Serving up this steaming pile of
Celebrity Gossip
Gay Politics
Gay News
and Pointless Bitchery
Since 1995

Vivian Vance''s Mental Illness

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 19102/12/2016

I never knew that. Vivian Vance = Ethel?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 110/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 210/18/2010

Working with Lucy would drive any nuts!!!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 310/18/2010

She certainly had a fixation on the icebox.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 410/18/2010

Frankly my darling, I don't give a damn.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 510/18/2010

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."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 610/18/2010

She belonged to a small group of actors who actually had a nervous breakdown on stage. It must have been horrible.%0D %0D I always assumed that she suffered from depression

by Nertz To Mertzreply 710/18/2010

what play r7?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 810/18/2010

gosh, I don't. It was early in her career

by Nertz To Mertzreply 910/18/2010

Why did she marry two gay guys (or was it one)?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1010/18/2010

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?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1110/18/2010

she prob wanted a companion without the bullshit. i can see that.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1210/18/2010

That Lucy was a vicious little viper, wasn't she?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1310/18/2010

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

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1410/18/2010

But was it on stage R14?%0D %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 %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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1510/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1610/18/2010

Oh Viv or it is%0D %0D Ethel open the cabinet%0D %0D Thorazine break time

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1710/18/2010

I LOVE ethel!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1810/18/2010

Ethel Mae Potter of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 1910/18/2010

I imagine the walk from 623 East 68th Street to the Lexington Ave. subway would have driven anyone mad!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2010/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2110/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2210/18/2010

Poor dear. She could never remember if her middle name was Louise, Mae or Roberta.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2310/18/2010

We never forgot her!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2410/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2510/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2610/18/2010

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."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2710/18/2010

I bet she wore really big bloomers.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2810/18/2010

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 2910/18/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3010/18/2010

Vivian Vance's Mental Illness would make a good name for a gay Rock Band.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3110/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3210/19/2010

[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 %0D Bullshit. No matter how many times the urban legend is repeated, it remains bullshit.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3310/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3410/19/2010

Marry me, R34--you posted my favorite VV quote.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3510/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3610/19/2010

Sounds like Vivvy liked the ruff trade.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3710/19/2010

Viv shakes her shimmy as Lily of the Valley

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3810/19/2010

I love that clip! Especially when she points to the valley 'over there'

by Nertz To Mertzreply 3910/19/2010

I'm glad they got along. Nice to know two talented women can cooperate.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4010/19/2010

[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).

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4110/19/2010

I love a hilarious anti-Lucy story, but R6 is lying. Unless, of course, R6 would like to link us to the proof?%0D %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 %0D

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4210/19/2010

"Lucy made Vivian gain weight, and ware dumpy, dowdy clothes ..."%0D %0D Ware?%0D %0D Oh, dear.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4310/19/2010

If the "gay guys" were married to her they weren't gay.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4410/19/2010

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 %0D also: was frawley hard to work with? i'm just wondering about the "fuck bill frawley."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4510/19/2010

When Frawley passed, Vivian and her husband were at a restaurant eating dinner. Upon hearing the news, she ordered champagne for everyone.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4610/19/2010

oh snap!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4710/19/2010

I'm sure Vivian knew what a great gig she had and Lucy knew she had the best supporting player in the business

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4810/19/2010

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 4910/19/2010

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."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5010/19/2010

I totally read this as Vince Vaughn's mental illness....thought ya'll were just being bitchy with the she stuff.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5110/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5210/19/2010

spank me instead, please...

