Desi Arnaz Jr. shall count himself lucky to call Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz his mother and father. Even though he is born into wealth and fame, life isn’t always easy for him. People are aware, Arnaz Jr’s parents rise to fame starring in their popular and groundbreaking sitcom, I Love Lucy.
The couple played Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Lucy will scheme behind her husband’s back. But something will go awry inspiring a great deal of hilarity that audiences can’t get enough of. Most memorable scenes in TV history play out on the show’s soundstage, including the infamous chocolate factory episode. Then there was the episode where John Wayne’s footprints get stolen, and how could we forget about the vitameatavegamin episode? You say that 5 times fast!
I Love Lucy shows from 1951 and 1957 and wins five primetime Emmys during its time on the air. Fortunately, the show runs in syndication, fans can watch the reruns on a number of different networks and streaming services. This of course means that Lucy and Ricky’s antics will live on pretty much indefinitely.
Lucille and Desi marry for 20 years with two children into the world while together, Lucie and Desi Jr.. They divorce in 1960. The couple may have problems and they have high and low points throughout both their personal and professional lives. It’s pretty safe to say that their split breaks hearts across the globe.
But even though Desi Arnaz Jr grew up in incredible privilege, he has struggled greatly throughout his life. Stay tuned to find out how. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the Heartbreaking Life of Desi Arnaz Jr.
The Tragic Death Of His Wife
The acting was always something that was in Desi Arnaz Jr’s blood. After all, his parents were two of the most iconic entertainers of their generation. So it’s not really all that surprising that he would follow in their footsteps. He stars in his first, yet un-credited role when he is four years old. Plays a young spectator in his parent’s show, I Love Lucy.
Just a few years later he had a recurring role in The Lucy Show from 1962 to 1965. In 1970, he is on an episode of The Brady Bunch. Next is guest-starring in a few episodes of The Love Boat.
In total, Arnaz Jr has 38 credits under his belt. He’s also taken on a production role behind the camera on two occasions.
In 1987, Arnaz Jr marries Amy Arnaz. They make a home for themselves in Boulder City, Nevada where they live for most of their lives. They ended up having one daughter together, Haley Arnaz.
They’re both followers of Vernon Howard, a spiritual guru, and philosopher who starts the New Life Foundation in Boulder City.
Desi and Amy enjoy a long and happy marriage. Amy is diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013 and passed away two years later in 2015. She was just 63 years old when she died. Even more tragic is the fact that she passed away just four days after Desi’s 62nd birthday.
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Desi Jr’s Identity Issues and Struggle With Addiction
Arnaz Jr struggled with addiction and alcoholism for most of his life. According to the book, Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the actor felt an enormous amount of pressure to live up to his parent’s expectations. The stress of that constant battle is apparently what led him to abuse drugs and booze in the first place.
In the book, he mentions that the first time that he ever felt jealousy was when he was three years old and went to go visit his parents on the set of I Love Lucy. He was super confused because he wasn’t sure why he wasn’t the one chosen to play their son. Because of that, he developed this major identity problem. And it didn’t help that people routinely would refer to him as Little Ricky, a name that he would eventually resent.
Not only was he struggling with identity issues, but he also developed a bit of an inferiority complex. All he ever wanted was to be better at something than that boy that played Little Ricky. For the longest time, it felt to him like everything in his life was connected to Little Ricky. It was infuriating.
He began to abuse drugs when he was still just a teenager. He used to pay off doctors to get prescription narcotics. Everyone around him, especially his mom, saw what was happening and desperately urged him to go get help, but he wouldn’t receive any sort of wake-up call until he was 25.
When doctors showed him scans of his brain showing what drugs had done to him, they broke the news to him that his brain looked like that of a 60-year-old. He couldn’t deny the science. For the first time, he was finally able to admit that he had a problem. Of course, addiction is a lifelong battle, but Arnaz Jr’s life greatly improved once he was finally able to confront his addiction honestly. Join Facts Verse to know the details about the Heartbreaking Life of Desi Arnaz Jr.
