Why Lucille Ball’s Son Desi Jr. Retired from the Hollywood Limelight

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Bettmann / Contributor / via Getty Images

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were THE Hollywood power couple when they were at their “I Love Lucy” prime.

Even now, audiences still adore Ball and Arnaz. That’s a given seeing as the biopic film, “Being the Ricardos,” starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem was recently released.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had two kids while they were married to one another — Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. Lucie Arnaz is active in the entertainment world and was also a good reference for Aaron Sorkin while making “Being the Ricardos.”

Desi Arnaz Jr. Gave Up Entertainment Career

She took after her father and loves music, especially. As for Desi Arnaz Jr., he has long been retired from the limelight.

Desi Arnaz Jr. was thrown into the spotlight at an incredibly young age. In fact, he was on the cover of the very first issues of TV Guide Magazine with his mother not long after being born. He had roles in projects like “The Lucy Show,” “Here’s Lucy,” “The Carol Channing Show,” “Red Sky at Morning,” “Automan,” “A Wedding,” “Having Babies,” and “Joyride.”

His role in entertainment came to a halt after his role in the movie “Aunt Heather’s Magical Kidchen.” On top of acting, Desi Arnaz Jr. also played in the band Dino, Desi, & Billy for many years.

Eventually, Desi Arnaz Jr. seemed to have lost his desire to act, which was encouraged of him at a young age. He also got into some controversial personal situations. He had a kid when he was only 15, a baby girl named Julia Arnaz. His relationship with Patty Duke, he was 17 and she was 23, also got a lot of scrutiny at the time.

His many relationships put him in the public eye in a new way, besides being the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Also, Arnaz Jr. struggled with drug and alcohol addiction due to the many pressures in his life.

Lucille Ball’s Role in Child’s Recovery

Early on in his life, Desi Arnaz Jr. faced an identity crisis. He remembered growing up and seeing his parent’s on the screen with the TV child, Little Ricky. He constantly compared himself to that character.

Amidst the fame and attention, Desi Arnaz Jr. got a little lost, but credited Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for helping him get back to sobriety.

“Mom was a crucial part in my recovery. She endured family confrontation therapy with five other families … Mom talked about her feelings of guilt. ‘I keep thinking I should have been able to prevent your problems,’ she said. … She described how scared she’d felt when she saw me destroying myself. Suddenly, I saw how much I hurt her. I realized I wasn’t separate or isolated,” Arnaz Jr. said in a 1992 interview.

Both his parents also took part in family therapy. His father even went to the recovery center with his son and admitted to being an alcoholic.