‘I Love Lucy’: Why Little Ricky Actor Keith Thibodeaux Didn’t Want to Continue Acting After Starring in Lucille Ball’s Series

by Madison Miller
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When Little Ricky joined the craziness and scheming of “I Love Lucy,” viewers were obsessed.

The young Little Ricky was played by a few actors as he was growing on the show. However, Keith Thibodeaux played Lucy and Ricky’s son for the majority of the sitcom.

The Hollywood Reporter states that the show was the most-watched program for four out of its six different seasons. However, it happened to peak with the January 19, 1953 episode in which Lucy finally gives birth to Little Ricky.

Keith Thibodeaux Wanted To Quit Acting

Suddenly, Thibodeaux was thrust into the spotlight as millions of TV viewers gushed over the sweet and adorable son of the iconic couple. When “I Love Lucy” eventually ended, so did Thibodeaux’s most notable role of his entire career.

Except for a few roles directly after, he ended his career acting. The main reason was he just didn’t want to continue on that path, but initially felt pressured to do so.

“My dad would make me go on interviews. I went on ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘The Music Man.’ I auditioned for those and I almost got ‘The Sound of Music,” I was in the last decision making, but I didn’t get that, I’m glad I didn’t get that,” Thibodeaux said on a Television Academy interview from 2005.

After “I Love Lucy” Thibodeaux also had a role in “The Andy Griffith Show” as Johnny Paul Jason. He was in small guest roles in shows like “The Farmer’s Daughter,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” and “The Lucy Show.”

As a child actor, Thibodeaux was starting to feel like he was expected to do one thing and wanted to do something else entirely.

“I don’t want to do this … it was kind of expected of me. I was an actor, once an actor, always an actor … just went out on interviews and did the ‘Route 66’ show, I did ‘The Bill Dana Show,’ the ‘Hazel’ show,” Thibodeaux said.

Where Is The ‘I Love Lucy’ Star Now?

It’s been well over 60 years since his starring role in “I Love Lucy.” Which career path did Keith Thibodeaux decide to choose for himself outside of the Hollywood world?

Known for being a stellar drummer on “I Love Lucy,” Thibodeaux still enjoys drumming away. According to ABC News in 2015, Thibodeaux stopped acting and has joined his wife Kathy in her profession. She is a ballet dancer and he is the executive director of “Ballet Magnificat!”

For a period of time, Thibodeaux was a part of a rock group called David and the Giants. He is the last surviving cast member from “I Love Lucy” and fondly remembers the show. He got to meet George Reeves, or Superman at the time while acting. Thibodeaux would get gifts from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as well, which some he still has today.

Although it was a positive experience, child acting can come with its own struggles.

“I do kind of look at it like a time of my life where I wasn’t able to fully be a kid, but that’s a problem with child stars–that dynamic is always in the mix. I was very depressed and suicidal and got to the end of my rope …” Thibodeaux said.

Outsider.com