‘I Love Lucy’: How Growing Up on Lucille Ball’s Show Sets Helped Her Daughter Lucie Arnaz’s Career

by Josh Lanier
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Lucille Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, said she learned an important lesson growing up on the set of I Love Lucy. And she has always remembered it for her own career.

Arnaz was speaking with KMC Chat: Coffee and Cocktails last year when the topic of celebrity came up.

“Well, it’s helped me now not really be all that impressed with celebrities,” she said. “I mean I don’t think I ever was really — my mother was pretty famous, you know — but you have your favorites. Like, ‘Oh I’m getting to meet Red Skelton’ or something.

“But when you see them on the set, and they’re sitting in the director’s chairs learning their lines, trying to learn their lines like everybody else. Messing up their blocking like everybody else, just trying to get through the week like everybody else,” she continued. “Maybe you go have lunch with them in the cafeteria. It really makes you realize that we’re all just the same, you know. We’re all the same.”

But Arnaz said there were other celebrities that came to I Love Lucy who weren’t friendly or were hard to work with. She said they also taught her an important lesson.

“Once in a while, there’ll be somebody — very rarely — but some big, big name person who would come in and really be a jerk,” she said. “And then you went, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. When you behave like that, everything slows down. There’s a vibe that’s very kind of toxic on the set. We didn’t really have any fun this week,’ and then you kind of learn that’s not the way to be. … Don’t be like that. Be reasonable. Be open. Make compromises. Life’s too short not to have good time with all of this.”

Luci Arnaz Said Her Mom Was A Control Freak

Luci Arnaz told Joan Rivers in 1990 that she also learned some good and bad habits from her mother.

Her mother, at first, tried to shelter her children and keep them away from the limelight. Lucille Ball had both of her children during the I Love Lucy years. Ball told Warner Roberts in an interview that she feared her kids were saddled with extra troubles because of her and Desi Arnaz’s success.

“They’ve gone through all the phases like all the other kids. I think they’ve even had a tougher load on their shoulders than children whose parents aren’t so well known,” Ball said.

But once her children decided to join her in show business on Here’s Lucy, Ball treated them like she would anyone else on the show.

“Well you know it’s very tough,” Arnaz told Rivers. “If they have to do it if they want to do it for the right reasons because they can’t do anything else. … If it makes you that happy you’ve got to do it, but you didn’t know that as a child.”

She added that her mom was very controlling, a trait she learned from her own mother.

“You know she had to be in charge 24 hours a day,” Arnaz recalled. “She loved us in her own way. I’m sure she loved us in the only way she knew how.”

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