‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball’s Daughter Says Her Mother ‘Did Not Have a Great Business Mind’

Lucille Ball is remembered most of all for her hilarious, larger-than-life character, Lucy, of I Love Lucy. It was also often thought that Ball was a great business person in the world of entertainment, in addition to being a talented character actor. But her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, says that wasn’t actually the case.

Lucille Ball In 'I Love Lucy'
Lucille Ball | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Lucille Ball did not like the business side of entertainment

According to Arnaz, her mother “did not have a great business mind” and she “didn’t want one.”

“[Lucille Ball] was not interested in that end of it at all. She wanted to play in the sandbox, period,” Arnaz told Yahoo Entertainment. “She wanted to go to work and play those characters and have fun and do shows.”

Because Ball went on to become the sole owner of Desilu Productions (which was responsible for producing some of the most popular shows of the time) after she divorced Desi Arnaz, she’s often seen as a hugely successful business person.

Lucy Arnaz yelling at a crowd with a megaphone during an employee picnic
Lucille Ball | Leonard McCombe/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

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“So she gets a lot of credit for being the first woman this, the first woman that, the big businesswoman… but she did not like to do that,” Arnaz says. “And she wasn’t particularly good at it.”

What Ball was good at, “was instincts,” says her daughter.

“She had great instincts, so once in a while she made a couple of calls that were pretty brilliant, like, ‘No, don’t cancel Star Trek. No, I think Mission: Impossible is fun, let’s leave it on.’ You know? Those were smart calls, but it wasn’t what I would call business sense, and she did not enjoy that at all,” she said.

Lucie says her father, Desi Arnaz, ‘was a great business mind’

“My father was a great business mind and he ran the studio and [Lucille Ball] was never happier than when she could rely on that,” said Lucie.

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Lucie feels she inherited a “great business sense” from her father.

“I think I’m a pretty good business person, actually, because I think like he does,” she told the Television Academy Foundation. “If you don’t know, ask. And there are no stupid questions. Hire the right people and let them do their job. He also used to say, ‘If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything,’ which sounds ridiculous but it’s actually served me very well in my life. He was very practical in that sense.”

Lucille Ball ran her home like a business

While Ball might not have enjoyed the business side of her work, Lucie says her mother very much ran her home like a business.

“She played a very funny person in her show, very crazy, outrageous person, and all my friends used to think my mother was really like that,” said Arnaz. ”But, at home, of course, she wasn’t like that at all. She was very responsible, took care of business. She worried a lot about her household, whether the kids were being taken care of, if the garage was being cleaned out, homework was being done. She fashioned herself as a homemaker of sorts.”

Lucille Ball with Her Son and Daughter
Lucie Arnaz, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz Jr. | Bettmann

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Lucie thinks she turned out like her mother in that way–”very responsible.”

“I think I have my mother’s responsibility,” she said. “She was a list-maker–check off the list and get this done and think ahead and very responsible. I’m like that, too, to a fault.”