Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
JessiLu

Lucy/Desi phone convo

Recommended Posts

JessiLu    34

I recently stumbled onto this blog and the writer shared the following:

As you might know, Desi and Lucy talked ones or twice a week on the phone (and in the later years every single day.) He was always around, even when they were divorced. I saw on YouTube a interview from an close family friend of Lucy and Desi, (I can’t  find him anymore and I’m forgotten which person was interviewed). She told that she came to Lucy’s house one day because she had left something. She had the key from house and thought Lucy was at work. The phone rings and she picked him up, but to her surprise Lucy had already picked up the phone (she was home, in her bedroom).     

She (the friend) said: “I wanted to stop listening but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Desi was on the other line, it was an emotional call... He told her how much he loved her and how terrible it was what has happened between them. How  much regret he feel for what he had done and that he hurt her the way he did. And that he never in tempt to hurt her and wished he could turn the time back and do everything different. She told him, that she wished the same but had already forgave him, and will always love him no matter what… I heard everything they said and was crying softly, scared they might hear me. After I left, I was deeply ashamed of myself, and told nobody what I had heard.”    
 
I cried when I heard the interview... really beautiful.  
 
 
I've read and watched a lot of interviews about Lucy and Desi over the years but haven't seen this one. Has anyone seen this video, heard this story and/or know who the supposed eavesdropping family friend was? 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luvsbway    2,049

I've seen this story pop up on Tumbler from time to time. Never has a source with it. Also why would some random friend answer the phone at her house? Lucy had help, so it was very rare that the house was completely empty. I think as much as we would like it to be true there are too many questions surrounding it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taylor    427

Sounds like someone made up a story around one of the last phone calls Lucy and Desi had when Desi was sick and lay dying, as it sounds exactly like the conversations Lucie overheard at the time.  I smell BS. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil    1,350

On screen they were so genuine that it's SO tempting to believe that Lucy and Desi WERE Lucy and Ricky.  But alas no.  They were consulate actors playing characters.   In the end, it was Desi's flagrant and unapologetic infidelity that did the couple in.  Exacerbated by the personality change in Desi as he buckled under the enormous pressure and stress of commanding  the expanded Desilu empire,  a position for which he had no experience.   If Desi had not acquired RKO in1957, they might have made it as a couple.  I think that's the way they both really wanted it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34

Thanks everyone! My gut told me the story was BS, too, but I thought I'd check. 

8 hours ago, Neil said:

On screen they were so genuine that it's SO tempting to believe that Lucy and Desi WERE Lucy and Ricky.  But alas no.  They were consulate actors playing characters.   In the end, it was Desi's flagrant and unapologetic infidelity that did the couple in.  Exacerbated by the personality change in Desi as he buckled under the enormous pressure and stress of commanding  the expanded Desilu empire,  a position for which he had no experience.   If Desi had not acquired RKO in1957, they might have made it as a couple.  I think that's the way they both really wanted it.  

I would argue that it wasn't the infidelity itself that did Lucy and Desi in as a couple, but the alcohol which fueled that infidelity. Lucy knew about Desi's infidelity in the mid-forties and filed for divorce, but ultimately went back to him. Desi's autobiography even alludes to a bit of infidelity on Lucy's part, and since Lucy and Desi were still close and very much in touch when the autobiography came out, I would think she would have taken major issue with him including it in the book if it wasn't true. So I think it's safe to assume there was infidelity on both sides. (Although, Desi's infidelity was to a MUCH, much greater degree.)

I believe it was a close family friend who said that, for Lucy, it was one thing for her to know about his cheating, but it was another thing to have it known. Friends said that when Desi would get drunk, he was wild and was basically oblivious to who was watching, and his cheating got much worse. When the tabloids started reporting on his behavior, it was humiliating for her. So I would argue that it was the disease of alcoholism that really ruined their marriage.

