Carol Burnett has some advice for aspiring actors: Be yourself.

"Don't try and fill my shoes," she said. "I remember once, I was working with Lucille Ball and this young girl came up to her and said, `I want to be the second Lucille Ball.' Lucille just looked at her and said, `Honey, why? Then you'll always be second.' "Burnett, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., is volunteering as an acting coach for a College of Santa Fe production of "Once Upon a Mattress."

She set the cast at ease with a story about her first encounter with her idol, Jimmy Stewart, in 1958.

"I knew he wanted to go to lunch, so I turned around and stepped off this platform and right into a bucket of whitewash. I never looked back. I just kept on walking, dragging this bucket along with me, pretending I did it on purpose."