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Lucy McGillicuddy Ricardo

Lucille "Lucy" Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo is a fictional character from the popular U.S. television sitcom I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957), played by Lucille Ball. Her full name is given in the episodes "The Marriage License" and "Fred and Ethel Fight".

Fictional character biography

Early life

Lucy was born in West Jamestown, New York. As a child she was babysat by Helen Erickson, and she was also bit on the ear by Fred Bigalow's cat as a child. Her childhood doctor was named Dr. Petersen. In grammar school, she played a petunia in a recital. In grade school, her nickname was "Birdlegs." When she was in high school she was involved in the drama program where she studied with Miss Hanna and played the lead in "Romeo and Juliet." She was also known as "Bird Legs" and "Droopy Drawers" as a child. In one episode, she talks about fishing in nearby Chautauqua Lake (a real lake near Celoron, New York and Jamestown, New York). She also played the saxophone in high school (as did the real Lucy).

Marriage

When she was 22, Lucy was set up on a blind date by her friend Marion Strong. Her blind date turned out to be a Cuban conga drummer, Ricky Ricardo. The two fell in love and eventually got married at the Byrum Beagle River Club in Connecticut. An alternate scenario, as explained to guest star Hedda Hopper in the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana," features Lucy and her friend Susie McNamara, played by Ann Sothern, as meeting Ricky while vacationing in Cuba in 1940.

In 1948, Lucy and Ricky moved into an old reconverted brownstone apartment at 623 East 68th Street in New York City. The apartment rented for $105 per month.

Lucy and Ethel quickly became best friends, even though Ethel was at least 10+ years older than Lucy. Upon moving to the city, Ricky ended up getting a job headlining the Club Tropicana where they were held over indefinitely. To Lucy, Ricky's career and days seemed so much more exciting than her days of cooking and cleaning. She desperately wanted to be a star and constantly tried to get into Ricky's act. Ricky wanted his wife to stay home and complete her homemaking duties. However, in spite of Ricky's reluctance and usual refusal to give her a part, Lucy usually found a way into the show.

