I Love Lucy was one of the most significant, culture-defining, not to mention hilarious sitcoms of the mid-20th Century. Everybody loved the show’s female lead, Lucille Ball, and her on and off-screen husband Desi Arnaz. For six glorious years, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Fred and Ehtel Mertz, Little Ricky, and a whole slew of other supporting characters gave new life to situational comedies of the era. The show fittingly awarded with five Emmy Awards during its run and generated such enduring popularity that memorabilia like I Love Lucy branded clothing, comic books, jewelry, and other assorted knick-knacks and collectibles became all the rage.
It’s the first show to be rerun on TV after going off the air in 1957. It was also the first series to create numerous spin-off shows like The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life With Lucy. I Love Lucy to this day can still seen in 80 countries worldwide in 22 languages.
But even though I Love Lucy continues to be a popular comedy series in syndication, the vast majority of the show’s cast members are sadly no longer alive to enjoy the fame and praise that they deserve. In this video, we’ll reveal how each of i love lucy cast deaths.
Lucille Ball – Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo
Ms. Ball was an accomplished and celebrated actress, comedian model, studio executive, and producer. She starred in and produced numerous sitcoms while she was the head of Desilu Production companies which she owned and operated with Desi Arnaz.
Her career began in 1929 when she found work as a model. Not long after, she started performing on Broadway under the stage name Diane Belmont. She went on to appear in several minor films in the 1930s and 40s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures.
Around that time, she met Desi Arnaz, a Cuban bandleader who quickly won her heart. The two married in November of 1940.
In !951, she and Aranz created I Love Lucy but just nine years later in May 1960 they filed for divorce and seperated.
On April 18, 1989, Ball diagnosed with a dissecting aortic aneurysm after experiencing chest pain while she was resting at her home in Beverly Hills. She then underwent emergency surgery to repair her aorta and to replace her aortic valve. On April 26, Ball woke up with severe back pain before losing consciousness. She died at 5:47 am at the age of 77. Doctors later determined that she had succumbed to a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm that wasn’t directly related to her surgery.
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Desi Arnaz – Enrique Alberto Fernando y de Acha Ricardo III
Arnaz best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy. He and Ball are also typically credited as the innovators of the syndicated run which they first pioneered after I Love Lucy’s cancellation.
Arnaz was a heavy smoker for the majority of his life. He loved Cuban cigars and continued to smoke them until he was in his sixties. In 1986, Arnaz diagnosed with Lung cancer and passed away several months later on December 2, 1986, at the age of 69. His death was just five days before Lucille Ball received the Kennedy Center Honors. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the i love lucy cast deaths.
Vivian Vance – Ethel Mae Potter Mertz
Vance portrayed Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy from 1951 to 1957. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1954. She also starred as Vivian Bagley on the spin-off series The Lucy Show from 1962 to 1965.
in 1977, Vance suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed. She died at the age of 70 on August 17, 1979, of metastatic breast cancer. She posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991.
William Frawley – Frederick Hobart Mertz
Frawley portrayed Fred Mertz, husband of Ethel Mertz, in I Love Lucy for the duration of the series. He went on to play Bob O’Casey in the comedy series My Three Sons.
Frawley died of a heart attack on March 3, 1966, in Los Angeles just five days before his 79th birthday. He buried in San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles. He, like Vivian Vance, awarded a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2012.
Kathryn Card – Mrs. McGillicuddy
While she best known for portraying Lucy’s mother on I Love Lucy, Card also guest-starred on several other popular TV shows. She appeared in two episodes of Perry Mason in 1959 and portrayed Hannah Barton in ‘The Case of the Deadly Toy that same year. Some of her other notable credits include roles on The Geoge Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Make Room for Daddy, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Rawhide. She also appeared in the 1958 Warner Brothers film Home Before Dark. Her last performance was in 1964s The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
On March 1, 1964, Card died after having a massive heart attack. She was 71. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the i love lucy cast deaths.
