‘I Love Lucy’: What was Desi Arnaz’s Final Acting Role?

by Keeli Parkey

When you think about television icon Desi Arnaz, the picture you most likely have in your head is that of the husband of Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy.” You are probably picturing her doing something silly and he is reacting to that. He had many chances to react to her antics during the show’s beloved television run.

Interestingly, the last role of his career had nothing to do with the “I Love Lucy” universe.

Arnaz, of course, played the character of Ricky Ricardo, alongside his one-time wife Lucille Ball in that famous sitcom. Together, Arnaz and Ball gave television fans some of the most memorable moments in television history. She was the star. But he was no slouch. He was more than capable of entertaining people with both his musical, as well as his comedic talents.

Desi Arnaz appeared with Lucille Ball in “I Love Lucy” during its iconic television run. That original run took place from 1951 until 1957. It’s a television show that is still remembered to this day. And it is still making people laugh 60 years after it first aired on television.

While most of his career was centered around the “I Love Lucy” universe, as well as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” Desi Arnaz had other roles during his career. Let’s take a look at the final role he played.

That role came only a few years before his death at the age of 69 on Dec. 2, 1986. As fans are aware, Arnaz was born in Cuba. His birthday was March 2, 1917.

‘I Love Lucy’ Star Desi Arnaz Appeared in the Film ‘The Escape Artist’

The final acting role played by Desi Arnaz was in the film, “The Escape Artist.” That film was released in 1982. In it, the former “I Love Lucy” star played the character of Mayor Quiñones.

The plot of the film is: “The young and self-confident Danny bluffs at the local police station that he will escape out of prison within one hour. What follows is a flashback about his childhood with his uncle and aunt, which are ‘vaudeville’-artists themselves. We also follow the problems of Danny with the corrupt son of the mayor.”

The character played by Desi Arnaz was Mayor Quiñones. Also part of the cast was Raul Julia as Stu Quiñones. Actor Griffin O’Neal played the character of Danny Masters.

His work in “The Escape Artist” wasn’t the only acting job Desi Arnaz had in the decades after “I Love Lucy” originally aired. He also appeared in other television shows. One of these was “The Mothers-In-Law.” In this series, Arnaz appeared as the character Raphael Delgado.

Arnaz also appeared in the 1968 television movie “Land’s End.” He also had roles in television series such as “Alice,” “Ironside,” and “The Virginian.”