Nightclub and Other performances Lucy appeared in

Episode Number Episode Title Circumstances
4 "The Diet" Lucy played the part of "Sally Sweet" to husband Ricky Ricardo's "Cuban Pete." Lucy received this part after successfully losing 12 pounds in 5 days to fit into the size 12 costume. She also tied up the woman who received the part and locked her in a closet.
6 "The Audition" Lucy played the part of "The Professor" trying to audition for "Risky Riskadoo's" orchestra. Lucy ends up auditioning successfully for the network executives who were there to see Ricky's act. Lucy turns down the offer.
11 "Lucy is Jealous of Girl Dancer" Lucy appears as a dancer in Ricky's "Jezebel" number. She broke into the act to keep her eye on Ricky and his dancer Rosemary, after Ethel showed her a blind item in the newspaper alluding to a possible affair between Ricky and Rosemary.
13 "The Benefit" Lucy and Ricky appear in a benefit for Ethel's club. They perform an old vaudeville routine in which Ricky is supposed to have all the punchlines. Lucy doesn't want to play second banana and rewrites the material so she's the funny one.
14 "The Amateur Hour" Lucy enters The Blue Bird Club Amateur Contest with her two babysitting charges, Jimmy and Timmy. Lucy appears as a cowboy and sings "Ragtime Joe." Ricky is coincidentally the emcee of the contest.
17 "Lucy Writes a Play" Lucy writes a play for a competition involving the neighborhood women's clubs. She writes a Cuban-inspired play with Ricky in mind for the leading role. However, when Ricky refuses to be in the play, she re-writes it for Fred Mertz who can do an English accent. Ricky later is the one who breaks into Lucy's play when he discovers that a big Hollywood producer is the judge of the contest.
19 "The Ballet" Lucy finds out that Ricky needs a ballerina and burlesque comic for a new show he's performing at the Tropicana. Lucy takes ballet lessons with disastrous results. She then meets with a burlesque comic to learn a comedic routine that will hopefully win her a part in Ricky's act. Later, a performer becomes sick and Lucy is asked to replace them at the last minute. Lucy assumes she's supposed to be the burlesque comic and shows up to the club and performs her act. Except, she was supposed to be a ballerina!
28 "Cuban Pals" Ricky's old friends from Cuba come to visit. One of Ricky's friends is his old dance partner Renita, whom Ricky used to perform with when she was a child. However, now Renita has developed into a voluptuous woman. Renita is supposed to perform "The Lady in Red" with Ricky at the Tropicana. Jealous, Lucy arranges to have Renita escorted to the club by "taxi cab driver Fred Mertz" who takes Renita to the club via a shortcut through Philadelphia. Lucy replaces Renita in the show.
30 "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" Lucy wants to appear in a new commercial that is supposed to air during Ricky's televised performance. She intercepts a telephone call from the woman who got the job to Ricky and fires her. Lucy then shows up to the commercial to help sell Vitameatavegamin, a health tonic with a 23% alcohol content. Due to repeated takes, Lucy ends up snockered and is unable to successfully film the commercial and ruins Ricky's performance too.
37 "The Handcuffs" Lucy handcuffs Ricky to herself in an attempt to make him stay home on his nights off. However, they are unable to free themselves and Lucy ends up performing as Ricky's right arm.
38 "The Operetta" Lucy writes an operetta for her women's club and performs as the "Queen of the Gypsies." However, hilarity ensues when she writes a postdated check to the prop and costume stores and the set ends up being repossessed while the play is being performed.
44 "Ricky Loses His Voice" Ricky loses his voice and is unable to stage the first performance at the newly remodeled Tropicana. Lucy takes it upon herself to stage the show for him and casts herself, the Mertzes and a troupe of middle aged showgirls.
45 "Lucy is Enceinte" This isn't an official performance on Lucy's part, but it surely is a memorable appearance at the Tropicana. Unable to tell Ricky that she's expecting, Lucy has a note delivered to Ricky that a couple in the audience is expecting. Ricky tries to locate the couple while singing "Rock-a-bye Baby," not knowing that he is half of the happy couple. While singing, Ricky sees Lucy in the audience, and it occurs to him that Lucy may be the one who is expecting. Lucy nods yes, and Ricky is overcome with emotion. They end by singing "We're Having a Baby."
47 "Lucy's Show Biz Swan Song" Realizing that impending motherhood will limit her opportunity to be in show business, Lucy auditions for Ricky's barbershop quartet act. Ricky refuses to hire her due to her lack of singing ability. However, Lucy takes the place of a man hired for the quartet and surprises Ricky and the Mertzes by being the "man in the barber chair."
59 "The Indian Show" Lucy wants to be in Ricky's Native American inspired show. She convinces Juanita, the girl cast in her desired part, to let her have the job so that she can spend more time with her newborn. Lucy then surprises Ricky on stage during her rather off-key performance of "By the Waters of the Minnetonka."
65 "Ricky's Life Story" Annoyed that Ricky got more coverage in a Life Magazine photo spread than she did, Lucy demands a part in Ricky's next show. Determined to teach her a lesson, Ricky decides to give her a part and make rehearsals as physically demanding as possible. Lucy is exhausted and quits. However, she finds out that there is a part open for a girl to sit on a balcony. Lucy jumps at the chance for that part. Ricky gives her the part reluctantly. However, Lucy gets wind of Ricky's plan to tire her out and rebels on stage during her performance as the "Lady of Spain" up on the balcony.
69 "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" Lucy and Ethel's women's club are staging a talent show and have received a timeslot on television. They decide to do a duet. However, the women discover that they have both purchased the same dress. Neither one wants to return her dress, but promises the other that they'll do so. Come showtime, neither woman has returned her gown and they proceed to tear each other's dress apart until Ricky and Fred break them apart before the show becomes X-rated.
