I know that her dealings with mental illness were very public, but what was she actually diagnosed with? I read once that she actually would write down her name on a piece of paper and keep it in her pocket in case she ever forgot who she was. That sounds pretty significant.
Nertz To Mertz
I never knew that. Vivian Vance = Ethel?
It was a good thing Mrs. Trumbull was there to take care of little Ricky. Had they left it to Ethel, he''d have died long ago.
Working with Lucy would drive any nuts!!!
She certainly had a fixation on the icebox.
Frankly my darling, I don''t give a damn.
Vivian Leigh, the Mariah Carey of my time
i saw on a show once that lucille ball told her something to the effect "you don''t look good in anything, no matter what you wear, because you''re a big fat pig."
i no longer love lucy :(
She belonged to a small group of actors who actually had a nervous breakdown on stage. It must have been horrible.%0D\
I always assumed that she suffered from depression
what play r7?
gosh, I don''t. It was early in her career
Why did she marry two gay guys (or was it one)?
Yeah. Her last one was gay. It used to be a big joke on the "Lucy" set. Lucy got a kick out of it. How on Earth could Vivian not know?
she prob wanted a companion without the bullshit. i can see that.
That Lucy was a vicious little viper, wasn''t she?
musical Music in the Air. After understudying for Ethel Merman in Anything Goes, she starred with comic actor Ed Wynn in Hooray for What!. Although she had become a top performer, the demands of the onstage life took their toll on Vance, and in 1945 she suffered a nervous breakdown. %0D
But was it on stage R14?%0D\
Anyway, bullshit to the stories about antagonism between Lucy and Vivian Vance, beyond what is normal with lifetime friends. Vivian and Lucy visited each other all the time, and played a weekly game of cards. %0D\
After Vivian died, Lucy spoke of how much she missed her, and believe me Lucy was a funny lady, but as we all know she was not a dramatic actress. She really missed her friend.
Well, all I can say is Viv Vance was a genuine doll compared to that dried up, sour, spider-web-in-her-snatch Lucy Ball. Sure Viv was fat. I once saw her suck down an eclair the size of Desi Arnaz's schtupper in less time than it took her to say "Fuck Bill Frawley," which she did at least 10 times a day. Both the eclair AND the Frawley jibe, I mean.
You know the network tried to get me to do the show after the Arnazes pitched it. The phony redhead always put out the story they didn't want the Cuban, but the truth is they didn't want her. She was a bitch. I saw her once come out of the shower in a chorus dressing room and not only did the rug not match the drapes, it looked like an old coal mine door mat. I told them there was no way I was giving up my Broadway career to be stuffed into a little box. I preferred things being stuffed INTO my little box.
I'm the one who told them to get Viv involved - naturally Ball claimed she did it. I knew Viv when she had her breakdown. It was bad. She had ordered a dozen iced old fashioned cake doughnuts, and they arrived without the icing. Bang. Over the cliff. This was before canned frosting, which saved the day for her and kept her working through the rest of those awful geriatric Lucy shows.
Oh Viv or it is%0D\
Ethel open the cabinet%0D\
Thorazine break time
haiku for ethel
I LOVE ethel!
Ethel Mae Potter of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I imagine the walk from 623 East 68th Street to the Lexington Ave. subway would have driven anyone mad!
According to most internet sources, %0D\
Vivian had her nervous breakdown while performing in the play Voice of the Turtle. I recently read the play; she had a comic part as a snobby friend of the heroine. When the movie was made, Eve Arden played that role.
A biography was printed in the 70s of Vivian Vance. I don''t normally read bios, but I read this one and it was good.\
She did suffer from depression but was not embarrassed to talk about it. When she traveled she would visit mental wards and talk to people who were severely depressed.\
Her last husband was gay and she knew, but she also expected him to give it up since he married her.\
Link has info about the book.
Poor dear. She could never remember if her middle name was Louise, Mae or Roberta.
We never forgot her!
Her then-husband, bit actor Phil Ober, played MGM bigwig Dore Schary in one of the Hollywood episodes. Ober supposedly physically and mentally absused Viv.
I remember as a kid I watched her on one of the afternoon talk shows. She talked about being neurotic. I told my parents later at dinner that Ethel Mertz suffered from mental illness and was quite proud of myself at knowing this.
