Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Ball of Fire, by Stefan Kanfer

This is one of those 'dark side' biographies. It's so depressing I'm inclined to think it's pretty accurate. Lucille Ball should really have the type of legendary reputation that Joan Crawford and Bette Davis had as uber-bitches. Indeed, even La Crawford, after working with Miss Ball, said that even she could 'outbitch' her. The only thing that seems to have saved Lucille from such a fate is the I Love Lucy show itself. So sacred is the image of Lucille Ball to popular culture, no one would believe that Lucy, the lovable goofball, could possibly be the seasoned, tough as nails Hollywood broad.

Unwittingly proving this very point herself, Lucy bemoaned the hostile reaction she got from the American public when the inevitable and long, long over due divorce from Desi finally came. It was like she'd murdered something. She noted the irony that when she was exposed as being a one time member of the communist party, it had not been as bad as the public's reaction to her break up.

Lucy's daughter, Lucie, perhaps encapsulated everything best. She noted that both her parents wanted to be the Ricardos, and were peeved that this could never be so.

Lucille Ball had it all. Money, fame, the children she always wanted (and ignored once she had them). Despite all this she could still moan, 'Why can't I be happy?'

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