I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz married for a period of time. During that time, the television stars gave birth to two children. Both of these children had children of their own. And those children have gone on to lead interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking, lives. Join Facts Verse as we explore heartbreaking details about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s grandchildren.
I Love Lucy fans will likely already be familiar with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s first son, Desi Arnaz Jr. The couple’s second child become a big part of their successful sitcom; as he went on to play the role of their baby on the screen. Because of this, Desi Jr.’s birth commemorated with a pre-recorded special that depicted the character of Lucy giving birth to her and Ricky’s first child.
Desi Jr. was born on January 19, 1953. And would go on to portray his parents’ on-screen child for many episodes. After appearing on I Love Lucy, Desi Jr. would go on to play his mother’s on-screen son once again. This occurred when Desi Jr. was a teenager, and his mother had begun production on Here’s Lucy. Sadly, growing up in this Hollywood atmosphere had a negative impact on Desi Jr. during his youth that led him down the path of drugs.
Legend has it that Desi Jr. liked to party during his teens. Around the same time that he got his role alongside his mother on Here’s Lucy. This lifestyle led to Desi Jr. getting a woman pregnant when he was only 15 years of age. Desi Jr. didn’t find out about his first child until many years later, when she was already an adult. However, he did everything within his power to develop a positive parental relationship with her once she found him.
Desi Jr.’s first child named Julia, and she was born to a woman named Suzanne Callahan-Howe. Apparently, Suzanne had always told Julia that she was the granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz; but Julia had never believed her. When Julia came of age, she took it upon herself to find out if what her mother had told her was true. As it turns out, it was!
Julia managed to track down her father in 1989. At the time, Lucille Ball had recently passed away. Because of this, it was too late for Julia to ever meet her famous grandmother. However, it wasn’t too late for her to develop a relationship with her father. Julia was able to convince Desi Jr. to consent to a paternity test. This was able to prove that Julia was, in fact, his child. From that moment on, Desi Jr. has taken every opportunity to be the father figure that he couldn’t be while she was growing up.
During the 1990s, Desi Jr. married a woman named Amy Bargiel and had a second daughter. Desi Jr.’s second daughter named Haley. Tragically, her mother died from cancer in 2015. However, that isn’t the only tragic cancer death that has occurred in the family. A few years later, Desi Jr. granddaughter would die from the disease, as well.
Julia Arnaz had a child, and that child also became incredibly close with Desi Jr. Julia’s child was named Desiree, and Desi Jr. treated her as if she was his own daughter. Given that Desi Jr. couldn’t be around Julia when she was growing up. He used the opportunity with Desiree to make up for it. Not only was Desi Jr. there for Desiree while she was growing up; but he also paid her way through college.
Sadly, Desiree recently passed away from breast cancer at the age of only 31. The loss was devastating for both Julia and Desi Jr. Desiree had been diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25. And managed to ward it off for a few years before eventually succumbing. Julia also recently lost her mother due to complications related to COVID-19.
After the loss of her daughter to breast cancer; Julia has become an advocate for women who are at risk for the disease. Julia has raised awareness for the early detection of breast cancer. She believes that if her daughter had been diagnosed sooner than she might not have passed away.
Desi Arnaz Jr. may be Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s most well-known child due to his intrinsic involvement in I Love Lucy; but he wasn’t the couple’s first. Around the time that they were developing their hit sitcom, the couple gave birth to their first child; a daughter by the name of Lucie.
After married for two decades, Lucille and Desi divorced in 1960. However, both of them remained consistent figures in their two children’s lives up until the time of their respective deaths. Like Desi Jr., Lucie Arnaz went on to portray her mother’s on-screen spawn on Here’s Lucy. As well, she featured on The Lucy Show, Lucille’s project before that. After Here’s Lucy ended in 1974, Lucie wanted to develop a career outside of her mother’s shadow.
Lucie began appearing in theater productions during the 1970s. and had worked her way up to Broadway by the end of the decade. In 1979, she made her Broadway debut in They’re Playing Our Song, which was a musical comedy written by Neil Simon. The show was an incredible success, running for more than 1,000 performances. Many years later, Lucie reunited with the cast for an anniversary concert of the show’s many songs, performed on Broadway.
After Lucie’s initial debut on Broadway, she was given many more acting opportunities. Although she never became as big of a star as her mother; she has still found plenty of success in the industry. In the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer, Lucie was cast opposite Neil Diamond. A few years later, Lucie made a notable return to Broadway by appearing in another Neil Simon play, this time called Lost In Yonkers.
After several successful turns in various mediums, Lucie given her own television show in the form of 1985’s The Lucie Arnaz Show. Sadly, the show wasn’t as successful as her mother’s many starring vehicles had been, although Lucie continued finding work on television over the following decades. Lucie has guest starred in many popular television series over the years, including Will & Grace, Law and Order, Murder, She Wrote, and Fantasy Island.
In 1980, Lucie married actor Laurence Luckinbill. The two met while performing in They’re Playing Our Song. Since their marriage, the two have had three children. As well, Lucie gained some stepchildren from Laurence’s previous marriage. Lucie’s three biological children are Simon, Joseph, and Katharine, while Nicholas and Benjamin are her two stepchildren. All in all, this makes a total of seven grandchildren for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Katharine was the youngest of Lucie’s three biological children, and she was born in 1985. She went on to attend school at the University of Miami, where she studied theater. However, Katharine never became a performer like her mom and grandmother. Instead, Katharine became a businesswoman.
In 1991, Lucie and Desi Jr. came together to form Desilu, Too LLC. Named after their parents’ production studio, Desilu, the LLC was created as a way to manage the merchandising rights of Desilu’s many productions, including I Love Lucy. Desilu, Too continues to operate, and Katharine has been part of the LLC’s team for the past few years.
2018 is when Katharine was hired on to work at Desilu, Too. According to her job description, Katharine is in charge of dictating the creative direction for any new businesses or products that wish to license any Desilu properties. As well, Katharine manages the LLC’s social media presence.
One of the many things that Katharine has done with her new position at Desilu, Too is create “The Lucy Legacy”, which is a new project at the Hollywood Museum. The project is meant to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Lucille Ball’s passing, as well as celebrate the legendary comedian’s legacy. Of course, it has been a pleasure for Katharine to work on the project, as it has allowed her to connect with her late grandmother in a way that few grandchildren will ever get the opportunity. Given the vast amount of work that Lucille left behind, there has been a whole lot for Katharine to go through.
In addition to her work on “The Lucy Project” for the Hollywood Museum, Katharine also made an appearance on Today in March of 2021 where she talked about her grandmother’s lasting legacy. Katharine was only 4 years old when Lucille Ball passed away, but she still has plenty of precious memories of spending time with her late grandmother. Some of the most vivid of these memories seem to be the occasions that Katharine would spend alongside her grandmother watching cartoons. Given Lucille’s sense of humor, it’s not hard to see her bonding with her granddaughter over their shared tasted in comedy.
Although Katharine got to know her grandmother before her passing, it wasn’t till adulthood that she truly realized the impact that Lucille Ball had made on popular culture. This is part of why Katharine has chosen to dedicate so much time to Desilu, Too, and the creation of “The Lucy Project”. The legacy of Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz continues to live on.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz loved their children and grandchildren a great deal, and put aside their differences to be there for them after the divorce. Comment down below to share if you were moved by the story of the couple’s many grandchildren, or if you are curious to visit the Hollywood Museum and check out Katharine’s hard work on “The Lucy Project”.