Viv''s breakdown WAS during "The Voice of the Turtle." She had gone into it on Broadway (did not originate the part of Olive), and then took the first national company to Chicago. It was in Chicago that she had her breakdown on stage. She stayed out for a week, and then had to leave completely.\
I think she may have gone back in briefly in San Francisco, and then quit for good.\
She was offered the role a few years later at the La Jolla Playhouse and decided to do it to see if she could revisit the "scene of the crime," as it were - and it was this performance that Desi Arnaz saw, and offered her Ethel on the spot.\
She had also developed a complex about her singing voice - the first time she used it fully was in the "Pleasant Peasant" (Lucy Does an Operetta) episode, and it represented another breakthrough for her.\
She used to stop by for a session with her psychoanalyst on her way into work every morning the first couple of seasons of "I Love Lucy."
I bet she wore really big bloomers.
[quote]She had also developed a complex about her singing voice - the first time she used it fully was in the "Pleasant Peasant" (Lucy Does an Operetta) episode, and it represented another breakthrough for her.\
She was in many musicals on Broadway where she sang... MUSIC IN THE AIR, RED HOT AND BLUE, HOORAY FOR WHAT!, LET''S FACE IT, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK.
Right, r29 - but during her breakdown, she developed a complex about her singing voice, thinking she couldn''t sing anymore. That''s why it was such a big deal for her when she was able to bring back the old Broadway pizzazz in "The Pleasant Peasant" - and she never had anymore trouble with her singing voice. \
That was the first time she used it fully on the show, and since her breakdown.
Vivian Vance''s Mental Illness would make a good name for a gay Rock Band.
Yes, I read that Lucy paid for a psychologist for Vivian Vance to see every day. I heard She was extremely depressed because her husband beat her up every day. Also, Vivian was much younger than Lucy and Lucy made Vivian gain weight, and ware dumpy, dowdy clothes so she would make Lucy look younger and more fashionable. It sounds like Lucy was extremely vain, and that was really awful to put Vivian through that. Apparently this arrangement made Vivian more depressed because before working on this set she was thin and wore clothes her age and clothes that were in. I think Vivian worked on this set because she needed the work.
[quote]Lucy made Vivian gain weight, and ware dumpy, dowdy clothes so she would make Lucy look younger and more fashionable. It sounds like Lucy was extremely vain, and that was really awful to put Vivian through that.%0D\
Bullshit. No matter how many times the urban legend is repeated, it remains bullshit.
Don''t believe any of the hooey being spouted that Lucy and Vivian didn''t like each other. They adored each other and were like sisters. In fact they argued just like sisters at times. There was one occasion while Lucy was pregnant %E2%80%93 she took Vivian%E2%80%99s dressing room, which was closer to the stage. Lucy also had people helping her with costume changes. Meanwhile, Vivian had to crawl across props and cables, change by herself, and get back to the stage. One time, she missed her cue. "You%E2%80%99re late," said Lucy. "I%E2%80%99d tell you to go fuck yourself, but Desi%E2%80%99s already done that," was apparently her response.\
By 1979 Vance had suffered a stroke, and was in failing health. Mary Wickes, a close friend of Vivian and Lucy%E2%80%99s, was in a play in the area. She and Lucy visited Vivian one last time, in the summer of 1979. They got on like the good times in the old days. On their way back, Mary Wickes said she and Lucy cried the entire way.
Marry me, R34--you posted my favorite VV quote.
I think the bio of Vivian told the story of her returning to the "Lucy" set after marrying her 2nd gay husband. The cast and crew knew he was gay - and Vivian knew they knew - so when everyone asked her how the honeymoon was, she supposedly went on and on about how exhausted she was from the wild, nonstop sex they had.
I love that clip! Especially when she points to the valley ''over there''
I''m glad they got along. Nice to know two talented women can cooperate.
[quote]Also, Vivian was much younger than Lucy \
Bullshit. Vivian was born in 1909, and Lucy in 1911.\
For a long time Viv claimed 1912 was her birth year, but it wasn''t. The old saw that she was actually younger than Lucy was a fiction that was exploded before either of them died.\
But Viv WAS good-looking and youthful and beautiful - and Lucy had been expecting someone who was a match for Bill Frawley (Lucy didn''t go to the show where Desi hired Viv).
I love a hilarious anti-Lucy story, but R6 is lying. Unless, of course, R6 would like to link us to the proof?%0D\
Vivian went on to do another series with Lucy and then quit. But after she quit, she still showed up as a guest star with Lucy.%0D\
"Lucy made Vivian gain weight, and ware dumpy, dowdy clothes ..."%0D\
If the "gay guys" were married to her they weren''t gay.
r6 here. i think i saw this on an A&E biography episode. i''m not sure, but remember it quite clearly. it may have been lucy''s bio.%0D\
also: was frawley hard to work with? i''m just wondering about the "fuck bill frawley."
When Frawley passed, Vivian and her husband were at a restaurant eating dinner. Upon hearing the news, she ordered champagne for everyone.
