Rich Little Once Revealed Lucille Ball Loved His Hilarious John Wayne Impression Most

by Keeli Parkey

During his career, comedian Rich Little has made a lot of people laugh thanks to his numerous impressions. He is known as “the man of a thousand voices,” after all. And, you can count one of the funniest women, Lucille Ball, in the history of television on that list.

Of course, Lucille Ball was the star of the iconic television show “I Love Lucy.” And, according to a 2019 article by, it was Little’s impression of the legendary Hollywood star John Wayne that really made her laugh.

“She liked my John Wayne impression,” Little said of Ball. “That’s the basis of the routine we did. I was imitating John Wayne. (Gale) Gordon, who played her boss, was blindfolded and he thought it was the real John Wayne. That was the whole point of the show. It was a silly premise, but very fun to do.”

The routine Rich Little is referencing comes from a 1971 episode of “Here’s Lucy,” according to The series was one of the shows Lucille Ball acted in her career following the conclusion of “I Love Lucy.”

The episode aired in 1971. It was titled “Lucy and the Celebrities.” It is the 10th episode of the show’s fourth season. Also, the plot was: “Lucy and Uncle Harry seek celebrities for a radio campaign when a competitor makes a dent in their business. Kim’s date is an impressionist, and offers his services.”

That impressionist was named Rich Little. And, of course, he was played by Rich Little.

Want to see what made Lucille Ball laugh? Well, you can. Here’s a short video of Rich Little performing his John Wayne impression. This video was reportedly captured during February 2015. Also, the location was Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida.

There Was Something About Lucille Ball That Surprised Rich Little

In addition to sharing Lucille Ball’s favorite impression that he did, Rich Little had more to say about the famous actress during his 2019 interview with

Little reportedly experienced this surprise when he was working on “Here’s Lucy” in 1971. What surprised him was just how professional Ball was while at work. He also said she came to work knowing her lines. And, more impressively, she knew the lines of other actors on the show.

Here’s what Rich Little had to say about Lucille Ball and her professionalism: “She was a complete professional. She didn’t stand for any fooling around on the set. She expected people to know their lines. When I went to the first rehearsal, I memorized all of my lines. She was impressed by that. The best way to get along with Lucille Ball was to be prepared to work. We got along absolutely fine. She had tremendous talent and knew everything about the business. … knew what all the other actors were doing and knew their lines, as well as her own. She was a real pro.”

Rich Little is now 82 years old. He is next set to appear in the 2022 film “Big Life.”