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5310/19/2010

"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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5410/19/2010

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

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5510/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5610/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5710/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5810/19/2010

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."[3] 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.[4]

by Nertz To Mertzreply 5910/19/2010

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 %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 %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 %0D

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6010/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6110/19/2010

"When Frawley passed, Vivian and her husband were at a restaurant eating dinner. Upon hearing the news, she ordered champagne for everyone."


by Nertz To Mertzreply 6210/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6310/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6410/19/2010

[quote]Vivian Vance was her rock for many many years. And looked like one, too.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6510/19/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6610/19/2010

Every time I see this thread title, I read "Vince Vaughn's Mental Illness" which may be more apropos these days.%0D %0D

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6710/19/2010

Dealing with Lucy's abuse and inflated ego would be enough to make anyone nuts.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6810/21/2010

I've always thought Bill Frawley was probably gay. Any stories?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 6910/24/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7010/24/2010

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 %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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7110/24/2010

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 %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 %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 wonder she had to write down her real name and carry it around with her in a purse. %0D %0D There was always the extreme psychological conflict of becoming not only famous but wealthy from a charcterization she detested. %0D %0D

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7210/24/2010

R38, I love the operetta episode. It's one of my favorites.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7310/24/2010

my fav. ep is the willian holden one. priceless

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7410/24/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7510/24/2010

W and W for r65

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7610/24/2010

r75 there is always one who spoils the thread, thanks...

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7710/24/2010

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7810/24/2010

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 7910/24/2010

24-year old Viv at 5:45.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8010/24/2010

God, she looks even ancient there! Not one close-up.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8110/24/2010

the original case of crone's disease

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8210/24/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8310/24/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8410/24/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8510/25/2010

Bill Frawley was known for refering to Vivian Vance as "That old C U Next Tuesday"

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8610/25/2010

I read that Frawley had a flatulence problem....I suspect that would factor in to Vance's hating him so much.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8710/25/2010

Tallulah Bankhead called Viv "Cunty" when she guest-starred because she couldn't remember her name.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8810/25/2010

went mad after eating 10 pounds of cheese on a flight back from Europe.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 8910/25/2010

"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

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9010/25/2010

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9110/25/2010

Earth to Tillie, Earth to Tillie..come in Tillie

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9210/26/2010

Vivian Vance and Eve Arden had a fling while they were in the same Broadway Show together.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9310/26/2010

I don't think that's true, r93. Viv loved the cock too much. She was probably half the chorus boys.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9410/27/2010

r92, you got it wrong! It's "Ethel to Tillie ... Ethel to Tillie ... come in, Tillie!"

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9510/27/2010

[quote]She was probably half the chorus boys.%0D %0D She wasn't THAT fat!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9610/27/2010

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!!!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9701/24/2012

Any woman who marries a gay man can't be all bad.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9801/24/2012

[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).

by Nertz To Mertzreply 9901/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10001/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10101/24/2012

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.)

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10201/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10301/24/2012

I love this photo of her.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10401/24/2012

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...

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10503/24/2012

R105 = Bill Frawley's sister. What a cunt.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10603/24/2012

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10703/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10803/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 10903/24/2012

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11003/24/2012

Lucille was NOT mean. You queens are quite terrible.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11103/24/2012

She made me cry! I was terrified of that bitch!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11203/24/2012

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

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11303/24/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11403/24/2012

There is no actual 623 E 68th Street to walk from. E 68th Street ends at 600.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11503/24/2012

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!)

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11603/25/2012

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11703/25/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11803/25/2012

[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!"

by Nertz To Mertzreply 11903/25/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12003/25/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12103/25/2012

[quote]and she call him "Grandpa Fats"

No it was grandpa farts.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12203/25/2012

Frawley was such a drunk it wouldn't matter, r121,

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12303/25/2012

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."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12403/25/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12503/26/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12603/26/2012

In all these years I've never thought of Ethel Mertz's hair as any shade but blonde.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12703/26/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12803/26/2012

Viv and Bill were the best second bananna ever

by Nertz To Mertzreply 12903/26/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13003/26/2012

Poor old Viv.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13105/08/2012

Where did "Nertz to Mertz" come from and what does it mean?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13206/17/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13307/01/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13407/01/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13507/01/2012

To the victors (Lucille Ball) go the spoils ("Her Viv" was nuts.)