Mary Jane Croft – Betty Ramsey
Croft is best known for her role as Betty Ramsey on I Love Lucy but she also portrayed various other minor characters on that show. Croft additionally played Ms. Daisy Enright on the radio and TV version of Our Miss Brooks. On The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, she landed the role of Mary Jane Lewis and on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, she played the character, Clara Randolph.
Croft continued to act on television for many years after the end of Here’s Lucy. She reunited with her former co-star Lucille Ball in 1977 in the special Lucy Calls The President. She later returned to radio for several episodes of Sears Radio Theater in 1979.
She died of natural causes in Century City, California on August 24, 1999.
Frank Nelson – Ralph Ramsey, Freddie Filmore, and Various Other Characters
Nelson was an American comedian and actor best known for playing comic foils on radio and television. In addition to portraying numerous characters on I Love Lucy, Nelson appeared in shows like The Jack Benny Program, The Real McCoys, The Addams Family, Alice, and Sanford and Son. Nelson also worked as a voice actor providing voices for animated series like The Flintstones, Mister Magoo, Dinky Dog, The Snorks, and The Jetsons.
Nelson diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 1985. After battling the disease for the better part of a year. He died in Hollywood on September 12, 1986, at the age of 75. He laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the i love lucy cast deaths.
Jerry Hausner – Ricky’s Agent Jerry
While he best known for his role on I Love Lucy, Hausner also the voice of Waldo in Mr. Magoo and several other characters such as Hemlock Holmes, The Mole, Broodles, and Itchy in The Dick Tracy Show.
Hausner died of heart failure on April 1, 1993, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He was 83. Hausner’s body buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.
Doris Singelton – Carolyn Appleby
Singleton will always be best remembered as Lucy’s arch-enemy, Carolyn Appleby. She also appeared in shows like The Whistler, The Alan Young Show, and The Adventures of Superman.
Singelton played Lois in the syndicated TV adaptation of the radio series The Great Gildersleeve from 1954 to 1957. She also made appearances in shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The People’s Choice, and McKeever and the Colonel.
She reunited with Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show in the episode ‘Lucy and Art Linkletter’. In 1970, she’s featured in an episode of ABC’s Make Room for Grandaddy. In 1974, she appeared in an episode of Here’s Lucy entitled ‘Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball’.
At the time of her death in June 2012, Singelton was the last surviving major recurring cast member besides ‘Little Ricky’ from the Lucy Shows. She died in Los Angeles at the age of 92 from complications of cancer. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the i love lucy cast deaths.
Shirley Mitchel – Marion Strong
Mitchel was a prolific radio and TV actress. She was a regular on classic radio series like Fibber McGee and Molly and The Great Gildersleeve. On television, she appeared in series like Pete and Gladys, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and Bachelor Father.
She also frequently guest-starred on other series such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and Perry Mason.
In addition to being an active TV star, Mitchel appeared in such films as Desk Set, Big Business, and The War of the Roses, but she was best known for playing Lucy Ricardo’s friend, Marion Strong on I Love Lucy.
Mitchel died of heart failure on November 11, 2013. in Westwood, Los Angeles, California just seven days after celebrating her 94th birthday.
Richard Keith – Enrique Alberto Ricardo IV AKA Ricky Ricardo Jr.
Born Keith Thibodeaux, Richard is an American former child star best known for playing Little Ricky on I Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. He is the last living regularly appearing cast member of I Love Lucy.
In addition to appearing in various Desilu productions, Keith made numerous guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show. He later joined the rock group David and the Giants, but after developing a drug problem he was forced to leave the band which inevitably led to their break up. In 1974 he became a born-again Christian, cleaned up his life, and got sober.
In 1990, he became the Executive Director for his wife’s company Ballet Magnificat which tours both domestically and internationally. In 2017, the couple founded the Ballet Magnificat Brasil dance company and trainee program headquartered in Curitiba, Brazil.
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