‘I Love Lucy’ Star Lucille Ball Detailed Why Aging Didn’t Bother Her: ‘I Started My Life So Late’

by Joe Rutland

Feeling old today? Don’t let it get you down. Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” fame certainly didn’t let her age become a really big deal.

Ball was making a 1981 appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show.” She was asked by Griffin if someone asked her if she was 70, then wouldn’t the actress have a physical response to it.

“Well, a little bit of that,” Ball said. “Some time ago before I was that age [70 years old]. But my life, you see, started so late that it doesn’t bother me. My life didn’t start until my children were born and I was 39 then. So I’m 20 years ahead of the game.”

‘I Love Lucy’ Star Said She Didn’t Think Much About Age In Her Life

Griffin said Ball is someone who has lived in people’s living rooms for many years. He said its still a bit of a shock to hear when someone reaches “7-0.”

“Yeah, yeah it’s a shock to me when anybody mentions [it],” Ball said. “But I don’t think that much about age, I really don’t. Look, there are so many people busy talking about it. That’s the shock. I don’t know. I know some 20-year-olds that act a little ancient.” She makes that last comment while shaking her head.

The “I Love Lucy” star made people of all ages laugh at her antics on TV. After being away from the television medium for a few years, Ball started to lean into it again. She starred in her fourth and final TV series, “Life with Lucy,” on ABC in 1986. It was a colossal flop. After two months, the show was canceled due to poor ratings.

Ball died on April 26, 1989, at 77 years old. Her final public appearance would be four weeks earlier at the 1989 Academy Awards, where she received a standing ovation.

Ball Received Kennedy Center Honor In Emotional Ceremony

During her career, Lucille Ball received many awards, including Emmy Awards in 1953, 1956, 1967, and 1968.

But one of the more powerful, personal awards she received was in 1986. Ball was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. Now that year, her first husband, Desi Arnaz, was supposed to introduce the section dedicated to Ball’s life and career. Sadly, Arnaz died five days before the event from cancer.

Robert Stack, who played Eliot Ness in “The Untouchables,” which was produced by Desilu Productions, took Arnaz’s spot.

The “I Love Lucy” star listened to Stack share portions of Arnaz’s prepared speech.

“‘I Love Lucy’ had just one mission: to make people laugh,” Stack reads. “Lucy gave it a rare quality. She could perform the wildest, even the messiest physical comedy without losing her feminine appeal.”

In closing, Stack shares these final words from Arnaz. “P.S. ‘I Love Lucy’ was never just a title.”