On the iconic TV show “I Love Lucy,” Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance co-starred as best friends. Offscreen, they were just as close. Lucy’s daughter once recalled how her mother couldn’t stop crying after Vivian’s death.
“She cried about losing Viv for months after that,” says Luci Arnaz, the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. “Viv was, in many ways, like a sister to my mother. She could talk to Mom like nobody else, and I don’t think my mother could confide in many people the way she would with Viv.”
Paige Peterson was with Lucille Bal when the two friends said goodbye. Peterson recalls that heartbreaking “farewell.”
Lucille Ball and Vivan Vance Say Goodbye
The women transformed American TV sitcoms in the ’50s. Lucy Ricardo and her best friend, Ethel Mertz, got into all kinds of funny moments and failed schemes on “I Love Lucy.” When the cameras weren’t rolling, Ball and Vance were just as close as their onscreen roles.
In August of 1979, Lucille and Paige, visited the actress one last time before Vivian would lose her battle with bone cancer.
“You could hear them laughing, and towards the end, there was a lot of sobbing,” says Paige. “It was an amazing thing to witness. The love of these two women.”
Paige had also grown very close to Vivian, or Viv. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1973. Sadly, it metastasized into bone cancer, and the end was growing near.
“We had brought Viv down and she was lying on the couch in the living room,” she says. “They ate lunch and they talked and talked. Viv knew she was dying.”
Peterson recalls seeing her mother devastated and crying when she left the room.
“The pain on her face shook me to my core. She was in tears. She couldn’t speak,’ she says. “I think Viv gave up after that.”
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Vance died a couple of days later on Aug. 17 1979 at 70 years old.
Although Lucille and Vivian had some rough patches over their long relationship, it didn’t compare to how much love the woman shared for each other. The many years that the women were side-by-side with each other on “I Love Lucy” doesn’t compare to the many years they were side-by-side in real life. Side-by-side is exactly how Lucy told her dear friend goodbye.