NEW YORK (AP) – Sills and Burnett at the Met.

That was the name of a TV special that once joined Beverly Sills and Carol Burnett on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera – an unlikely pairing of a singer talking and a comedian singing that resulted in a friendship lasting three decades.

This week, the two stars were together again in public – this time to raise funds for multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the nervous system that afflicts Sills’ 45-year-old daughter, Meredith “Muffy” Greenough.

“She’s brave, kind, gentle and totally selfless,” Sills said of her daughter, a volunteer for MS causes across the country. “One of the things that separates the two-legged creatures from the four-legged ones is compassion.”

Guests for the event at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square included country music star Clay Walker, who was diagnosed with the illness nine years ago and keeps it in check with daily injections of Copaxone.

Burnett presented a Volunteer of the Year award to the one-time diva and arts administrator, who offers her time to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Said Burnett: “I’ve never had more fun than when I was in the sandbox with Bubbles,” Sills’ childhood nickname.

Added host Barbara Walters: “She can go from doing a duet with Placido Domingo to doing a duet with a Muppet.”

With Marvin Hamlisch at the keyboard, the evening organized by the MS society’s New York chapter raised $1 million for research, programs and services related to the disease, which affects about 400,000 people in the United States.


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