He wanted to be here tonight. I’d like to read something that he wrote:
‘I Love Lucy’ had just one mission: to make people laugh. Lucy gave it a rare quality. She can perform the wildest, even the messiest physical comedy without losing her feminine appeal. The ‘New York Times’ asked me to divide the credit for its success between the writers, directors and the cast. I told them, ‘Give Lucy 90% of the credit. Divide the other 10% among the rest of us’. Desi concluded: Lucy was the show. Viv, Fred, and I were just props. Damn good props. But props nevertheless. PS- ‘I Love Lucy’ was never just a title.
-Desi Arnaz’s tribute to his ex-wife Lucille Ball, read by Robert Stack at the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7, 1986, five days after Desi had passed away from lung cancer.
“She told me she dreamt she had died. And she came back as a ghost on Hollywood Boulevard. She’s walking along as a ghost, and no one remembers her. When she died, that was the first thing I thought of, because you never saw such an outpouring of love, almost obsession. I thought, she would be so proud.” - Candy Moore
Lucille Ball’s emotional speech during her 1984 induction into the Television Hall of Fame.
Her co-stars Vivian Vance and William Frawley had both passed away years before the ceremony. Her former husband Desi Arnaz was unable to attend.
Lucy was known for giving her co-stars a lot of credit for her success, especially Desi, which could explain her heartfelt reaction to receiving such an honor:
“I was proud of what he did. He helped the show tremendously. Without him, it wouldn’t have become as big as it is.”
“He built a dynasty. We had sixteen shows on the air. We owned three studios, and Desi did it all. I mean, all I did was have babies and do the show - and loved every minute of it!”
“I wanted to put Desi’s name first, because he worked the hardest.”
“You know, when I was married to the Cuban, I never had to worry about a thing. Desi was so damn smart about everything - scripts, cameras, lighting, costuming, you name it. I would simply waltz in on Monday mornings and the cast and I would read a perfect script, all ready for rehearsal. All I had to do was be Lucy. Desi took care of the rest. We made a great team. Plus, it didn’t hurt that we were crazy about each other.”
“There would be no Lucy without Desi.” (1984)
Two years later, in 1986, upon hearing she was to be one of the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, Lucy was quoted as saying the honor should be for her and Desi.