Rest in Peace Desi Arnaz
» (March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986)
In 1986, Desi Arnaz died of lung cancer in his Del Mar home, which he had received in the divorce decree 27 years earlier. Director William Asher shared a story with Palm Springs Life that best illustrates the heart and soul of the union between the famous comedienne and her hot blooded Cuban lover.
“She visited him in Del Mar a week before he died,” Asher reveals. “By this time his ailments included emphysemia and the colostomy he’d had for a couple of years. Desi was out of it, disoriented. When it came time for Lucy to leave, Desi said, ‘Where are you going?’ “I’m going home,” Lucy responded.
“You are home,” Desi said.
A few weeks after the show [Wildcat - 1960] opened, despite having met Gary, Lucy decided that a bad marriage to Desi with all its fighting had more loving than none at all and was ready to call off the divorce. Lucy and Desi had seen each other every night the week the show opened, going to public places but sitting and talking for hours at quiet tables. Much of it was about Wildcat, but for the first time in years they had the pleasure of being together on their best behavior while they worked on a common purpose. Desi telephoned her every evening after he returned to California, timing his calls to reach her between the first and second acts. If he was a minute or two later than she expected, she became obviously agitated until the phone rang.
They came close to reconciling, according to friends, around the time of Desi Jr.’s eighth birthday [January 19, 1961]. Desi was so on her mind that she bought him a vicuna coat so he could keep warm when he came to visit in the New York winters. He did propose again, and her pride demanded she keep him waiting for an answer. As she contemplated a future with Desi, one night an elderly couple came backstage after the show bearing something they had found in Hawaii they believed must belong to her - a gold chain with a St. Christopher medal and a wedding ring inscribed “To Desi with Love from Lucy.” He had lost them following an argument during their vacation in Hawaii the summer after they bought RKO. When the couple left, she held the ring and started weeping. Remembering not the good times she had with Desi but their argument on the day he lost the ring in the Pacific waves, and all the others fights before and since, she decided they could never be married to each other again.
“Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball,” by Kathleen Brady
→ 9. Goodbye Angel (2.16 - Pregnant Women Are Unpredictable)
In 1964, a remarried Desi candidly recalled his ex-wife with great affection. “The prettiest girl in the world,” he said of Lucy. Sighing nostalgically, he continued, “And a wonderful woman.”
-anecdote from Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
katharinespants’s immutable list of best ricardos’ scenes
→ 2. Anyone but you (1x10 - Lucy is jealous of girl singer)
Lucy & Desi eloped in 1940, but were married again in 1949 in the Catholic Church at the urging of Desi’s mother, who thought that they would be rewarded with children if married in God’s eyes. →
I thought that because Desi and I had eloped and had been married by a judge, our marriage somehow lacked a certain sacred quality. So we were married again in 1949 in Our Lady of the Valley Church in Canoga Park. Groucho Marx couldn’t make the ceremony, but wired: “What’s new?”
Desi and his band were appearing on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip the June day we married. He wore a white suit and I was in a blue satin wedding dress with a bridal bouquet. My mentor in comedy techniques, Ed Sedgwick, gave me away and Desi’s mother, Dolores, was matron of honor. I thought it would please her to have us married in the church, and I promised to bring up any children we might have as Catholics.
It was a sentimental occasion, with our closest friends and family there, and a wedding reception afterward. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I believed in it.
Love, Lucy by Lucille BallWe had been married for nine years, but when I saw her coming down the aisle with her bouquet and wedding dress and hat, I got as much of a thrill as the first time, perhaps even more.
A Book by Desi Arnaz
Lucy & Desi were active participants in supporting the 1954 March of Dimes campaign to end polio. In this newsreel about the cause, they introduced their fans to their real life family - Lucie (then aged three) and Desi, Jr. (then aged one year).
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in 1955