I''m sure Vivian knew what a great gig she had and Lucy knew she had the best supporting player in the business
[italic]Also, Vivian was much younger than Lucy and Lucy made Vivian gain weight, and ware dumpy, dowdy clothes so she would make Lucy look younger and more fashionable.[/italic]\
This is actually on Snopes, and they concluded that this is not true.
In the summer of ''79 I got my first job at 15. We watched ILL re-runs in the morning. Anyways, later that summer Vivian Vance died. Some news reporter actually tracked down Lucy. She was aked about Vivian and she seemed to really let her guard down and seemed quite upset. The reason I remember this is because it was the only time and interview with Lucy that she appeared to have feelings and didn''t come across as the "tough broad."
I totally read this as Vince Vaughn''s mental illness....thought ya''ll were just being bitchy with the she stuff.
r6 was stoned when he "heard" that story on A&E. It''s not true.\
Your punishment is that you have to watch "Mame" and "The Stone Pillow" back to back.
spank me instead, please...
"The Other Side of Ethel Mertz" begins with the trip Lucy and Mary Wickes made to SF (Belvedere) to see Viv when about a month before she died. They spent the whole afternoon with her, reminiscing, laughing, gossiping . Mary Wickes said Lucy cried the whole way home.\
It includes a photo of the handwritten letter Viv wrote to Lucy after the visit - saying "thank you for ALL" -\
The women had a bond. Lucy knew Vivian was the best comic partner she had ever had - or ever would have, and appreciated that. It was a testy relationship, but there was love there, too.
Ol'' Viv hated Bill Frawley with a passion. She blamed him for being cast as her husband. She never got over the fact that he should be playing her father. Notice that he never had to kiss her. Vivian refused any affection other that an occasional hug
What Viv didn''t know was that Bill Frawley was hung like a horse. If she hadn''t been so shallow, she might have had some fun.
Actually there is an episode where Fred and Ethel kiss. Not very warmly though. It''s the one where the girls have to wash dishes to pay for their dinner out and the guys are mistaken for robbers and taken to jail.
That''s hilarious, r57. If you notice, they are putting their lips close together, but barely even touch. The idea of a kiss was too loathsome to both of them.
Vance''s Ethel Mertz character was the less-than-prosperous landlady of a New York City brownstone, owned by her and husband Fred Mertz on East 68th Street. The role of Fred was played by William Frawley, who was 22 years her senior. While the actors shared great comedic and musical chemistry on-screen, they did not get along in real life. According to some reports, things first went sour when Frawley overheard Vance complaining about his age, stating that he should be playing her father rather than her husband. She used to skim through the script to see how many scenes she had with that "stubborn-headed little Irishman." Others recall that Frawley loathed Vance practically on sight. Vance, in turn, was put off by Frawley''s cantankerous ways, in addition to his age.
There were very few people who got to Lucy on an emotional level. Lucy was very tough but as the cliche goes, soft on the inside. She had been in the business for decades before "I love Lucy" and she had the scars to prove it.%0D\
Vivian Vance was probably the person Lucy was the most connected to for the longest period of her life outside of her family. Both of them had issues, but they both knew they were a huge part of the others success.%0D\
Lucy praised Vance publicly and often, the only other people she offered unqualifed public praise to the writers of I Love Lucy. Desi got some qualified praise, but Vivian Vance was her rock for many many years.%0D\
Frawley was reportedly difficult--didn''t like to rehearse, only read his own dialogue out of every script so he never understood or cared about the plots, was rude to everyone, drank himself silly on his down time.\
The weight gain story came from a gag contract Lucy drew up for a party for Vivian''s birthday, which stated she had to stay twenty pounds overweight.
"When Frawley passed, Vivian and her husband were at a restaurant eating dinner. Upon hearing the news, she ordered champagne for everyone."\
Back in the 1970s when the 25th Anniversary of I Love Lucy was being celebrated, many stars took out ads in the trade papers congratulating Lucy. Vivian took a full page ad in Variety and quoted, "A wise man once said, hitch your wagon to a star- I did and I am satisfied." What a gracious and moving testament to their bond.
That''s not totally true, r61. Because of Frawley''s rep, Desi had warned him ahead of time that if he caught him drinking while they were working even once, he''d be fired.\
Frawley wanted the job badly, so he agreed. And Desi said Frawley never did drink - not on his down time at all. He''d go home and get blotto, but would be totally sober during the shows.\
Frawley wasn''t rude to everyone - primarily it was to Viv. He had overheard her complaining about being cast "opposite an old man" sometime during the taping of the first couple of episodes, and that was it - he hated her, she hated him.
