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View Full Version : Did Vivian get along with Lucy off-set?


SetacOne@aol.com
07-13-2004, 04:29 PM
I was wondering if Vivian Vance got along with Lucille Ball off-set? Thanx!!

TV Guy
07-13-2004, 07:14 PM
I think the quote one of them made about their relationship was "We fought like sisters and made up like sisters." They got along well enough that even after leaving, Vivian made several guest appearances on "The Lucy Show", as well as Ball's follow-up series, "Here's Lucy". From most accounts, Ball considered Vance a close friend, but Vance was not quite as dependent on the friendship as Ball was.

hawaii five-o
07-14-2004, 09:42 PM
It always seemed to me that Lucille respected Vivian because she stood up to her and wasn't interested in kissing her butt like some of the other people in Lucy's entourage.

bb25
07-15-2004, 09:34 AM
I have said it before on these boards, and I'll say it again...you simply can't work with, or even be around for that matter, someone for nearly 3 decades, and not develop a close friendship. It is my firm belief that they did become like sisters, and that the Lucy and Viv/Ethel characters weren't simply 2 actresses who came together week after week for years, put on a show, and then forgot each other existed...you can't! I am sure there were lots of times you had to be serious and have your mind on the work at hand, but I can also definitely see them chatting and laughing around the set, doing lunch together, etc...and stuff like that. I always disagree with people that say it was strictly employer/employee...that's ridiculous!

Anyway, I could go on forever about this, but, if you want my opinion...Lucy & Viv were best friends, and Lucille & Vivian were best friends.

Iloveviv
07-15-2004, 01:33 PM
Lucille seemed devastated when Vivian passed on in 1979. I don't think Lucy ever fully recovered. When Vivian's name would be mentioned in an interview, Lucille would often break down in tears.


I have read that Lucille INSISTED that Viv play her co-star on THE LUCY SHOW, that only one person could play her "best friend."


I think Vivian loved Lucille, but was pretty balanced with different people in her life and wasn't dependent on the friendship to the same degree Lucy was.

But Vivian did write this note to Lucy on the 25th anniversary of I LOVE LUCY.

"A wise man said.." hook up your wagon to a star. I did. You made me what I am today, and I am satisfied. Love, Viv"

vanillamountain
07-16-2004, 11:32 AM
Based on what I've read, I agree with the sentiment that Lucille and Vivian were very much like sisters.

The two went through so much together (both personally and professionally,) that there's no doubt that they became close.

But, on the other hand, there always seemed to be a sort of "rivalry" between them. During "I Love Lucy," Lucille insisted that Vivian be dressed down - so as not to upstage her.

Similarly, while Vivian respected Lucille's talents, she was slightly envious of the fact that she was the star.

That Other Fan
07-20-2004, 03:12 AM
Originally posted by vanillamountain

But, on the other hand, there always seemed to be a sort of "rivalry" between them. During "I Love Lucy," Lucille insisted that Vivian be dressed down - so as not to upstage her.


I think that's been made "bigger" than it really is in the media and various Lucy bios. Vivan was only a year or two older than Lucy and she was playing character that was suppose to be 10 or 20 years Lucy Ricardo's senior. Naturally Viv had to dress down or look "frumpy" so that she and Lucy wouldn't look same age.

And of course you are never allowed to look better than the star...even more so in that era.

bb25
07-31-2004, 11:47 PM
Exactly, and if Vivian had any problems with that, she easily could have backed away from doing ILL. With the character(s) of Vivian Bagley/Bunson/Jones she pretty much controlled her own destiny as far as wardrobe and everything, and I'm sure she was satisfied and didn't hold grudges of the ILL years...

Eric777
03-22-2005, 01:29 PM
They were best of friends

TV DVD Fan
04-07-2005, 11:21 PM
Now they've been together in heaven for over 15 years now. You both are dearly missed. I betcha Lucy's coming up with some scheme right now that she's gonna rope Viv into to get back down to earth. But until then, we'll always have the reruns and the DVDs.

-pat

ethelmaepotter
11-17-2005, 02:42 PM
I worked in the entertainment business for almost 15 years and gladly retired from it about four years ago and have never looked back. It is a highly competitive industry with few "good friends" anywhere in it. I worked on a few sitcoms, successful well-known ones which shall remain nameless. I can tell you that the jealousy and resentment between actors is fierce. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of most of your favorite shows. These actors that act lovey-dovey in public with each other, would cut each other's throats and lick the blade without the slightest hesitation.

One of the first jobs I had was working on an interview with Lucille Ball. She didn't particularly impress me as a "nice person". One of the producers who conducted the interview had actually worked with her several times over the years and was actually dreading the day we shot the interview. He said she could be very difficult, although that wasn't his exact words.

I would suspect the relationship between Lucy and Vivian Vance was not much different than the relationship between most stars and their co-stars. We want to believe these people are like the characters they play and that they are as friendly off-camera as they are on. But rarely does this happen. Considering the enormous egos of most Hollywood stars, coupled with the fact that when they are not on a movie or TV set they are in their therapist's office, it isn't hard to see that calling them "friend" is hardly possible.

