Lucille Ball’s Secretary Wanda Clark Describes Working With Star as a ‘Fairy Tale’

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Imagine working as the secretary and personal assistant for 28 years to Lucille Ball. What would you call it? Well, Wanda Clark has an idea.

Clark, who was that person that worked for Ball, talked about those years. Recently, she hopped on a Zoom call with comedian Amy Poehler as excitement has grown over the movie Being the Ricardos starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.

In a story published by the Tulsa World newspaper, Clark says those years were, in her words, a “fairy tale.”

Clark, who is living in retirement at Grand Lake, Okla., said she remains close with Ball’s children. In fact, Lucie Arnaz and her husband Lawrence Luckinbill have visited Clark before. Ball’s other child is Desi Arnaz Jr. 

Poehler is directing a “Lucy & Desi” documentary for Ron Howard and his Imagine Entertainment.

Kidman portrays Lucille Ball while Bardem plays Desi Arnaz in the Aaron Sorkin film. It looks at the relationship between Ball and Arnaz as husband-and-wife. But their interactions also include I Love Lucy, where both became recognized for their talents.

Ball and Arnaz would remain married, albeit there were troubles, until 1960. After the sitcom ended, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour appeared on CBS in 1957. Yes, Ball and Arnaz kept playing Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, respectively. Vivian Vance and William Frawley also played their Ethel and Fred Mertz characters, too.

The popular couple did not stay together after the hour-long show ended its run. Ball filed for divorce and received it in 1960. She also gained ownership of Desilu Productions, which not only did I Love Lucy but other shows like The Untouchables.

Lucille Ball Never Really Gook All of Her Success For Granted

While it might be easy to just take her success for granted, Lucille Ball never did so.

Ball talked about her career, both early days and future success when she appeared on The Dick Cavett Show back in 1971.

Her comments are made not only to Cavett but to comedian Carol Burnett and Ball’s daughter Lucie. They also were a part of the Cavett guest list.

“I was so grateful to be any part of the business that I was unaware of anything else.” Ball said. “I was a part of it, I didn’t care what I did. They never had to ask me twice to do anything … I love being a part of it. I’m getting an award Thursday night that is probably the biggest thrill that anyone could have.”

What, though, meant more than this to Ball?

“To be recognized as someone who really contributed, that’s important to me,” she said.

Burnett starred in her own popular CBS comedy-variety show. Lucie Arnaz co-starred with her mom on Here’s Lucy.