How Lucille Ball Took on Desi Arnaz’s Job After Their Divorce: ‘That’s When They Put the ‘S’ on the End of My Last Name’

I Love Lucy still considered one of the greatest sitcoms in television history. Featuring the comedy icon Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, the series made America’s most adorable couple in addition to Hollywood gold. Arnaz handled most of the work and management of their company, Desilu Productions, while Ball focused on bringing in the smile.

Their 20-year marriage resulted in a divorce in 1960. After their divorce, Ball had to take Arnaz’s position in their company due to persistent alcoholism. The I Love Lucy the star explained to Carol Burnett’s humorous co-legend how she earned the respect of her employees.

Member Lucille and Desi Arnaz of 'I Love Lucy'
Member Lucille and Desi Arnaz of ‘I Love Lucy’ Archive photos / images Getty

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett were close friends

When Carol Burnett appeared in the play Off-Broadway Once on a Matress in 1959, Ball happened to be in the audience. The I Love Lucy The star was so good at Burnett’s performance, she stopped in her dressing room after the show and gave her a very generous offer: “Kid, if you ever need me for anything, let me know.”

After that first meeting, the two formed a lifelong friendship. They were guests at each other’s shows, and Ball even threw a shower at Burnett when she was expecting his daughter Jody in 1966. Each year, Ball sent Burnett flowers on her birthday with a card reading to simple, “Happy Birthday, Kid. ”

Burnett saw Ball as a mentor over the years, especially when she launched Carol Burnett Exhibition. The Emmy winner thought the famous redhead was a good actor and a posh business owner.

“It simply came to our notice then nice way of doing it, and he went back to confronting the writers, ”Burnett wrote. “She built the confidence to tell them exactly what she was thinking about the script, not to diminish her words, but to be brutally honest. ”

Ball said to Burnett, “’And, baby, that’s when they put the’ s’ at the end of my last name! ‘”

After sharing this story in his memory, Burnett said, “I loved Lucy. She died on my birthday in 1989. Her flowers came late that evening, ‘Happy Birthday, Kid.’ ”

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