Eric777
11-17-2005, 03:06 PM
They were the best of friends
More like sisters

tv star collector
11-17-2005, 06:55 PM
I think that's been made "bigger" than it really is in the media and various Lucy bios. Vivan was only a year or two older than Lucy and she was playing character that was suppose to be 10 or 20 years Lucy Ricardo's senior. Naturally Viv had to dress down or look "frumpy" so that she and Lucy wouldn't look same age.

And of course you are never allowed to look better than the star...even more so in that era.
Actually, Lucille Ball was (according to Rick Metz's THE GREAT TV SITCOM BOOK) a year older than Vivian Vance. She resented being cast as the wife of William Frawley, who was several years her senior. Her contract stipulated that
she wear "frowsy housedresses and must remain twenty pounds overweight in
order to appear frumpier than Ball."

NOVARick
11-19-2005, 03:56 PM
Actually, Lucille Ball was (according to Rick Metz's THE GREAT TV SITCOM BOOK) a year older than Vivian Vance. She resented being cast as the wife of William Frawley, who was several years her senior. Her contract stipulated that
she wear "frowsy housedresses and must remain twenty pounds overweight in
order to appear frumpier than Ball."

Oh no, not THAT again! Will these urban legend EVER die? About Vivian's age, NO, she was not younger than Lucille Ball. This is a falsehood that was printed in the 1970s in Bart Andrews book on "I Love Lucy." After he printed that, every single book that followed for years picked up his mistake and reprinted it as if it were fact. Lucille Ball was born in 1911; Vivian Vance was born in 1909, NOT 1912. About 9 years ago, someone on a message board I was on decided to investigate and looked at January 1920 census records, which indicated that Vivian Vance was 10 years old, meaning she had been born in 1909. I then followed up by going to the National Archives and investigating myself the 1910 census records. I thought there might have been an error in the 1920 records about her and maybe she was younger. But I knew that if she had been born in 1912, there couldn't possibly have been any mention of her in the 1910 census because she would not have existed at that time. Nevertheless, there she was in the 1910 census, listed as an infant. So she was indeed born in 1909. And I confirmed that Lucille Ball was born in 1911, so she was younger than Vivian Vance. Shortly after that, the book "The Other Side of Ethel Mertz" (the Vivian Vance biography) was released and corrected this old falsehood, correctly stating that Vivian Vance was born in 1909.

As for that story about Vivian being contractually required to be 20 pounds, again NO. Yes, there was an actual document stating this, but it was a JOKE. Lucille Ball gave this "contract" to Vivian Vance as a gag at a birthday party one year. There was all kinds of ridiculous, exaggerated stuff in this supposed contract. Years later -- I think it was 1976 -- Lucy and Vivian appeared together on Dinah Shore's show. Lucy was the announced guest and Vivian showed up as a surprise. She also brought along this gag contract and read it on the air. A couple years ago, a friend of mind came across this show and played if for me. It was so obvious this contract was a gag and everyone was laughing hysterically as Vivian read it. That same Vivian Vance bio also acknowledged the contract was a joke (the guys who wrote that book realy did their homework). Whoever started the rumor that this was a true contract was a very irresponsible person. Lucille Ball was well-known among people close to her as enjoying practical jokes on friends. This was just one example. I think it's very pathetic that someone took an innocent gag like that and turned it around to make Lucille Ball look like a petty, jealous bitch.

TV Knowledge Fan
04-03-2006, 01:44 PM
....but there were times, according to several books (including "DESILU"), that Vivian did have disagreements with her. She was one of the few people who could stand up to Lucy during filming and challenge her "direction" in, say, who got the best closeup, the bigger piece of "business" in a scene, and so on. Lucy admired that- but she would NOT tolerate anyone upstaging her.
When Viv decided to stop communting between and Hollywood and Connecticut (where she lived happily with her husband) by early 1965, that is when their professional relationship virtually ended. Viv wanted out of the show, or Lucy could add directing chores to Viv's on-screen appearances--something she would NEVER permit, even for a "best friend". Lucy didn't mind Viv coming back once or twice a season after that...but when she left "THE LUCY SHOW", that was the end of "what was". Still, they remained close and personal with each other, right up to her death in 1979.

Frischman_Fan
04-21-2007, 03:19 PM
Lucille was a tough cookie but Vivian was just as strong. I think that's what caused the two not to see eye to eye alot of the time but I know they grew to love eachother. Alot of friendships start off rough and along the line get rougher. If Lucy didn't like Viv or couldn't stand working with her, then why would she ask Viv to work with her even after I Love Lucy ended?? Think about it! They had great chemistry on screen so that's why they worked as well as they did. Vivian also became a big part of Lucy and Desi's lives. I remember reading somewhere(not sure if it was Viv's book or what)that when Lucy and Desi divorced, Desi cried on Viv's shoulder and went to her for support. So I think that Lucy and Viv had a great friendship that of course had high and low points but most of all they stuck together in the end.

comedyfreak
04-21-2007, 09:43 PM
I read that Vivian Vance brought out the best in Lucy, could have been from the comraderie the two had. Supposedly there are some Lucy specials in the mid 70's that reunited Lucy and Viv I'd love to see those specials.