Alcohol, infidelity, “communist” quarrels: Lucille Ball’s secret misfortune

Decades later, when a University of Nebraska researcher obtained FBI files on Ball and Arnaz using a freedom of information request, it emerged that the FBI had collected a 149-page file on Ball (seven pages were blacked out, content became but blackened). of which remain secret), along with a 206-page dossier on Arnaz. It appears that FBI chief Edgar J. Hoover was personally interested in her case. Many of the files are marked as “confidential” and addressed to Hoover with the note “according to your request”. He was particularly interested in Arnaz’s police records on public drunkenness and resistance to arrest.

In the end, Congress dropped all lawsuits against Ball and accepted her statement that she had registered as a communist just to appease her ailing grandfather. She also reassured the committee by telling them that she had voted for Republican President Dwight D Eisenhower in 1952. Arnaz made it easy, joking that Ball’s hair was “the only red thing on her, and even that is illegitimate”.

After the dispute over the “red” claims subsided, I Love Lucy became increasingly popular. It attracted more than 67 million viewers at its peak and won five Emmy Awards including Best Situation Comedy (1953 and 1954) and Best Actress (Lucille Ball, 1956). Everything seemed to be going perfectly when Ball and Arnaz publicly announced the impending arrival of their second child, Desi Arnaz Jr. Although this baby plot was introduced in I Love Lucy, censorship banned actors from using the word “pregnant” on shows (they had to say “expecting”).

Outside of the camera, however, there was little to see of the domestic harmony enjoyed by the American public through their television screens. “We were anything but Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. They had nothing to do with us, ”Arnaz admitted. “We dreamed of success, fame and fortune. And guess what? It all led to hell. “

Both had numerous affairs, sometimes with other high profile actors, and their dysfunctional marriage was an open secret in Hollywood. Milton Berle is quoted in the words of the book by Porter and Danforth Prince: “These two had a stormy marriage from day one. Lucille accused Desi of cheating, but she did too, despite denying everything. During the run of I Love Lucy, it was hell. Often they only spoke to each other in front of the camera. “

Both stars have been cast in a bad light by other comments from Hollywood insiders. Actor Roger C Carmel, who starred in I Love Lucy, said, “Desi Arnaz was a Lech. Anything female, between the ages of 13 and 30, would be pursued, ”while Ball’s friend Kay Vaughn said that Ball was also unfaithful and that“ if a man is handsome, he has a damn good chance of getting somewhere. ”

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