73 "The French Revue" Ricky is determined to keep Lucy out of his next act. He absolutely banishes her from even setting foot in the Tropicana. Lucy bets him that she'll find a way in anyway. She enters rehearsals disguised as a lamp, bass violin, and a fat nightclub patron with pince-nez glasses, but is kicked out each time. Finally, she succeeds when she breaks into the chorus line during the show.
77 "Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined" Ricky's friend Bill Parker wants to use Ricky's nightclub to audition acts for his next play. Lucy and the Mertzes are all allowed to audition. Lucy takes jitterbugging lessons and intends on performing it for Mr. Parker. However, she accompanies Ricky on a visit to the eye doctor and ends up being tested herself. The doctor dilates Lucy's eyes and her vision is blurred for her performance of the jitterbug for an audience.
86 "Home Movies" Lucy and the Mertzes want to audition for Ricky's TV Pilot, however, he'll have nothing to do with it. Annoyed, Lucy and the Mertzes film their own pilot, a western number complete with a gunfight. They then splice their video in with Ricky's so that both films are shown to the TV producer. However, Lucy inadvertently splices not only her film and Ricky's film, but family home movies as well. The shots are even upside down and the sound is backwards.
95 "Tennessee Ernie Hangs On" The Ricardos, Mertzes and Cousin Ernie perform as "Cousin Ernie and His Four Hot Chicken Pickers" on "Millikan's Chicken Mash Hour" in order to receive money that pays Cousin Ernie's bus ticket home to Bent Fork, Tennessee.
102 "Mertz and Kurtz" The Ricardos and Mertzes perform with the Mertzes' friend Barney Kurtz in a performance at the Tropicana in an attempt to help Barney impress his grandson.
101 "Mr and Mrs TV Show" Lucy and Ricky are asked to perform in a new television show for sponsor Phipps Dept. Store. Lucy's participation is to Ricky's chagrin. When Lucy catches wind of Ricky's reluctance to have her cast, she decides to sabotage the rehearsal to get even with Ricky. However, Lucy hasn't sabotaged a mere rehearsal, she ruined the actual show!
104 "Ricky's Screen Test" Ricky asks Lucy to perform with him in his upcoming screen test. Determined to make Ricky's screen test her big break, Lucy tries a plethora of different methods to get her face on camera. Ruining almost every take, Ricky and the director become annoyed with her. Finally, the director orders the camera to be placed solely on Ricky and no one else.
113 "Ethel's Home Town" Ethel has fibbed about her reason for heading to California with Ricky and the Mertzes and has led her home town to believe that she is en route to Hollywood to appear in a movie. Annoyed, The Ricardos and Fred make plans to upstage Ethel during her solo performance at the Little Theater in Albuquerque. Discovering their plot Ethel is infuriated. However, she has the last laugh when the photographer comes to take a picture of the group and plans to caption it: "Ethel Mae Potter and Company!"
116 "Lucy Gets into Pictures" Lucy finally gets her big break and is cast as a showgirl in a film. However, the giant headdress proves cumbersome and she is downgraded to a less prolific position. Finally, she is cast as "the girl who is already dead when the scene opens."
117 "The Fashion Show" Lucy appears in a Don Loper fashion show to get a free dress.
120 "The Bullfight Dance" Lucy blackmails Ricky into letting her perform. He tries rehearsing a counterpoint arrangement of "Swanee River" and "Humoresque" but Lucy can't get it right. Finally, he casts her as a bull to his matador. Lucy, offended at the thought of being in a bull costume, decides to feminize the bull and makes it a lot less fearsome than it's supposed to be. She upstages Ricky at every turn during the performance.
125 "The Dancing Star" Lucy arranges to do a song and dance number with Van Johnson to impress Carolyn Appleby.
130 "Lucy and the Dummy" Lucy performs a dance with a Ricky Ricardo dummy after the real Ricky makes plans to go fishing. The performance is hilarious and Lucy is offered a contract. She turns it down after realizing that it would take her away from Ricky and her son.
135 "Lucy Goes to a Rodeo" Lucy and the Mertzes come to Ricky's aid when he needs to cast Western acts on short notice.
142 "Lucy Meets the Queen" Ricky is scheduled to perform for the Queen at the famed London Palladium. Desperate to meet the Queen, Lucy demands to be cast. Ricky acquiesces because he knows how much meeting the Queen means to Lucy. She performs as a circus pony, but has a sore leg due to over rehearsing her curtsies when she meets the Queen. Lucy struggles through the act and feels she has made a fool of herself. The Queen demands to meet Lucy, because of her hilarious dance routine.
154 "Lucy and Bob Hope" Bob Hope is scheduled to perform at Ricky's new nightclub--Club Babalu. Lucy wants to be in the act and manages to meet Hope at a baseball game. She cons him into letting her into the act, and they perform a baseball-inspired number with Ricky.
155 "Lucy Meets Orson Welles" Lucy accepts a part in Orson Welles' new act. Knowing that Welles is one of the best Shakespearian actors alive, she believes that she's been cast as Juliet to his Romeo. However, Welles is unveiling his new magic act, and wants Lucy to be his assistant. During the performance, Lucy recites lines from "Romeo and Juliet" while Welles tries to levitate her.
156 "Little Ricky Gets Stage Fright" Little Ricky is set to appear in his "Dixieland Band" at Club Babalu, but their ukulele player is ill. Lucy fills in.
163 "Little Ricky's School Pageant" Little Ricky's kindergarten class is having a play and needs people to volunteer for parts in the play. Due to his sole status as the only parent in show business, Ricky anticipates landing the director and producer positions, however, he loses out to another parent who promises to give the audience free orange juice during intermission. Instead, he is given the role of a hollow tree and then offers Lucy and the Mertzes' services as well. Lucy is cast as the witch, Ethel as the fairy princess and Fred as Hippity Hoppity the Frog. Little Ricky plays the lead.
173 "Ragtime Band" The Westport Historical Society is putting on a show to raise money. Lucy, along with the Mertzes, appear alongside Ricky as a calypso band.

