The Time Lucille Ball’s Daughter Felt She Was ‘Ripped Away’ From Her Father, Desi Arnaz
The legendary sitcom I Love Lucy catapulted husband-and-wife team Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball to stardom. Divorcing after 20 years of marriage, the two continued their business partnership and co-parented their two children, Lucie and Desi Jr.
Yet Lucie remembered a difficult time when her mother landed a theater role and had to uproot the family away from everyone, including her dad.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were opposites
Ball and Arnaz’s daughter recalled her mother’s practicality in every day life and how she was always the consummate professional.
“She was very focused on, ‘Take care of yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on before anybody else,'” Lucie recalled to Good Morning America. “And [she gave] very practical advice like, ‘Never leave your luggage.’ … As far as the stuff that she didn’t actually say that you sort of pick up by osmosis … ‘Don’t come in whining. Know your lines. Be a team player. Don’t blame other people for what you didn’t do right.'”
Lucie commented on the sharp difference in her father’s approach to life and work.
“My father [would say], ‘Let’s have a fiesta,'” Lucie recalled. “‘Let’s cook and let’s have a good time.’ He trusted people, he hired the right people and let them do their job. He wasn’t a micromanager. He was the best deal maker in the world. I loved watching him do business.”
‘I Love Lucy’ star hits the stage
When Ball landed a role in the Broadway play Wildcat following her divorce from Arnaz, she had to relocate to New York from Hollywood with her two kids. While Ball was thrilled with the opportunity, her daughter was devastated that she would have to leave her dad.
“It was very traumatic, leaving my friends, being ripped away from my father,” Lucie recalled in the book Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz by authors Coyne Steven Sanders and Tom Gilbert. “I only remember those New York months as gray. The trees were gray, the sky was gray, the buildings were gray.”
The superstar couple’s daughter resented being driven everywhere in a limousine, where she felt too conspicuous to other kids.
“I had this thing about limousines,” Lucie revealed. “I didn’t want to be dropped off at school, or picked up from school, in a limousine, I used to make them meet me way down at the other side of the street – I don’t remember getting any other way to drive around, so I guess my mother just ignored it. And I just had to ride in the limousine, kicking and screaming.”
Lucie Arnaz wanted to be ‘ordinary’
Living in the spotlight for years because of her famous parents, Lucie found herself fantasizing of being just an everyday kid.
“I always wanted to be normal,” she said. “I didn’t want to ride in the limo or grow up with flashbulbs in my face.”
With a growing distaste for stardom, Lucie had no aspirations of getting into the family business.
“No one could be more famous than my parents,” Lucie remarked. “I didn’t dream about being a star – I dreamed about being ordinary, having peace in my life.”