More than six decades after the famed classic TV show I Love Lucy came to an end, Keith Thibodeaux, the former child actor who played Little Ricky, is considered the last living castmate of the show.
According to Do You Remember, the I Love Lucy character was played by six different actors. They were Thibodeaux, another child actor, and two sets of twins. Thibodeaux used the stage name Richard Keith and played an older version of Little Ricky. He appeared in the show’s sixth and seventh seasons. The former child actor auditioned with 200 other actors before he landed the role in 1955.
While recalling his time on the I Love Lucy set, Thibodeaux spoke to ABC News in 2015 about first meeting Lucille Ball for the very first time. “I walked on the set and there was Lucy, she was standing there and she was looking at me,” he explained. “She said, ‘OK he’s cute, but what does he do?’ My dad said, ‘Well he plays the drums,’ and she said, ‘Oh, come on — I can’t believe that.’”
Thibodeaux then said that Ball had him play on the drums set. Eventually, fellow I Love Lucy star Desi Arnaz came over and started jamming with the young actor. “Then he kind of stood up and said, ‘Well, I think we found Little Ricky.’”
Thibodeaux then described I Love Lucy as being an interesting but very special show for him. “It seems to be very memorable and people of any different generation can appreciate it… Appreciate the humor of it, appreciate the silliness of it.”
Little Ricky Actor Said ‘I Love Lucy’ Star Lucille Ball Was ‘Very Motherly to Him’ And Desi Arnaz Made Him Feel At Ease
Meanwhile, Thibodeaux said he has fond memories of his I Love Lucy co-stars. He said Lucille Ball was naturally very motherly to him while Desi Arnaz made him feel at ease.
“They were very generous towards me and I was best friends with their children,” Thibodeaux said. “Whenever I was over there, and Desi would give his kids gifts and he’d never leave me out–whether it was customized bowling balls or L.A. Rams jerseys, he’d give me the same thing.”
Thibodeaux went on to say that Ball would give him birthday presents on the set and make a big deal of it. “She gave me an Indian Tiki one time,” he recalled. “Another time she gave me my own dressing room and a set of drums. That same set I still have today.”
Thibodeaux appeared in more than 35 episodes of I Love Lucy. He then returned as Little Ricky in the 1957 sequel The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. The cast reunion was after Ball and Arnaz announced they were divorcing.
Along with I Love Lucy, Thibodeaux appeared on The Andy Griffith Show and Shirley Temple’s Storybook.