[quote]Vivian Vance was her rock for many many years. \
And looked like one, too.
Lucille Ball felt a closeness to all three of her I Love Lucy co-stars. William Frawley''s last on-screen appearance was on an episode of The Lucy Show.
Every time I see this thread title, I read "Vince Vaughn''s Mental Illness" which may be more apropos these days.%0D\
Dealing with Lucy''s abuse and inflated ego would be enough to make anyone nuts.
I''ve always thought Bill Frawley was probably gay. Any stories?
Hey R6, I heard that Frawley was gay and he had a hard time dealing with being gay so he drank a lot because of his issues. \
I heard Frawley used to refer to Vivian "as that fat ass"\
As Desi as "the Cuban bastard" \
And Lucy as "the Redheaded Bitch."\
He was a miserable man. He lived with his sister, and he just like to watch baseball on TV all the time.
I read somewhere that Frawley would "rip pages of dialogue" from the script and refuse to do it. I guess that''s why his lines mostly consisted of him saying, stupidly, "What do you mean?"%0D\
I wonder if Vivian ever got a piece of Desi? It''s funny to watch some of the scenes and see Ethel interacting, physically, with Ricky more than Lucy does. Whenever she has the chance she drapes her arm around Ricky or looks into his eyes all lustfully and stuff.
Frawley may have been cantankerous and even a drunk (who wasn't in those days?) but was widely known as a hilarious and reliable character actor much like William Demarest and Allen Jenkins and a few others, seen in countless classic Capra, Sturges, Hawks and other Golden Age comedies. They were funny but also very real. %0D
After the demise of ILL, Frawley was hired by former Paramount costar Fred MacMurray for his new series My Three Sons until eventually replaced after his death by who else?....William Demarest.%0D
Vivian's fragile mental state was truly tested by her unprecedented fame as dowdy neighbor Ethel Mertz. She felt she was nothing like Ethel in real life and suddeny in middle age, found herself constantly assaulted by adoring fans identifying her as Ethel....no wonder she had to write down her real name and carry it around with her in a purse. %0D
There was always the extreme psychological conflict of becoming not only famous but wealthy from a charcterization she detested. %0D
R38, I love the operetta episode. It''s one of my favorites.
my fav. ep is the willian holden one. priceless
My fav ep is "Ethel and Lucy Go to a Gang Bang."\
Lucy had all of her old Hollywood leading men guest on that one. It''s also the episode where Ethel renews her vows with Fred.
W and W for r65
r75 there is always one who spoils the thread, thanks...
[quote]I read somewhere that Frawley would "rip pages of dialogue" from the script and refuse to do it.\
Go back and read again. Frawley NEVER refused to do dialogue. The pages he ripped from his script were all the scenes he wasn''t in. He only bothered to read his scenes. Of course, at the table read he''d hear the entire script before the started blocking.
[italic]"When Frawley passed, Vivian and her husband were at a restaurant eating dinner. Upon hearing the news, she ordered champagne for everyone."\
Doesn''t this sound like a bit of a tall tale? It''s jut too perfect. It''s a "let them eat cake" situation. Never happened. Never said.
God, she looks even ancient there! Not one close-up.
the original case of crone''s disease
There are plenty of I Love Lucy episodes where Lucy looks fatter than Vivian (and I don''t mean the pregnant episodes). Vivian was voluptuous and had a nice figure. A little plump, but shapely.
R45, your quote at r6 was probably said by Bill Frawley. He hated Viv and was known to say some nasty things to her. \
I don''t doubt that, as funny as Lucy was, she wa probably a bitter bitch. Comedians seem to be quite bitter.
In the LUCY-DESI COMEDY HOUR series, Viv had it in her contract to have a more attractive and stylish wardrobe than she was given in I LOVE LUCY.
Bill Frawley was known for refering to Vivian Vance as "That old C U Next Tuesday"
I read that Frawley had a flatulence problem....I suspect that would factor in to Vance''s hating him so much.
Tallulah Bankhead called Viv "Cunty" when she guest-starred because she couldn''t remember her name.
went mad after eating 10 pounds of cheese on a flight back from Europe.
"I remember ''I Love Lucy'' as the biggest rip-off of my life. Back when Lucy ran Desilu Studios, she had a sign on her desk that said "THE BUCK STOPS HERE." And she meant it."\
-- Vivian Vance
Viv and Tallulah loved each other. They knew each other from their theatre days. It was Viv who told Tallu how much she liked her coat, and Tallu said "Do you? You can have it" and took it off, revealing she was stark naked underneath.
Earth to Tillie, Earth to Tillie..come in Tillie
Vivian Vance and Eve Arden had a fling while they were in the same Broadway Show together.
