Little Ricky from the popular sitcom I Love Lucy reflected on his time with the show and its stars. Off camera, Keith Thibodeaux said, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who were married in real life like their counterparts, became extended family to him.
“I felt like I was an extended part of the family, like a brother or something,” Thibodeaux told Fox News. He became good friends with the stars’ children Desi Jr. and Lucie. “As time went on, we drifted and did other things until we went our own separate ways. But I have great memories of just spending time with the family when we weren’t on set.”
Thibodeaux auditioned for the role when he was five but didn’t realize how important it was. He played drums professionally for the Horace Heidt Orchestra. His drum skills ultimately won him the part impressing Ball and the producers. Arnaz even jammed with him on the drums.
“We got to the end of our jam. Desi just stood up and said, ‘I think we found Little Ricky’ and laughed,” Thibodeaux said. “That started a whole relationship with the Arnazes on the set of course, as a child actor, but then off the set as well.”
The actor remembers his ‘I Love Lucy’ co-stars as passionate.
Off screen, Thibodeaux said Ball was nothing like her sitcom character. He described her as a very “professional” woman who expected everyone to do their jobs.
“I think the thing that surprised me the most about her was her passion for what she did,” he said. “And also just off the set, she was very interested in a lot of things and history. I think she was a romantic in that way. As far as Desi goes, she loved him very much.”
In 1960, the sitcom stars divorced causing the show to end. Thibodeaux didn’t realize until after he filmed his last episode that he was out of a job. In the years that followed, he believed Ball and Arnaz did still love and care for each other even after they remarried.
The last time Thibodeaux spoke with Ball was at Arnaz’s funeral, who died from lung cancer in 1986.
“We went to Desi’s beach house for a get-together there. Lucy was there of course,” Thibodeaux said. “I just remember all of our friends and loved ones from over the years gathering together and remembering Desi’s life. His death affected me. It affected all of us. And then when Lucy died, it was just a shock.”
In the years that followed, Thibodeaux said he remembers both as talented and professional people. The former child actor shared his experiences in a new documentary Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy.
[H/T: Fox News]