Lucille Ball’s Secretary Said TV Star Never Sought the Hollywood Limelight

by Anna Dunn
Portrait of Lucille Ball (Photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images)

In a recent interview, Lucille Ball’s former secretary discussed how the Hollywood icon never really sought out that limelight. This follows the buzz around the new Aaron Sorkin film, Being the Ricardos, which follows a week in the life of Lucille Ball and her then-husband, Desi Arnaz.

In a recent interview with Tulsa World, former secretary Wanda Clark said that she really didn’t enjoy the spotlight or a lot of the perks that came with being a Hollywood powerhouse. In fact, Ball wasn’t even much of a party person and had a much more reserved personality than one might guess.

“I mean, her best friends were people that would play backgammon with her,” Clark described. “She liked people and other celebrity associates, but she wasn’t a party girl. She didn’t enjoy going to parties. She was really kind of a quiet, calm person.”

Clark worked alongside Ball for years and still remains in touch with her grown children.

The new film Being The Ricardos seeks to set Lucille Ball apart from Lucy Ricardo, who she played on her show, I Love Lucy, for years. It’ll also take a look at her complex and often volatile relationship with Desi Arnaz, co-producer and co-star of the series. The two very publicly divorced in 1960.

They had their own production company together, Desilu productions until Desi stepped away from the company. Lucille ball was the first woman to have sole ownership of a Hollywood production company.

Nicole Kidman Plays Lucille Ball in the New Film

Nicole Kidman stars as Lucille Ball in the film. It’s a casting choice that some took issue with, but one that Lucille Ball’s own daughter fully supported. In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, Kidman described just how much work went into playing the Hollywood starlet.

“[It was a] crazy amount of hours fastidiously working on the physicality, on the voice, on the movements, just learning the words,” she said. To do this, she spent a lot of time really studying Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

“I studied them and learned them. It went into my body and my memory … was my obsession to get it absolutely accurate. It was his obsession to have this human being portrayed – what’s behind the creation of Lucy Ricardo and who is the woman behind this character,” she said.

Javier Bardem also stars in the film as Desi Arnaz. It’s another casting choice that the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz signed off on.

If you want to see Being the Ricardos for yourself, you can. The film has so far garnered fairly positive reviews. It’s available in select theatres now and will become widely available on Amazon Prime on December 21st.