Lucille Ball knew she needed to help Keith Thibodeaux adjust to being on“I Love Lucy” as Little Ricky. So, the star helped the kid out.
Thibodeaux, who played Little Ricky on “I Love Lucy” and “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” between 1955-60, talked about his experience on the show in 2019 with the New York Post.
“Lucy took care of me on the set and gave me presents for my birthday,” Thibodeaux said. “She told everyone, including the crew, ‘There will be absolutely no cursing around Keith.’
“When I first went onto the set I called her ‘Miss Ball’ the first day I was there and she said, ‘Don’t call me Miss Ball. Call me Lucy,'” he said.
‘I Love Lucy’ Child Star Would Spend Time With Ball, Desi Jr.
There also were times when Thibodeaux would be invited over to the “I Love Lucy” star’s house to spend time with Ball and her kids, especially Desi Arnaz Jr.
On the show, he’s credited as Richard Keith. In 1994, he published an autobiography called “Life After Lucy.” He’s since left that part of show business, but Thibodeaux is executive director of his wife Kathy’s company, “Ballet Magnificat!” He has held that position since 1990.
After “I Love Lucy,” though, Thibodeaux appeared in other TV shows like “The Andy Griffith Show” and played in a rock band called “David and the Giants.”
Yet millions of people over the decades tune in for reruns of the show and catch him as Little Ricky.
Lucille Ball Ended Up Casting Show Business Friend In Opener To Final Season
The legendary sitcom approached its final season on CBS in style. Lucy was able to snag beloved comedian Bob Hope as the first guest star. It’s not too surprising this would happen since Ball and Hope appeared in movies together before “I Love Lucy.”
TV viewers consistently had “I Love Lucy” as must-see TV before that term was even created on Monday nights.
Hope was a longtime star on NBC, dating back to radio days. But his deep respect for Ball, plus their work together, made getting him a bit easier. He also knew the show would have a big viewership, too.
The fans were not disappointed. Thibodeaux is the only remaining original cast member still alive. Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley have all died.