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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 17:25 GMT
Comedian Burnett sues Family Guy
Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett's show won 22 Emmy awards
US comedian Carol Burnett has begun legal action against the makers of hit cartoon series Family Guy for using her cleaning woman character in the show.

Burnett, 73, is suing the irreverent show's makers for $2m for copyright infringement after they did not ask permission to use her character.

Burnett also alleges that 20th Century Fox violated her publicity rights.

The company said it was surprised by the action over such a short scene.

"Family Guy, like The Carol Burnett Show, is famous for its pop culture parodies and satirical jabs at celebrities," said Chris Alexander, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television.

"We are surprised that Ms Burnett, who has made a career of spoofing others on television, would go so far as to sue Family Guy for a simple bit of comedy."

In the Family Guy episode, the cleaning lady Charwoman is seen as a maid in a porn shop.

Legal papers filed for Burnett also say the cartoon used an "altered version" of Burnett's theme music.

In addition, the characters in the show are seen giving their ears Burnett's hallmark ear tug.

The Carol Burnett Show ran on CBS from 1967 to 1978. It was an instant hit and went on to win 22 Emmy awards.

Burnett was best known for her "Tarzan" yell and for ending each show by tugging her ear, which was a personal message to her grandmother.

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