Was buying RKO the beginning of the end for their marriage? Perhaps. But friends say it was around 1954 when things started to get bad with Desi's drinking, and I believe Lucy has been quoted as saying that by 1955 or '56 they didn't even have a marriage. Maybe if they didn't desire to own the "I Love Lucy" film and decided to just play Lucy and Ricky instead of forming Desilu, their marriage may have made it. But if that had happened, the show may have not benefitted from Desi's innovation and talent as a producer, and it wouldn't have ended up the ledgendary show it became. So who really knows. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34

Another quote I came across on Facebook, supposedly from Desi, which has no source citation:

“I think people have a wrong belief that once a marriage ends the love ends. Lucy and I spent two decades together. We raised two wonderful children together. Lucy is not someone I am likely to forget. She is the love of my life. She knows that.”

Anyone know what interview it came from and when Desi said it? While Desi was pretty open in interviews about still loving Lucy even while married to Edie, it’s pretty bold to call Lucy the love of his life while married to Edie. So if legit, I’m wondering if Desi said this before marrying Edie or after she passed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luvsbway    2,049

I have seen this quote but I can’t come up with a citation for it. My hunch is that if he did say this it was around the mid 70s. I have many articles down around the time the book came out where he says some really nice things about Lucy and in the way he says them it sort of implies that Edie knew of his pining for Lucy. Now if she was ok with it is another story. I always feel bad for her because Desi was always very vocal about his continued love for Lucy in a way that Lucy never spoke in public/in print of her love for Desi after the divorce. I don’t think the quote is from after Edie died because it wasn’t too long after she died that Desi himself got sick and I don’t have any interviews with him from this time period. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34

I remember in the acknowledgements section of his book, Desi thanked Edie for coming along at the right time and helping to pull him out of a really low point in his life (can’t recall his exact words). Since Edie did to some extent know Desi and Lucy as a married couple, I’ve always wondered if Desi might have been open with Edie about his heartbreak over Lucy when they first started spending time together. He was certainly open with other family friends / Del Mar neighbors like Marcella Rabwin about still being in love with Lucy after the divorce. In any case, I think it was Kaye Ballard who said that Edie was an unhappy woman because she knew in her heart that Lucy was the first love of Desi’s life and she was the second. Perhaps Edie went into the marriage knowing about Desi’s pining for Lucy but was hoping it would fade with time. 

Desi always struck me as a man who wore his heart on his sleeve but Lucy was not like that at all. I always got the impression that she was trying to put on this public front that she had moved on from Desi and was trying to validate Gary as this great husband and step father, probably as much for Gary’s sake as her own image. Maybe that was true, but all of her actions in private reflected that she still loved Desi. She would pull mutual friends aside and ask about him, call him multiple times a week, her face would light up when she saw him (according to Lucie), and ultimately her health started going down hill when he passed. (Although, I’m not sure to what extent she told friends she was still in love with Desi. Lucie, for one, once said that she tried to talk to her mother about her feelings for her dad - because she suspected they still loved each other - but did not get very far.) 

But she certainly kept a poker face to some extent. When one interviewer noted to her that Desi said ‘I still love Lucy’ in his book, she smiled big but simply said ‘Thank you. There’s no animosity between us...’ She could have said ‘Of course I love him too’ or even ‘we’re good friends who are in touch often’ but I don’t really recall her giving details like that in interviews. She seemed to really want to keep that private for whatever reason. I also recall a People Magazine interviewer asking her if she still saw Desi socially, and she said something to the effect of, ‘Sure. He’s been remarried 17 years to a great girl.’ Like she felt the need to remind folks that they had both moved on, almost as if to throw people off the scent. 

I think Gary’s “she’s happy now, she’s with Desi’ comment to a friend after her passing said it all. Both spouses allowed them to stay in touch and on some level probably knew they were still in love with each other. Not an ideal situation, but what could they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luvsbway    2,049

 

You raise a good question about Desi letting Edie know about his heartbreak. According to Lucie her dad dated a bunch of blonde bimbos but then says he "got smart" and got together with Edie. I find it so interesting that she basically had to have an affair to be with him and got a quickie divorce to marry Desi. Her husband had hired a PI to follow them around so Desi hired one right back. That's a lot to go through to be together. Kaye in the commentary to the Mother-In-Laws behind the scenes footage says that Desi adored Edie. But I have heard the quote you mention. In one article from the mid 70s Desi is in the hospital and says that Lucy came to see him and basically cheered him up better than his wife did. That's a bit harsh to Edie. It was also reported that she was thinking of leaving him, but I think it was Jimmy on the lounge here who said it was due to his health issues. Desi still drank like a fish and according to his book editor still banged other women. I really question if Edie knew what she was getting into or if she thought maybe she could change him. I would assume Lucy might have clued her in on that topic. I think they did love each other and Lucie said Edie "knew how to handle" her dad. She didn't elaborate on that. 

