During their 20-year marriage, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had two kids, a son and a daughter. And before the youngest was even born, he helped his parents make classic TV history.
As most people know, Lucille Ball was a pioneer in her day. Throughout her comedic career, she made several televised firsts that paved the future in the industry. She was the first female to ever star in her own 30-minute sitcom, and Ball was the first woman to helm a major Hollywood studio, among other things. But one of her most memorable achievements was convincing her network to allow a pregnancy storyline on the small screen.
Before I Love Lucy, no television series so much as made mention of pregnancy, let alone show one. The topic was considered too taboo for audiences because it could have led to unsavory conversations. But Ball thought that mindset was both archaic and ridiculous.
When Ball had her daughter, Lucie Désireé Arnaz, in July 1951, the series had yet to premiere. But when she became pregnant with Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV (Desi Jr.) two and a half years later, she told CBS that she wasn’t hiding her growing belly from fans. And with some convincing, the network caved. Though, the execs made her use the word “expecting” in lieu of the more scandalous “pregnant” on screen.
Lucille Ball’s Kids Went on to Be Stars in their Own Rights
While Desi Jr. was the first of Lucille Ball’s kids to make it to TV, Lucie was quick to follow. When she was just 11, she began starring in the I Love Lucy spinoff The Lucy Show. Throughout the entire series, Lucie had eight guest appearances, and she almost always played a different character.
Lucie Arnaz also starred in two more spinoffs, Here’s Lucy and her very own series called The Lucie Arnaz Show. But she’s most known for her Broadway run as Berthe in the 2014 Pippin revival. And aside from that, Lucie won a Primetime Emmy for her documentary titled Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie.
Desi Jr. also went on to act outside of the womb, and he started at a young age. Like his sister, he too starred in walk-on roles on his mother’s shows. And then, he went on to guest star in a long list of series and work on full-length films.
Desi starred in Billy Two Hats with Gregory Peck, Joyride with Melanie Griffith, and A wedding with Carol Burnett. And he also had the honor of working in The Mambo Kings, which is a biopic about his late father.