Lucille Ball, who passed away 30 years ago today, honored with exhibit at The Hollywood Museum
When Lucille Ball died 30 years ago today, the outpouring of grief was deep and widespread.
My brother, a fellow I Love Lucy fanatic, called me with the news that morning. It’s one of the celebrity deaths that I remember most vividly and felt most personally. We had just seen her at the Academy Awards a month earlier (pictured, left) looking terrific in a gown with a high slit. She and Bob Hope introduced a segment featuring young Hollywood performers and got an ovation for the ages.
It was her last public appearance.
I grew up watching her sitcoms in reruns of I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show and in new episodes of Here’s Lucy on Monday nights. When I was in college, I even watched every episode of her final and least successful sitcom, Life With Lucy.
So when I got an invitation to this week’s opening of “Remembering Lucy at The Hollywood Museum,” I was so there. All of Miss Ball’s Emmys were on display, some of her costumes, many of her movie posters and all kinds of other items. The highlight of the event was the appearance of Miss Ball’s very pregnant granddaughter, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, who spoke movingly of her grandmother. She is the daughter of Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill.
Other speakers included: Donelle Dadigan, president and founder of the museum; Michael Stern, author of I Had a Ball: My Friendship With Lucille Ball; actor Barry Livingston (My Three Sons and The Lucy Show); and Tom Watson, Lucille Ball’s publicist.
Those in attendance also heard from Lucie Arnaz via audio message as Miss Arnaz was performing in Palm Springs that night. But the recording was not played in its entirety so she posted all of its text in an Instagram message that I have posted below.
I encourage you to check out the exhibit and all the rest of what is on display at the terrific Hollywood Museum which is right down the street from the Hollywood & Hollywood complex.
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I cannot put into words how proud of my baby girl (full up with her own baby!) I am for representing our family at the Remembering Lucy exhibit in The Hollywood Museum last night. I was busy trying to WOW people at The McCallum Theatre here in the desert while she effortlessly knocked it out of the park in LA. I love you, Kate Luckinbill Conner! (Video attached!) The only ooops was that they goofed and only played the last few seconds of my taped message. (Sad face here) Therefore, I am including it below. (Happy face here) Lucie on Lucy at The Hollywood Museum (Taped for 4/24/19) "Sorry not to be able to join you all there today in remembering my mother. I am performing tonight and we have a motto in our family: 'Gigs Win'! But, this is a wonderful tribute to her and I think that Mom would be very pleased to know that, thirty years after she 'left the building,’ she is still remembered so fondly. Lucille Desirée Ball grew up with an inordinate amount of sadness in her early life and, after all of that, all she ever wanted to do was 'make people laugh,’ to try to make their trials, their tribulations disappear for a few minutes, help them feel a little bit better. How lucky that she was able to make a living doing what she loved. And she has been parsing out that same medicine for close to seventy years. Many people have found inspiration from her professional body of work as well as courage from her personal story. But, I think what would make her most proud today would be seeing how her grandchildren have embraced …and expanded… the entire Lucy Legacy, focusing us all on the growing relevance of her and my Dad’s contributions even today. It fills my heart to see my daughter, Kate, or stepson, Nick, tell me how the show and her legacy impact their generation, bringing LUCY into this new century with such zeal, such enthusiasm. Being a generation removed, they have been able to embrace this phenomenon from a whole new perspective and breathe brilliant new life into what Lucy, Desi and I Love Lucy represent. Someday, if I write about my life, I will surely share many 'remembrances' of this amazing woman – who just happened (see more in comments …!)