Desi Jr’s First Short Marriage
Desi was previously married long before he met Amy. He and Matlock star Linda Purl were briefly married from 1980 to 1981. According to an article that he wrote for Women’s Day magazine back in 1991, his mother Lucille Ball gave them her blessing before they tied the knot, but ultimately it was his stubbornness and his drug problem that led to their relationship falling apart.
In that same article, Arnaz Jr shared that by the time he had turned 18, he had already tried LSD, mescaline, cocaine, Quaaludes, and marijuana, but by the time he was 23, his drug problem was so out of control that he could no longer maintain any of his relationships anymore.
Desi Jr. also shared an experience about a time that he reached a breaking point while staying at a hotel in Vegas about a year after his divorce. He felt completely empty and depleted. His marriage had just recently unraveled and he had gone on a three-day drug bender hoping that it would help ease his loneliness, but of course, it didn’t work as he had hoped. He knew at that moment that chemicals would never be able to bring him lasting happiness. If he wanted a life worth living, he was going to have to get clean and change his ways.
At 29, he felt like he was already dying – not just physically, but also spiritually. Fortunately, there is one bright side about this dark chapter of his life. At least he and Purl were able to remain on good terms after the split.
Desi Jr Became A Father When He was A Teenager
It’s not exactly a secret that Desi Arnaz Jr had a pretty rough childhood, and his teenage years were equally turbulent. The young star had a strong interest in the opposite sex from a very young age. He became sexually active when he was just 13 and ended up getting a girl pregnant when he was 15.
Desi Jr. and model Susan Howe had a brief fling resulting in a child that Susan ended up naming Julia. For quite some time Desi Jr. tried to act like he wasn’t the girl’s father, but a paternity test in 1990 proved with 99.93% certainty that Arnaz was indeed her father.
After discovering that he was her dad, Desi Jr and Julia rekindled their relationship. Desi Jr ended up paying for his daughter’s college education and when she too fell into substance abuse problems, he paid to send her to rehab several times.
Tragedy struck on September 27, 2020, when Julia’s daughter Desiree Anzalone lost her battle with stage 4 breast cancer. She was just 31 years old.
He Was A Womanizer
In a 1978 interview with People Magazine, a 25-year-old Desi Jr. admitted to being what he called a ‘playboy’ in his younger years. Sources close to him suggest that he was under the false illusion that he was ‘in love’ since he was 13, but really what he was just full of lust.
Maybe it’s true what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree because Desi Arnaz Sr. was likewise often times depicted as a womanizer by the media. In fact, Lucille almost divorced him on numerous occasions before she finally went through with the separation in 1960. Not only could Desi Sr. not seem to be able to keep his hands off women, but he was also known to become volatile and violent whenever he would drink. Sadly, it would seem that this too was another issue that Desi Jr inherited from his father.
Arnaz Jr’s womanizing tendencies got a lot of media attention partly because he was in the spotlight from such a young age, and partly because of the famous women that he managed to bed. He was rumored to be involved with such big names as Kim Darby, Tina Sinatra, Patty Duck, and Liza Minnelli.
According to Desi Jr’s childhood friend and famous son of Dean Martin, Dino Martin, Desi Jr. was in and out of love three or more times a week. Back when the two young men had a little pop-rock band back in the 60s, there was no shortage of groupies for Desi Jr to chase after.
Desi Arnaz Jr’s last film credit was in 1992 Mamba Kings, in which he actually played his father Desi Arnaz Sr.
He left Hollywood not long after that and relocated to Boulder City, Nevada to live out the rest of his life out of the spotlight. Fame had cost him too much. He was finally ready to settle down.
Desi Arnaz Jr. still lives in Boulder City but these days he tries to keep himself out of trouble. Since his wife’s passing in 2015, he has kept a pretty low profile.
What is your favorite memory of Desi Jr? Let us know in the comments section below.
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