The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz, opened up in a 1971 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. According to Arnaz, her parents’s fame didn’t impact her childhood as much as one might think.
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.”
“Other kids parents who were kids of famous stars,” she continued. “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.”
In fact, she was a teenager before she cared about the buzz surrounding her parents being Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Prior to that, Arnaz didn’t get think of them as icons, and that extended to their friends.
“When I grew up… when I was about 13, that was the age when you scream and go ‘Oh it’s you!’” Arnaz said. “But that… that’s when I really went crazy and all of a sudden I wanted them to introduce me to everybody. I never got to meet Paul Newman or Marlon Brando or anybody.”
When asked which celebrities she did meet, Arnaz responded “Mary Wickes and Wally Cox,” with a laugh. Lucille Ball’s daughter then elaborated that “you get used to it” when being around celebrities all the time is normal.
Lucille Ball Encouraged Her Children by Putting on Plays
Additionally, Arnaz discussed one of the many ways Lucille Ball encouraged her creativity. The I Love Lucy icon enjoyed encouraging both Arnaz and her brother to take up hobbies.
“We had a garage that my mother wasn’t using because this house had two garages,” revealed Arnaz. “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.
While it is true that most children don’t have an actual stage in their home, playing make believe is part of being young. Most of us remember a time we loved being imaginative. It’s incredibly special when those moments are shared with parents, even if you find them embarrassing the older you get.
“We sold nickel tickets and tried to put on a lot of plays, but going to school and everything got in the way,” Arnaz 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.”