Desi Arnaz, Jr.

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Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Arnaz and his father in a 1974 television special.
BornDesiderio Alberto Arnaz IV
(1953-01-19) January 19, 1953 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor/Musician
Years active

1957–present

(appeared multiple times on parents' TV show I Love Lucy)
FamilyLucille Ball (mother)
Desi Arnaz (father)
Lucie Arnaz (sister)
 
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Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Arnaz and his father in a 1974 television special.
BornDesiderio Alberto Arnaz IV
(1953-01-19) January 19, 1953 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor/Musician
Years active

1957–present

(appeared multiple times on parents' TV show I Love Lucy)
FamilyLucille Ball (mother)
Desi Arnaz (father)
Lucie Arnaz (sister)

Desi Arnaz, Jr. (born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV; January 19, 1953), is an American actor and musician and the son of entertainers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

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Early life

Desi Arnaz, Jr., was born in Los Angeles, California, on January 19, 1953. He has an older sister, Lucie Désirée Arnaz, who was born in 1951.

His birth was one of the most publicized in television history. His parents were the stars of the American television situation comedy I Love Lucy, and Ball's pregnancy was part of the storyline, considered daring in those times. The same day Lucy gave birth to Desi Jr., the fictional Lucy Ricardo gave birth to "Little Ricky". Little Ricky as a baby was played by two sets of twins, Richard and Ronald Lee Simmons (1953–1954), followed by Joseph and Michael Mayer (1954–1955). A boy named Keith Thibodeaux (using the stage name Richard Keith) was later cast to play 6-year-old Little Ricky. As a testament to how interested the American public was in Lucy's TV baby, Desi Arnaz Jr. appeared on the cover on the very first issue of TV Guide with a title that read: "Lucy's $50,000,000 baby."

Career

Arnaz, his mother Lucille Ball, and his sister Lucie in Here's Lucy, 1968.

At age 12, Arnaz was a drummer with Dino, Desi, & Billy. The others were Dean Paul Martin, (son of Dean Martin), and Billy Hinsche. The band scored two hit singles with "I'm a Fool" and "Not The Lovin' Kind" in 1965. In 1968, he and his sister Lucie, played opposite their mother in Here's Lucy as her children. In 1970, Desi appeared on The Brady Bunch episode "The Possible Dream". In 1974 he played the title role in the Western movie Billy Two Hats with Gregory Peck. In 1977, he was the lead in the film Joyride opposite fellow children of famous actors Melanie Griffith, Robert Carradine, and Anne Lockhart. Arnaz attended University High School in West Los Angeles.

Arnaz Jr.'s acting extended into the 1980s with TV productions and a leading role in Automan. He played his father in the movie The Mambo Kings (1992), based on a Pulitzer Prize novel that treated his father with respect. The film includes a scene in which Desi Jr., playing his father's character Ricky Ricardo, acts opposite his mother as Lucy Ricardo with film from the TV series intercut with the cast. In a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by both Desi Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., the younger Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo and Gilda Radner played Lucy in spoofs of supposed ill-fated pilots for I Love Lucy.

From about 2002 to 2007, he was vice-president of the board of Directors of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York. He resigned over a dispute with the executive director over the direction of the center.[1][2]

In 2007, Desi appeared at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards with his sister Lucie to accept the Legacy of Laughter award posthumously given to their mother.

At present,[when?] he is touring with a new configuration of Dino, Desi & Billy called Ricci, Desi & Billy, featuring Arnaz Jr. reunited with Billy Hinsche, and joined by Ricci Martin (youngest son of Dean Martin). The group performs original material as well as the songs the original band performed.[3]

Currently, Arnaz is performing in Babalu: A Celebration of the Music of Desi Arnaz and his Orchestra with Lucie Arnaz, Raul Esparza, and Valarie Pettiford. There was a Miami, Florida, performance in July 2010.[4]

Boulder Theatre

On October 15, 2011, Arnaz performed in Babalu at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. The performance was in conjunction with the Library's Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection.[5]

Personal life

When Arnaz Jr. was only 15 years old he got a 15-year-old Suzanne Howe (Callahan) pregnant and she gave birth to a baby named Julia Arnaz who later married Timothy E. Cook (1963-2012).[6] This child was kept secret for decades, and it was later confirmed by a court-ordered DNA test that she was Arnaz Jr.'s child. It is not known whether Lucille Ball or Desi Senior knew about their first grandchild.[7]

Only two years later, when Arnaz Jr. was 17 years old, he was dating 23-year-old actress Patty Duke. Lucille Ball was outraged by this relationship, and months after they broke up, Patty gave birth to Sean Astin. Patty was convinced that Arnaz was the father even though she was briefly married to Michael Tell and then later believed that John Astin was the biological father. Patty was having serious mental health issues and stated she was not sexually involved with Tell. Arnaz believed he was Sean's father. It was not until many years later that DNA testing proved that Michael Tell was indeed Sean's father.

From 1980-1981, Arnaz Jr., was married briefly to actress Linda Purl. On October 8, 1987, Arnaz married Amy Laura Bargiel.[8]

Arnaz lives in Boulder City, Nevada with his wife Amy and their daughter. They own the Boulder Theatre, a cinema converted into a theatre and home to the Boulder City Ballet Company.[9]

Actor

References

External links