I don''t think that''s true, r93. Viv loved the cock too much. She was probably half the chorus boys.
r92, you got it wrong! It''s "Ethel to Tillie ... Ethel to Tillie ... come in, Tillie!"
[quote]She was probably half the chorus boys.%0D\
She wasn''t THAT fat!
I loved Viv. Everyone has their down side. We are all humans. I have Lucy last movie Stone Pillow. I'm from the area Lucy is from. I once read that Viv had to dress down so as not be as pretty as Lucy. RIP Viv!!!
Any woman who marries a gay man can't be all bad.
[quote] I heard Frawley used to refer to Vivian "as that fat ass"
I read pretty much the same thing. After her comments about his age, Frawley referred to her as "ol' fat ass" (if he was in a good mood) or "that cunt" (if he wasn't).
It was very important to Desi Arnaz (personally and as an artistic issue) that Lucy appear glamorous in every appearance; he regarded her as a trophy, altho in private life he cheated on her constantly. I suspect the instructions that Vance appear frumpy to set off Lucy's beauty came from Desi.
It must be said that Vivian Vance ADORED Desi Arnaz, and for good reason. He found her as a nobody, doing summer stock, and he made her a bonafide TV star.
Notice that on the "Lucy" series later Vance was made to appear very attractive, even down to her hair color (which had been awful, even in black-and-white film.)
It was Lucy who had the issues around anyone in the show looking better than she did. She was willing to put up with it, if it had to with the plot, but otherwise...not so much. She was actually upset that the makeup people put false eyelashes on Vivian.
I am SICKENED by so much of what I have read on here.. I just so happen to OWN Vivian Vance's former home and its is a bucolic, spiritual and loved home- in the book about Vivian's life she writes about hme much she loved this home.... she was a truly gifted and beautiful woman who gave freely and openly to mental health causes and evoked change here in Connecticut as an advocate for mental health. All of you ignorant morons clearly do not have an ounce of integrity or respect for Vivian... which IS who she was...
Melissa Paige Leigh
R105 = Bill Frawley's sister. What a cunt.
[quote] I imagine the walk from 623 East 68th Street to the Lexington Ave. subway would have driven anyone mad!
It would also have gotten anyone wet.
Quite apart from any emotional problems, Vivian Vance's mental problems included stupidity. She herself reported that upon hearing a rumor that she was a lesbian, she went to her psychiatrist to ask whether it was true.
In 'Lucy Calls the President', Vance had a stroke so is always filmed from the one side that wasn't palayzed. She died shortly before the special premiered. Also, Lucy's mom died in the audience when they were filming 'Lucy Calls the President', and would be inconsolable in between takes. Her distress is clearly evident even in the filmed scenes. Still, it's bittersweet because it was the last time Lucy, Gail, Vance and the lady who played Mary Jane would appear together.
She didn't just "play" Mary Jane, she WAS Mary Jane - Mary Jane Croft. She also played Betty Ramsey, Cynthia Harcourt, and the woman on the plane in the Cheese Baby episode.
[quote]In 'Lucy Calls the President', Vance had a stroke so is always filmed from the one side that wasn't palayzed.
R108 is just making shit up.
Lucille was NOT mean. You queens are quite terrible.
She made me cry! I was terrified of that bitch!
Vivan Vance was the one who told Lucie Arnaz, she better stick to Broadway, 'cause she wasn't good enough for TV (and implied movies too)
She hated William Frawley, 'cause he used to make advances to her and she call him "Grandpa Fats"
Lucy hated her because Desi Sr used to lust after her, that's why Lucy made sure Vance was alawys a frump and required her to stay overweight. That's why she asked Vance to be in her second show, so that she could keep an eye on her
Lucy loved Vivian, but she definitely called the shots in that relationship. Vance was only 2 years older than Lucy herself, so Lucy demanded she be made more dowdy and saddled with a husband old enough to be her father.
Vance hated Frawley as a consequence of being forced to play much older than her real age; and he never made advances on her. He was a functioning alcoholic and all he cared about was his booze and the racing form. You can see his hands shaking in a lot of scenes. That said, he never screwed up a scene and always knew his lines.
There is no actual 623 E 68th Street to walk from. E 68th Street ends at 600.
Has anyone here been on the stage in a performance and totally blanked out, forgot their lines for a few seconds (which seems like a longer time), then you eventually are ok and you continue with the performance?
Happened to me once!
This could also be a new thread, if someone wants to start one.
(I can see how someone could have a breakdown on stage!)
[quote]That's why she asked Vance to be in her second show, so that she could keep an eye on her
Load of bull. Lucy and Desi were divorced by the time "The Lucy Show" came along.