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13607/01/2012

r16 made me laugh

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13707/01/2012

[post by racist shit-stain removed.]

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13807/01/2012

[post by racist shit-stain removed.]

by Nertz To Mertzreply 13907/01/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14007/01/2012

[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"!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14107/01/2012

Is David Stollery gay? Is he still with us

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14207/01/2012

When was there talk of a Fred and Ethel spin-off?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14307/02/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14407/02/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14507/02/2012

She married a 'mo what more did she need to drive her over the edge?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14607/02/2012

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)?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14707/02/2012

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 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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14807/03/2012

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 14904/02/2013

Lucille Ball was going to go to a psychiatrist but Gary Morton talked her out of it.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15004/02/2013

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15104/02/2013

So is Vyvanse named after her? It's an ADHD drug.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15204/02/2013

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15305/03/2013

Ethel and Lucy are hams. They're so funny.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15408/08/2013

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!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15508/08/2013

Viv's pussy was magic!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15608/08/2013

155 posts and nobody has addressed the rumor that it was in Vivian's contract that she had to weigh more than Lucy?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15708/08/2013


by Nertz To Mertzreply 15808/08/2013

This is the clip where they talk about dying their hair and the infamous contract.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 15908/08/2013

That was a sweet clip, r159. And Viv's glasses were (there is no other word but this cliche) FIERCE.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16008/08/2013

"Im gonna learn to love that bitch."

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16108/08/2013

the last picture ever taken of Vivian before she died.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16208/08/2013

Are you sure r162? That does not look anything like her.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16308/08/2013

That is not Vivian. That picture is recent.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16408/08/2013

All of you have a mental illness,sick cocksuckers!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16508/09/2013

The link identifies r162 as DL fave, Liz Smith.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16608/09/2013

That is Liz smith

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16708/09/2013

Oh, Liz. Tone down the garish lipstick.

Why do women do that to themselves?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16808/09/2013

More funny stories about Vance and Frawley here:

by Nertz To Mertzreply 16909/02/2013

Funny this popped up.. I just happen to watch a video clip of Vivian Vance on the Joan Rivers show in 1969 last night. I always thought she was a classy delightful lady. God bless her.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17009/02/2013

Vivian was wonderful on Rhoda, of course Ida was jealous.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17103/08/2015

R162 that is Liz Smith.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17203/08/2015

[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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17303/08/2015

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17403/08/2015

I wonder why the Mertzes never had children.

Infertility? Fred's giant pants?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17503/08/2015

After the wedding night, Ethel had sufficient.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17603/08/2015

[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?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17703/08/2015

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?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17803/08/2015

Lucille herself almost had a mental illness but Gary Morton talked her out of it.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 17903/08/2015

Yes, R178, it was called Guestward Ho! and it was based on a comic novel by Patrick Dennis, the author of Auntie Mame.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18003/08/2015

Mysteries and Scandals - Vivian Vance

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18103/08/2015

Thanks R180.

Was Vivian really from a western state, like Ethel was from N.M.?

I always wonder who inherits the $$$ of celebrities who die without 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?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18203/08/2015

She was born in Kansas but grew up in Albuquerque.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18303/08/2015

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18403/08/2015

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18503/08/2015

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18604/21/2015

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.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18704/21/2015

Viv and Lucille behaved like a couple of dykes in heat!

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18804/22/2015

Did you know that Vivian Vance was John Sebastian's godmother and a close friend of his mother Jane Sebastian, whose name Vance mentioned on a number of episodes?

by Nertz To Mertzreply 18905/31/2015

R159 that clip made me tear up.

by Nertz To Mertzreply 19005/31/2015


by Nertz To Mertzreply 19102/12/2016
Need more help? Click Here.

Follow theDL catch up on what you missed

recent threads by topic delivered to your email

follow popular threads on twitter

follow us on facebook

Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!