‘I Love Lucy’: Carolyn Appleby Actress Doris Singleton Once Remembered a Surprisingly Funny Story About Her Co-Star Lucille Ball

by Madison Miller

Throughout “I Love Lucy’s” run on network television, viewers were introduced to other guest stars and recurring characters. Whether it was big names like George Reeves as Superman, or someone with a recurring role like Keith Thibodeaux as Little Ricky.

Doris Singleton had a recurring role on “I Love Lucy” as Carolyn Appleby. She was Lucy Ricardo’s nemesis or frenemy on the show. Lucy would constantly try to surpass whatever it was Carolyn Appleby was doing.

She spoke in a 2005 interview with Television Academy about her character, time on the show, and relationship with Lucille Ball.

“Well, Lucy was very nice to me because she really liked my work. When you did that show, if Lucy liked you … you did the show a lot,” Singelton revealed.

Doris Singleton On Relationship With Lucille Ball

She said that Ball, Desi Arnaz, and other executives on the show enjoyed her work, which is why she became a recurring character. Lucille Ball and others were very cautious about who they invited to the show. Singleton also said that she had a habit of accidentally running into Lucille Ball.

They both enjoyed Palm Springs, Vancouver, BAMF, and Hawaii. Sometimes the duo would run into each other and make plans.

Doris Singleton recalled one night where the two had an unexpected run-in with the “I Love Lucy” star.

“I did have a funny experience. We were going to a party at Seaman Jacobs house, Seaman was a writer, and everybody was there … the doorbell rang and I went to the door and it was Lucy. I was very surprised to see her because no one said that she was coming. Lucy comes in and goes, ‘Ok, where’s the game?’ … I said, ‘What game?’ She said [someone] told me it was a backgammon game, she was crazy about backgammon,” Doris Singleton said.

Lucille Ball was a busy woman. From having her own show to navigating a family and eventually running a production company, she was kept pretty busy by the bustling entertainment business. However, nothing could ever separate her from one of her true loves — backgammon.

There are many photos that show Ball enjoying herself while playing the classic game.

“When she was not on the set she would go to her room and one of her stand-ins or friends, she had a group that was always on the show as background people. So she played backgammon,” Doris Singleton said.

Sadly, Doris Singleton passed away in 2012 from complications related to cancer.

‘I Love Lucy” Star’s Real Life Friend

Lucille Ball was one of the most influential figures in Hollywood during her career. Besides friendships she made on the set of “I Love Lucy,” Ball had several other friends in the industry.

Paula Stewart, a stage, film, and television actress had been friends with Lucille Ball. The two met when Lucy showed up for the cast reading of the Broadway musical “Wildcat.” It was Ball’s debut as a singer, despite already being a star.

Meanwhile, Stewart was a trained singer and appeared in several Broadway shows already. “When a break came during rehearsals, I saw Lucy standing in a corner, nervously pulling on a cigarette, so I went over and asked if I could help her with her songs. She just threw her arms around me. She was so grateful that somebody was going to help her,” Steward told Closer Weekly in 2020.

The two were friends for nearly 30 years. Lucy even introduced her to backgammon.