Lucille Ball’s Daughter Reflected on Putting on ‘Plays’ With Mother at Home

by Allison Hambrick

Lucie Arnaz, daughter of I Love Lucy icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, once revealed how she and her mother played make believe. In an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, Arnaz discussed her childhood being raised by two television superstars.

“You should have seen the little theater I had–you would have loved it,” explained Arnaz. “It was such fun. We had a garage that my mother wasn’t using because this house had two garages. We only used one, right? I mean, how many garages can you use? I asked her if we could turn it into a theater, just a little basic. And she had the guy come over from the studio. I guess I could say this was the only thing different from being a regular kid because we wanted to put on plays, and so she built a stage and little dressing rooms on each side, which really just meant a chair and a table and a curtain in front of it. [We had] a little microphone system with one little speaker, and we had a little box office she put out front.

“We sold nickel tickets and tried to put on a lot of plays, but going to school and everything got in the way,” she continued. “We put on Bye Bye Birdie, and I played Ann Margret. I wore my hair parted so it hung in my eyes. I was 11 at the time. You couldn’t imagine how funny that was.”

When asked how much she remembered from the show, Lucille Ball’s daughter teased her past self for a campy performance. After all, how else would you expect a child to play the iconic role?

“Oh my god. All I remember is that when she used to stand like that, she always used to wear those ruffled skirts, you know.” Arnaz then did a humorous impression of the character’s singing. The actress revealed that someone in the crowd actually booed her.

Lucille Ball’s Daughter Didn’t View Her Parents as Famous

Additionally, Arnaz revealed more about her childhood in the same interview. The daughter of Lucille Ball explained how she mostly grew to care about her parents’ fame with age. Her entire childhood was spent around celebrities, so it never felt out of the ordinary. In fact, she was a teenager before she cared about the glamour associated with her parents being actors.

“When I grew up… when I was about 13, that was the age when you scream and go ‘Oh it’s you!’” Arnaz explained. “But that… that’s when I really went crazy and all of a sudden I wanted them to introduce me to everybody.” 

Prior to that, she never had a strong concept of being starstruck. Arnaz didn’t get why her parents were considered so famous.

“Other kids parents who were kids of famous stars,” Lucille Ball’s daughter said. “They had parents that were stars, my parents weren’t stars. I didn’t understand why people were yelling… that was my mother and father, mommy and daddy.”

As a child, Arnaz revealed that she was a celebrity “only on the outside. On the inside, [she] had a little dog, went to school, and went to the movies like everybody else.”