Anyone who watches ILL can see that VV was not fat, at least in the early years. She was built differently than Lucy -- Lucy was classic ectomorph (tall and thin), while Viv was a mesomorph (shorter, with broader shoulders and hips and a sturdy bone structure).
She was certainly heavier than today's standard, which requires all women to be nearly anorexic, but she was not fat by the standard of the time or by medical standards of what people realistically should weigh, though in The Lucy Show in her later years she was a few pounds overweight, but even Lucy was no longer rail thin at that point.
Also, regarding the urban legend that Lucy and Viv hated each other, I remember seeing them together on an afternoon talk show (Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin or Dinah Shore?) very late in Viv's life -- probably mid-'70s -- and they clearly were great friends.
They were having too much fun reminiscing and telling stories for there to have been an actual feud.
One of the stories I remember was about how they would color each other's hair every month at Lucy's house, and Viv would put Lucy's henna on for her and Lucy would do the bleach on Viv's hair.
And iirc, it was during the time when Lucy's kids were teenagers, and the kids somehow figured into the story.
I remember being surprised they didn't have hairdressers do it for them, but they both acted as if it was something they did all the time.
Of course the story may have been exaggerated, as it played up the image of Lucy and Viv having wacky things happen to them while they're just trying to do something rather ordinary, but it seemed authentic enough in context, and they interrupted each other to tell the story together, which in my mind made it clear they were friends and not bitter enemies who only pretended to be friends for professional reasons.
[quote]Vivan Vance was the one who told Lucie Arnaz, she better stick to Broadway, 'cause she wasn't good enough for TV (and implied movies too)
Well, that's a lie. In reality, it was almost the opposite - Vivian revered the stage and stage actors and was proud of having come from the theatre. She told Lucie that she was good enough for Broadway and urged her to seek stage work. When Lucie got the Michelle Lee part in the tour of "Seesaw," Vivian came to see her on opening night and came rushing backstage and say "See? I told you! You're a stage star!"
William Frawley was in show business for a very long time before ILL showed up. You can usually find him in very old 30/40's films playing one of the henchmen or sidekicks of the stars of the films. He changed very little over the years, having a mostly bald head all that time.
I love the episodes of ILL that showcase Fred singing a little song and doing a little dance. The Mertz and Kurtz epi is one of my favorites because you can see Frawley really enjoying himself, getting to interact with one of his old friends instead of the rest of the ILL cast. He came from an era where actors had to be able to do a little bit of everything and he learned his craft very well.
When Bill is doing one of his song and dance numbers, you can see Desi is really enjoying watching him. I guess my favorite number from Bill is when he is doing "When the Red, Red Robin" while auditioning for a part in one of the shows. To shut him up, Ethel finally has to join in with him and slowly guide him right out the door. There is a little bit right when she is pulling him towards the door where he kind of trips on something, but he never breaks stride, just gives the impediment a little look and goes right on singing.
Vivian also showed up as a buddy to "Rhoda" for a few shows, but she died soon afterwards.
If you've worked in show biz for a long time (as I have) you know that old character actors are the worst breed. Most are grumpy, jaded, cantankerous and stubborn and just want to be left alone.
So Bill Frawley was very typical of his kind.
I think he was a bit happier doing My Three Sons because the pace of filming a sitcom was a little easier by the 1960s and the show wasn't shot in front of a live audience as it had been with I Love Lucy.
Miss Tina Cole
[quote]and she call him "Grandpa Fats"
No it was grandpa farts.
Frawley was such a drunk it wouldn't matter, r121,
R113, Lucie talks about this in the "Lucy Show" DVDs. She says that Vance encouraged her to go into the theater so that she could have a broader career. On TV, she'd only be known as Lucy's daughter, but onstage, she could be known as Lucie Arnaz.
She said she asked her why Vivian herself would want a broader career. After all, she was Ethel Mertz. Vance replied, "Exactly."
r118 -- the girls had probably gotten used to doing their hair at home when they were coming up during the 1920's and the Depression. In later years maybe they wanted to do the dirty work themselves to avoid gossiping studio and salon operators who would tell everyone what they really looked like with no makeup and gook on their hair.
That makes sense, R125, and I could be wrong, but I believe Lucy said she'd had a shampoo bowl installed in her house like a private "beauty shop," so it also makes sense that they would continue using it for convenience rather than go to a salon.
BTW, one other thing that surprised me about that story was that having always watched ILL in black and white, I thought of Viv as being gray-haired, even though she wasn't really that old.