Birth of Little Ricky

In 1952, after going to the doctor complaining of feeling "dauncey" (Lucy's definition of "dauncey" is when you're not really sick but just feel lousy) and gaining weight. She learned that she was pregnant and was excited to tell her husband the exciting news. The Mertzes learn the news first and are sworn to secrecy. When she was younger, Lucy had envisioned how she would tell her husband that they were going to have a baby. She decides to tell Ricky when he comes home from lunch that afternoon. However, with repeated interruptions from the telephone and the Mertzes, she is unable. She tries to tell him down at his club during rehearsals, but is uncomfortable telling him such a personal thing in front of his band. Finally, that evening, while Ricky is performing, Lucy pens a note and passes it to the maître d'. He gives the note to Ricky. Ricky reads the note which basically alludes to a wife needing to tell her husband that they were having a baby. Ricky, unaware that the "husband" mentioned in the note is him, wants to bring the expectant couple up on stage to congratulate them. He goes from couple to couple trying to find them. Ricky notices Lucy in the audience, and it occurs to him that Lucy may be the one who is expecting. Lucy nods yes, and Ricky is overcome with emotion. They fight happy tears and sing "We're Having a Baby."

During her pregnancy, Lucy experienced the normal pregnancy woes. She became depressed when everyone seemed to focus their attention on the impending child and not on Lucy. She couldn't decide on a name for the child and was nervous that she wasn't going to be a good mother. However, she wanted the best for her child and enrolled herself, Ricky and the Mertzes in English lessons to make sure that her child learned how to speak properly. Finally, she took up sculpting so that she and Ricky could enrich their child's life with art and music, respectively.

Lucy's show business aspirations never waned however. She managed to break into Ricky's barbershop quartet number by firing the man who had the part she wanted.

Finally, on January 19, 1953 (the same day she had her real-life son and actor Desi Arnaz, Jr.) , while husband Ricky was performing a new number at his nightclub, Lucy gave birth to Ricky Ricardo Jr. The Mertzes were named Little Ricky's godparents.

Hollywood

In 1954, Lucy's husband was given a role in an upcoming MGM film based on the life of Don Juan. Lucy and the Mertzes followed Ricky on his journey to Hollywood stardom. While in Hollywood, Lucy met many famous celebrities, including William Holden, Hedda Hopper, Rock Hudson, Cornel Wilde, Harpo Marx, Richard Widmark, Van Johnson and John Wayne. She reported having spotted 99 celebrities while in Hollywood and finally procured an even 100 when she met Wilde. Lucy was incredibly starstruck and saved anything that had even come in contact with a celebrity such as a can that was smashed by Cary Grant's left rear wheel. However, she didn't merely hob nob with celebrities, she also got a few chances to break into show business herself.

Ricky got her a small role in a film as a showgirl. Lucy's role required her to wear a large headdress and she also got a death scene. However, the headdress proved cumbersome and her part was downgraded. She eventually ended up as a showgirl who is already dead on a stretcher when the scene begins. Lucy's second foray into show business was when she replaced Van Johnson's sick redheaded partner in his act at the hotel. She wanted to impress her friend Carolyn Appleby and successfully coaxed Johnson into giving her the job through flattery. She does an excellent job and impresses the crowd. Finally, she has her third shot at stardom when she appears with a Ricky Ricardo dummy at a luncheon for movie executives. Ricky was asked to perform, but he declined in favor of a fishing trip he had planned. Lucy accepted on his behalf and schemed to build the dummy and then pretend that he's ill and she finishes the show herself. Her plan doesn't go as well as she had hoped, but she's still a smash success and is offered a contract. She declines however, when she realizes that it would take her away from her husband and son.

Europe

Very soon after returning home from Hollywood, Ricky's band was given a chance to tour around Europe. Lucy and the Mertzes were again given the opportunity to tag along on the trip and get a once in a lifetime opportunity. They sailed on a cruise ship across the Atlantic where Lucy won a ping pong trophy. She also managed to get stuck in a porthole.

After landing in England, Lucy got the chance to perform and meet the Queen of England. She also participated in a Fox Hunt and got to stay at a real English estate. In Paris, she met Charles Boyer and was temporarily detained in a French jail after having inadvertently trying to use counterfeit money. Also, in one of the funniest scenes in television history, she stomped on grapes in Turo, a wine making town in Italy, and wrestles (and nearly drowned by) her proffesional grape-stomping partner (in a grape vat).

Moving to Connecticut

In 1956, Lucy and her husband Ricky decided to move to Connecticut. This happened after a trip there and Lucy falling in love with the area. Before they moved in, though, she tried to get out of the deal. Soon they decided to raise chickens. Their best friends, Fred Mertz and Ethel Mertz, moved into their guest house. (Fred was raised on a farm) After this was unsuccessful, they decided to shut their business down. Lucy and Ricky also made close friends while in Connecticut, Betty Ramsey and Ralph Ramsey (the Ricardo's next door neighbors).

References

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