“I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had a passionate but troubled marriage. But in the end, their love for each other endured.
Ball was one of 100 people to attend Arnaz’s funeral in 1986. The couple had a high-profile divorce in 1960. It led to the destruction of their creative partnership. Ball followed “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” with the sole lead “The Lucy Show.”
They eventually married other people. But their love for each other survived the toxicity of their marriage. The duo eventually became good friends again after breaking up and remained good friends until Arnaz’s passing in the 1980s.
At the funeral, Ball could barely hold back her tears. Arnaz had battled lung cancer before succumbing to the illness at age 69. Ball cried at Arnaz’s funeral, a small occasion for one of the pioneers of television. “I Love Lucy” broke barriers in television, featuring an inter-racial couple much like Arnaz and Ball. Comedian Danny Thomas gave the eulogy for the funeral.
″I will never ever, ever forget his tremendous help to me. and I speak not only about what he did for me but what he has done for the entire industry,″ Thomas said. ″Television owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude and no one but no one has ever come close to the kind of TV Desi brought with Lucy to this industry.”
Lucille Ball Memorialized Desi Arnaz
By 1986, Lucille Ball was the last remaining star of “I Love Lucy.” Her co-stars had passed away over the years. William Frawley died in 1966 following a heart attack. He was best known fr playing Fred Mertz on the show. In his later years, Frawley’s health declined due to his alcoholism.
Meanwhile, Vivian Vance, who played Ethel on the show, died in 1979. The actor passed away following a battle with terminal breast cancer. At the funeral, Ball remembered her ex-husband as the pioneer that he was in the television landscape.
″Just look at the stuff he’s done over the years,″ Miss Ball said. ″It’s on three or four times every day. He was a great part of our innovation in this business.″
Lucille Ball herself passed away only three years later at 77. Ball died from an Aortic dissection. Doctors tried t correct the affliction. But Ball passed away following surgery on the heart valve. Both Ball and Arnaz wished to be cremated.
Though both of the actors may be gone in 2021, their legacy remains. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz continue to live on for their contributions to television. Their show “I Love Lucy” remains one of the most beloved classics in American history. Decades after their deaths and after their show, their stars continue to shine brighter than ever.