When Lucy said they used bleach on Viv's hair, it made me realize she must have been blonde, though of course a lot of people who bleached their hair thought of themselves as blonde, when actually the bleach and toner they used made them silver/gray.
In all these years I've never thought of Ethel Mertz's hair as any shade but blonde.
Me too, r127. And Viv was a natural blonde. All the bleaching was to come up with a color that was complimentary (in the black and white) to Lucy's. Viv was naturally a darker blonde and they thought that was reading too close to Lucy's red in black and white tones. In the first half of the first season, Ethel has varying shades of blonde - while they were trying to get it right.
Viv and Bill were the best second bananna ever
Yeah, I was depressed. So? Who wouldn't be? We all were, but I did something about it, and talked about it. I got over it.
What you're talking about, OP, is how for years I said that that drunk-ass, miserable, controlling redhead was driving me fucking nuts.
Now that's another thing entirely.
Poor old Viv.
Where did "Nertz to Mertz" come from and what does it mean?
I loved the I love Lucy episodes. I watched a 3 day marathon on comedy gold this past weekend with my husband and 16 year old daughter. She laughed so much and told me how much she loved old comedies.
I bought the series at Target for super cheap and have enjoyed seeing it again after many years.
Remember the Hudson Twins where Lucy baby sits and they tie her to the stake and are about to burn her?
They weren't twins and David Stollery went on to design the 1978 Toyota Celica and was an auto design engineer for 22 years.
I'm also surprised that F&E aren't in all of the first episodes.
Sad that Singleton, who played the Caroyln Appleby character has passed.
Please keep in mind, as you read these tales of Hollywood stars by "in the know" Dataloungers, that this is the place where a poster declared his cousin drove past the scene of the Wrong Way Minivan Mom accident and saw the Minivan Mom get out of her van and hop around on her one remaining leg.
To the victors (Lucille Ball) go the spoils ("Her Viv" was nuts.)
r16 made me laugh
Desi was a HUGE pussey hound!!! Lucy was sad and angry on the set
I believe r93
Even more important, r134, David Stollery went on to portray "Marty" of "Spin and Marty" fame. A show I never missed as a kid.
I wonder if the tension between Viv and Bill is somewhat exaggerated just to make the backstory more interesting. Sort of like the dislike of Betty by Bea. I never really bought that either.
If Bill hated Viv so much, why in the world would he even consider doing a spinoff of Fred and Ethel in their own show? Makes no sense. Please don't tell me because he needed the money. Bill was around show business forever and I am pretty sure he had a nice, healthy bank account stashed away.
[quote] Sort of like the dislike of Betty by Bea.
I actually thought you were referring to Bea Benederet (originally offered the "Ethel Mertz" role) having a dislike for voicing her most famous character "Betty Rubble"!
Is David Stollery gay? Is he still with us
When was there talk of a Fred and Ethel spin-off?
According to the Other Side of Ethel Mertz book, Desi wanted to spin Fred and Ethel off into their own series when the Ricardos moved to Connecticut. The Mertzes were going to remain in their apartment building with new supporting characters. Vance didn't want to do it, and when Frawley found out, he never spoke to her again except to exchange lines on the set.
r97, the store where Lucy slept on her stone pillow was a pet shop when the film was made. Now it's Magnolia Bakery made famous by SATC.
She married a 'mo what more did she need to drive her over the edge?
It seems that Vivian Vance didn't work on any other projects all those years of ILL and then the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours.....essentially all throughout the 1950s. And she didn't do much of anything else before turning up as Lucy's sidekick on Here's Lucy.
If she was so worried about being typecast as Ethel, why didn't she attempt other more challenging roles during the series' downtime?
Is it possible she wasn't offered anything meaty (other than Desi's cock, that is)?
Didn't know about Vivian Vance's mental illness, but being an "I love Lucy fan, I have a DVD that talks about the show, Desi and Llucy's relationship as well as the other members of the cast. One of the footnotes on this DVD was ................at a birthday party for Vivian Vance, Lucy arrived with a new contract that was meant as a gag gift. One of the stipulations in that'mock contract' was Vivian alway had to weight 10 lbs. more than Lucille Ball. As stated, it was meant as a gag, but the word got out as a truth that Vivan Vance had to sign into her contract.
She was a nice lady. I was a courier for the studios back then and the way I got treated was like night and day between them. Vivian was always nice. Lucy was every bit the bitch people say she was. Is it true that Lucy made Vivian gain 20 lbs. on the show so that Lucy would look better than her? I have heard this many times.
Lucille Ball was going to go to a psychiatrist but Gary Morton talked her out of it.
