Why ‘I Love Lucy’ Wasn’t Called ‘I Love Lucille,’ According to Desi Arnaz

I Love Lucy has been a presence in many homes for decades. When you hear the name of the show, the first thing you likely think of is Lucille Ball with her bright, red hair and hilarious facial expressions. Here’s the interesting reason I Love Lucy wasn’t named I Love Lucille, according to Desi Arnaz.

‘I Love Lucy’ was a hit for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball holding a phone
Lucille Bal | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

I Love Lucy aired from 1951 to 1957. Ball played the role of Lucy Ricardo and Arnaz played the role of Ricky Ricardo. Their TV neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz, were played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

Ball and Arnaz got a lot of attention because they were an interracial couple on television. I Love Lucy also caused a stir by showing a pregnant woman on TV. The duo almost ended I Love Lucy after they received baby news. During that time, it was considered controversial for a visibly pregnant woman to be on TV. Even saying the word “pregnant” on television was forbidden.

Why ‘I Love Lucy’ wasn’t called ‘I Love Lucille’

When Arnaz and Ball first met, he called her Miss Ball, but she told him to call her Lucille. According to his book, A Book, Ball jokingly said she would call him “Dizzy.” As they grew more familiar, Arnaz changed how he addressed Ball.

Arnaz later explained why the show was called I Love Lucy. He says he didn’t like the name Lucille because other men before him called her by that name. He preferred to call her Lucy instead.

“I had started calling her Lucy shortly after we met; I didn’t like the name Lucille,” wrote Arnaz. “That name had been used by other men. ‘Lucy’ was mine alone. That’s how eventually our television show was called I Love Lucy, not I Love Lucille.”

Lucille Ball was the star of ‘I Love Lucy,’ according to the producer

Jess Oppenheimer, the producer and head writer of I Love Lucy, said the show wouldn’t be the same without Ball. He considered her the star of the show. “The entire project rode on the talent of one woman,” wrote Oppenheimer in his book Laughs, Luck, and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time. “In every sense, she was a star,” he added.

Oppenheimer said Ball accurately interpreted the script every time. According to him, she consistently gave a stellar performance and brought the script to life exactly as he had imagined it. He said every week, “she kept astounding us.”

Oppenheimer went on to say the audience was so mesmerized by Ball that they would forget she was acting. To them, she really was Lucy Ricardo. They were sitting in her living room and watching her life with Ricky Ricardo. Said Oppenheimer, “If you looked carefully, you would marvel that every fiber in the woman’s body was contributing to the illusion.”

RELATED: Lucille Ball Said She and Desi Arnaz ‘Never Really Liked Each Other’

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