Lucille Ball Didn’t Just Put Her Daughter on TV–Lucie Arnaz Had To Prove Herself To Her Mother First

Lucie Arnaz got her start professionally acting with her mother on The Lucy Show. But she wasn’t just handed a part. Lucille Ball made sure her daughter had chops before she let her on set with her.

Lucie Arnaz and Lucille Ball in 'Here's Lucy'
Lucie Arnaz and Lucille Ball in ‘Here’s Lucy’ | CBS via Getty Images

How Lucie Arnaz auditioned for Lucille Ball to get on ‘The Lucy Show’  

In an interview Arnaz did with the Television Academy Foundation in 2016, she said, when she was young, she never thought acting would be her full-time career.

“I had a very responsible side of me, too, even at that young age,” she said. “[Acting] was my fun and I always thought I would do something for a living, that I would have to go and get a real job someday. I still think that, by the way. But I toyed with veterinarian, nurse, all those things that women think they can do.”

But then a friend of hers suggested she go to a performing arts high school and the course of Arnaz’s life changed. There, she realized just how passionate she was about acting, and that she often received good feedback on her performances.

After seeing her daughter in several of her high school performances, Ball gave Arnaz a shot on The Lucy Show.

“My mother came to see the shows that I did and brought people and then, eventually, offered me some more opportunities to be on the show with various little parts here and there when it was The Lucy Show,” she said “And I got a little better and a little better, they were just tryouts. Like, give her a shot. How bad could she be? It was smart because I learned by doing.”

Lucie Arnaz’s first part on ‘The Lucy Show’ with mom Lucille Ball

The Lucy Show was Arnaz’s break into show business.

“I did my first debut as an actress was on that show,” she said. “I was 11, I think, and I played Chris’s friend, which is ridiculous because Chris was like 16 and I was 11. I look so grown-up in that show because I had my hair in a ponytail and bangs. I had about 10 lines and that was my Taft-Hartley into show business.”

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She describes her first day filming as “terrifying.”

“Oh my God. I mean, I had been to the set, watched them film these shows,” said Arnaz. “And even though I love getting up and performing, this is the real deal. The lights were on, the cameras were rolling.”

Additionally, Arnaz’s part involved having to catch sodas that were flung down a bar.

“I had to catch sodas that she rolled down the bar at about 50 miles an hour,” she said. “And I had to catch them and put them on a tray, and catch them and put them on a tray. And I thought, ‘Oh I’m gonna drop this and they’ll never hire me for anything again.’ But I didn’t drop ‘em.”

Lucie Arnaz went on to play several more characters on ‘The Lucy Show’

Arnaz wasn’t just one part on The Lucy Show, she played different people throughout the show’s run.

“For a while, when I was little, I played that one character, Cynthia. I was Chris’s friend Cynthia. And then I got a little older and I was high school age and each time I was on I was a different character,” she said.

One time, Arnaz even played a friend of her mother’s.

“She wasn’t my mother then,” said Arnaz. “I was a friend of Lucy Carmichael’s, and I have my hair all up in a bun and I make like I was in my late twenties–ridiculous!”

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