Please view the clip showing Vivian Vance winning the 1953 Best Supporting Actress Emmy. Anyone with eyes can see that it puts the lie to all that nonsense about friction between Lucy and Viv. They were clearly loving, best friends and no amount of vicious second-hand gossip changes that. Deal with it, bitches.
She was performing in "The Voice of the Turtle" when she began having her nervous breakdown to quote Vance herself: "Quite frankly: I flipped". She said that she was to pick up a prop, but couldn't get her body to do it. She made it through the performance, but had a full breakdown right after. Ironically, she was performing the same play at the La Jolla Playhouse when, on the reccomendation of director marc Davis, Desi Arnaz saw her one night and offered her the part of Ethel Mertz.
How odd. In r151's clip it appears as if Lucy and Vivian came in costume as Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz! Those simple day dresses look awfully familiar! Maybe it was a luncheon, but nobody looks dressed for an evening event!
Viv's pussy was magic!
155 posts and nobody has addressed the rumor that it was in Vivian's contract that she had to weigh more than Lucy?
Vivian was wonderful on Rhoda, of course Ida was jealous.
R162 that is Liz Smith.
[quote]And she didn't do much of anything else before turning up as Lucy's sidekick on Here's Lucy.
She wasn't Lucy's sidekick on "Here's Lucy"--that was "The Lucy Show." There really wasn't a regular sidekick on HL; she had her two kids (Lucie for the full run of the series and Desi Jr. for the first few seasons) and Gale Gordon. Mary Jane Croft was the most often-seen "sidekick," but she was never a regular.
Vivian Vance did make a few appearances on HL as "Aunt Viv," visiting from "back east.
R170, Look how much nicer Joan Rivers looked before all that dreadful plastic surgery she had done. she should have left her face alone.
I always thought that VV was the classier of the LB-VV team. Lucy always seemed like such a bitch in real life. But I guess being married to that SOB Desi Arnaz didn't help matters.
I wonder why the Mertzes never had children.
Infertility? Fred's giant pants?
After the wedding night, Ethel had sufficient.
[quote]I wonder why the Mertzes never had children.
Who says we didn't? You know what a white infant goes for on the black market?
WAS VV in a short lived series set on a dude ranch, after ILL? I seem to remember reading this. It was Desilu produced. Any of you TV experts know if this is true?
Lucille herself almost had a mental illness but Gary Morton talked her out of it.
Yes, R178, it was called Guestward Ho! and it was based on a comic novel by Patrick Dennis, the author of Auntie Mame.
Was Vivian really from a western state, like Ethel was from N.M.?
I always wonder who inherits the $$$ of celebrities who die without children...in this case, was a husband still alive and did he get it?
Anyone know if Lucie and Desi Jr. are really that wealthy from their parents work--or if in today's money, they are well off but not really rich?
She was born in Kansas but grew up in Albuquerque.
My made up backstory was that Fred married Ethel because she was pregnant. But wanting a career in Vaudeville, Ethel had a back alley botched abortion and told Fred that she miscarried. The botched abortion is why she couldn't conceive. At some point Fred found out about the abortion and that caused the animosity in their marriage.
Eileen Heckart's son Luke Yankee, a good stage director and a gay man, wrote a sweet biography about his mother. Vivian Vance was a neighbor in Connecticut when Luke was growing up. He said that she was one of his parents' favorite people, and one of his favorites as well. He described her as very much like Ethel Mertz -- warm, open, funny, down-to-earth, straightforward, and loving -- but wordlier, prettier, and more glamorous.
I saw an interview with Lucie Arnaz (perhaps on the Archives of Academy Television website) in which she said that she "adored" Vivian Vance and that she was a "member of the family." Vivian, she said, was always "in and out of the house" when Lucie and Desi Jr. were kids and that after Vivian moved to the East Coast, she stayed with the family whenever she came to LA -- at least once a year for many years.
Vivian's mother was an abusive, religious whack job. She did a number on Viv, the whole devil is going to make you a whore relig Carrie's mother insanity. So Viv had a lot of childhood pathology that was in direct conflict with the life of an actress.
I wonder if all her mental issues were born from her being a profoundly closeted lesbian. With all her psychoanalysis, Vivian certainly viewed herself as damaged goods of some sort.
Also, was Bill Frawley gay? He was married once, to a vaudeville partner. They separated after seven years then divorced. After that he was an irascible bachelor who loved baseball, barbershop singing, and booze. He exemplified what they used to call a woman-hater.
It wouldn't surprise me if the lack of affection between Vance and Frawley was that of a repressed lesbian and a drunken old gay grump. On a possibly related note, Ann B. Davis loathed being teamed up with Rip Taylor in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
Viv and Lucille behaved like a couple of dykes in heat!