Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were one of the most iconic and loved couples in television history. The couple depicted Lucy and Ricky in “I Love Lucy.” Despite the mayhem and the scheming, the pair always came together at the end of each episode.
Likewise, Ball and Arnaz came together for one last poignant phone call before Arnaz’s death in 1986.
The couples’ role on television was also considered groundbreaking. Ball and Arnaz were one of the first biracial couples on television. The couple’s real-life pregnancy was also one of the first to openly appear on network television.
After being married for 20 years, the couple got divorced in 1960. They had one of the most high-profile divorces in American history. Their marriage was considered tumultuous while it was ongoing and the divorce was contentious.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Friendship and Last Conversation
Arnaz was reportedly unfaithful and had a drinking problem. These problems, on top of other issues, led the couple to divorce. The couple also had two children while married, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr.
The two were described as deeply in love during most of their marriage. This love didn’t vanish when they got divorced. In fact, the two kept up a very close friendship for the rest of their lives outside of “I Love Lucy.”
According to MeTV, the two were especially close near the end of their lives. Lucille Ball called Desi Arnaz two days before he died of lung cancer at the age of 69 in 1986. The two chatted on what would have been their 46th wedding anniversary.
In the book “Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz,” the couple’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, explains the conversation. Lucille Ball was reportedly the last person Arnaz spoke to. Their daughter had to hold the phone up for Arnaz as the two said “I love you” back and forth to each other. He wished her good luck on a future variety show she was set to do.
The two had also owned their own production studio called Desilu Productions. He would eventually sign over his shares of the company. This caused Ball to be the first female CEO of a major Hollywood production studio.
The two remained friends and remarried. Lucille Ball married comedian Gary Morton in 1962 and Arnaz married Edith Hirsch in 1963. “Maybe I’m the romantic, but there was a great, great love there, there really was. Desi was very unhappy about the breakup, and I think she was too. I don’t think either one of them ever got over it,” William Asher, the director of “I Love Lucy,” said to People magazine.