Nov 15, 2012
While Lucy’s and Desi’s professional lives flourished, their troubled marriage came unglued for good. At times, I Love Lucy was art imitating life. When Lucy said on the show, “Ever since I said ‘I do’ there are so many things we don’t,” she got a laugh but, as often with their jokes, there was a core of truth beneath the crack.
After seven years, they discontinued I Love Lucy and sold its 153 filmed episodes to CBS for £1.9 million. Then, in 196o, Lucy and Desi were divorced. Lucy took the two children with her to New York, where she starred in Wildcat. There, in addition to falling off the derrick, she came down with such a variety of maladies that she had to drop out of the play.
With the children, she went home to California. “It was the low point of my life,” she says now. “I was so ill that I just sat numb for a year. I lost one and a half stone.”
Lucy was too resilient to stay down. In 1961, she married comedian Gary Morton and went back to work with a vengeance. She made films with Bob Hope, Henry Fonda and Van Johnson. She returned successfully to television in The Lucy Show, then bought out Desi’s interest in Desilu studios.
Soft Centre. But Lucy didn’t like the responsibilities of a studio tycoon. “I used to cry because I had to fire someone or make tough decisions,” she says. “There were two sides to every question and I could see both. I couldn’t wait to get out.” She sold Desilu and returned to starring in pictures and her series, Here’s Lucy, with husband Gary as executive producer of the show. Finishing this series last March, she is now expected to make special television shows.
Lucy and Desi has settled down to screen acting, having made occasional guest appearances on his mother’s show.
Lucy has thought a good deal about the strange phenomenon called success. Speaking to students at the University of California at Los Angeles, she said, “I think it will help you if you recognize the small successes. Don’t let the brightness of that big goal blind you to what happens on the way towards
the goal. Meet one wave at a time, and enjoy what progress you make. Don’t he taken up in the undertow of pessimism.”
She believes in positive thinking. “Every day is a new beginning to me,” Lucy says. “I like to be needed. I like self-discipline. I like to work. I love the beginnings of things. I love new jobs, a new house. Every beginning is a challenge and a chance, full of hope and opportunity.”