Burnett at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

Eric Charbonneau/Getty

Carol Burnett at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

“I said, 'We made up this card, because you've inspired us so much as producers and everything you've done,’” Dern explained, adding, “She takes it, and she's like, 'Wait, what?' And it was her card with her likeness, but she's standing in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater with a little hand and a cement truck pulling up."

Burnett was understandably confused, as Dern recalled her asking, "'What's going on? And what is this? This is so cute. This was my favorite place with my grandma, that's so funny you guys would know that,' and then we told her."

Upon hearing the news, Lemons said the Palm Royale star “burst into tears.”

Burnett, for her part, acknowledged to PEOPLE that she was “gobsmacked” by the gesture.

“After all these years, as I said, when I was a little girl … I was 10 or 11 years old, and I would put my handprints on Betty Grable's hands,” Burnett recalled. “Now they have mine 80 years later. Who knew? So when I put my hands down there today, I went back to Betty Grable. … All of a sudden I was a little girl again, putting my hands on Betty Grable's prints.”

Related: Carol Burnett's Life in Photos

<p>Eric Charbonneau/Getty</p> Jayme Lemons, Carol Burnett and Laura Dern at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

Eric Charbonneau/Getty

Jayme Lemons, Carol Burnett and Laura Dern at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California in June 2024.

In addition to Dern and Lemons, other guests who attended the event included Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Dick Van Dyke, who appeared on The Carol Burnett show, Allison Janney, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Lisa Ann Walter, Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Kimmel, who spoke in her honor.

Recruiting such a star-studded list of guests was easy, given Burnett’s iconic status in Hollywood, which includes six Emmys, six Golden Globes, one Grammy and a Kennedy Center honor.

“It's incredible, and you call, you tell Maya Rudolph this is happening, and she's like, 'When is it? I'm coming!'” Lemons said.

Related: Carol Burnett Reunites with Dick Van Dyke While Being Honored at Her Handprint Ceremony

Organizing this milestone for Burnett and her decades-long career was also a highlight for Dern and Lemons, who worked with her for the Apple TV+ series Palm Royale, which has since been renewed for a second season.

“It's just such a reminder, as we all get a little comfortable, not wanting to push boundaries or hurt feelings or all the things that, you know, or stay in our lane,” Dern said. “Like she breaks boundaries every day. Even with her professionalism, literally, there wasn't a time any of us walked on set where Carol wasn't already in her chair lines memorized, waiting for cameras.”

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Lemons added that Burnett, for all her accomplishments and accolades, remains a “class” act.

“She takes it all with such grace and elegance,” she addded. “She's everything that you would want Carol Burnett to be. She's exactly that.”

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