‘I Love Lucy’: Keith Thibodeaux Revealed Why He and Other Child Star Classmates ‘Were Just Normal Kids’

by Keeli Parkey

Playing the son of one of the most beloved couples in the history of television comes with pros and cons. This is a fact of life that Keith Thibodeaux knows all too well. He knows it thanks to his role as Little Ricky on “I Love Lucy.”

Thibodeaux was just a child when he appeared on “I Love Lucy.” Of course, his television parents were played by the legendary comedy duo of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Luckily for the young Thibodeaux, he attended high school with a few students who knew what it was like to be famous, according to a 2019 interview he gave to the New York Post. One of his fellow students was Jerry Mathers. Fans of classic television will recognize Mathers as “The Beaver” on “Leave It to Beaver.”

Another child actor the young “I Love Lucy” actor had as a classmate was Angela Cartwright. Thanks to these connections, being famous didn’t necessarily mean that Thibodeaux stood out from the crowd.

“It just didn’t really matter to those kids at all. I went to high school with (actress) Angela Cartwright and (“Leave It to Beaver” star) Jerry Mathers; we were just normal kids when we were away from the set and kids would bother me for other things other than the fact that I was Little Ricky,” Thibodeaux told the publication.

Life at school was very different from what he had experienced thanks to his role on “I Love Lucy.”

“I was short, so I was glad I was fast because nobody could catch me. I had great friends, normal friends back when I lived in the San Fernando Valley,” Thibodeaux explained. “They were two different worlds, the Beverly Hills world and the San Fernando Valley world. And that hill would be the dividing line.”

Keith Thibodeaux Appeared on ‘I Love Lucy’ During 1956 and 1957

“I Love Lucy,” which is still a beloved sitcom, aired from 1951 until 1957, according to IMDb.com. Keith Thibodeaux’s time on the show took place in 1956 and 1957. He is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. And, he began playing the drums at the very, very, very young age of 2 years old. That turned out to be beneficial for his acting career.

The young actor reprised his role as Little Ricky on “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.” This spinoff of “I Love Lucy” was on the air from 1957 until 1960.

In his post-Lucy-show years, Thibodeaux appeared on another beloved sitcom. This series was “The Andy Griffith Show.” He played the character Johnny Paul on that show from 1962 until 1966.

At the time the 2019 New York Post interview was published, Keith Thibodeaux operated a ballet company in Mississippi alongside his wife, Kathy. The company was “Ballet Magnificat!”