Actress Marlo Thomas revealed that Being the Ricardos made her emotional as a friend and former coworker of Lucille Ball. Like Ball, Thomas is a television icon. She is known for her work on That Girl, which Ball produced under her company Desilu.
“I cried at the end of Being the Ricardos,” wrote Thomas. “Everything in it reminds me of my growing up in television. The hangar-like stages, the first table-read, blocking day, the fighting over who thinks what’s funny. The blur of real life and storybook life. And the aching love for all of it.”
Additionally, Thomas praised Being the Ricardos director Aaron Sorkin. She appreciated the care he put into showing what the entertainment industry was like in that era.
“Sorkin went there,” added Thomas. “He went all over there. Showing us what it takes to make a comedy work and what it takes to try to make a marriage work within it — and all the heartbreak that happens when funny isn’t enough to make you happy.”
Admittedly, Thomas had her doubts about Nicole Kidman playing Ball, but she was happy to be proven wrong. Her take on Thomas’s friend was “funny, adorable, and tough”–all words the That Girl star associates with her. In fact, it was Ball’s toughness that paved the way for Thomas’s success.
Being the Ricardos: How Lucille Ball Changed Television
“Despite her genius behind and in front of the camera, the movie shows how Lucy was dismissed and patronized for her gender,” said Thomas. “And yet because of her steely perseverance, she opened the door for all the female TV writers, creators and producers who would come after her.”
Not only did Ball create history as the chief creative force behind I Love Lucy, but she also made a huge difference in the perception of women in media. Through experiencing her pregnancy on television, Ball forced society to reexamine the roles of women. Additionally, she uplifted many women to join the entertainment industry.
“I was one of those women,” she wrote. “When I was In my 20’s, I produced and starred in my own series that was shot at Desilu, the studio owned and run by Lucy and Desi Arnaz. And even then, gender bias was thick in the air.”
While workplace sexism was still a significant problem, Ball created an environment where Thomas felt empowered. The actress continued to produce and star in her show, and she laughed all the way to the bank.
“Years later, my brother told me that whenever someone was looking for me on the set, the joke was, ‘She’s having a meeting with Lucy in the men’s room.’ But I got the last laugh — because the truth is, there is no room in which I wouldn’t have been happy to take a meeting with Lucy,” Thomas added.
Being the Ricardos is now streaming on Amazon Prime.