 
Also it's been said that Lucy offered the guest house to Desi after Edie died because she was worried about him. I really wish if I could get confirmation if he took them up on the offer. Another bit of Edie stuff I think I have pieced together. That pool video of Lucy/Desi and Simon the person I think Lucy is talking to off camera in it is Edie. i always thought it was Lucie, but found out the reason Lucy had Simon was Lucie was in AZ doing a movie. So I think she called Desi and Edie to come up and spend some time with the grandkid, then this video happened. Lucie said she didn't even know about the video until after her parents died and Stu Shostack showed it to her. Frank was the one filming it. 
 
Again on point observations about Desi wearing his heart on his sleeve. I think Lucy did not openly show her continued love for Desi was 2 fold. First it was saving face. Over the years since their divorce I think she felt that she had to own that divorce, that she did it for the right reasons. That she was so humiliated by his actions she could show warmth to him as the father of her children, the life they shared and what they created, but if she pined for him the public might be upset that she was showing remorse for a cheater. Second is Gary. Not only in public did she build him up, by saying he was his own man, which I'm not sure what that meant to her. But I have letters she wrote to Gary doing the same thing, saying how great a father he was to her kids, how much she loved him, how happy her life was with him. Some on the lounge here have speculated that Lucy may have been doing this for herself. To convince herself that she did pick the right person and damn it, she is in love with him. If it isn't that then it is at least her feeling that maybe Gary had insecurities about her love or her being married to him. I have an interview with Frank where he tells the story of Gary calling home to say he was leaving the golf course and would be home soon Frank in passing the phone to Lucy said, "It's your husband." Lucy said, "Which one? Wanda in the same interview said Lucy would get so excited for her yearly anniversary flowers from Desi to arrive. After Lucy died the love letters that Desi and Lucy wrote to each other during the war were discovered in her lingerie drawer in the bathroom. Pretty convenient place to put something you'd want access to, instead of being stashed in a box in the garage. As you've said it's those private moments that seem to go against her public front of being diplomatic about him, but never letting her true heartfelt feelings out. 
 
I do feel bad for each spouse in different ways. Gary seemed to have no idea what he was getting in to. He met Lucy far removed from Hollywood and according to Lucy the mob outside the church when they got married really stunned him. And how much did she tell him about her past marriage and what she went through? Or was she determined to start new and not burden him with that? So then he has to live in this other guy's shadow the rest of his life. And even if Edie knew more going in it had to hurt having Desi openly still profess his love for the person she knew was really the love of his life,. And add in the fact that she didn't get a better husband after the divorce. She got a guy who wouldn't admit to a drinking problem and cheated on her. You wonder if Gary and Edie ever had a little tet-a-tet to discuss their problems.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052
3 hours ago, Luvsbway said:

It was also reported that she was thinking of leaving him, but I think it was Jimmy on the lounge here who said it was due to his health issues. Desi still drank like a fish and according to his book editor still banged other women. I really question if Edie knew what she was getting into or if she thought maybe she could change him. I would assume Lucy might have clued her in on that topic. I think they did love each other and Lucie said Edie "knew how to handle" her dad. She didn't elaborate on that. 

Desi and Edie separated and nearly divorced in 1974. According to Marcella Rabwin, Desi's health following his colostomy affected the marriage. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34

Good to know about Kaye’s comment about Desi adoring Edie. She also said in the Desilu book that he ‘worshipped’ Lucy, always comparing everything to her. Perhaps it really is possible to be in love with two people. I also recall one book saying that friends claim that Edie and Desi’s marriage became more romantically sentimental in the last decade.

Regarding Desi’s time in the hospital, my recollection was that Desi said that Lucy was more worried about him than his own wife. But perhaps that was a different interview. What you (Luvsbway) described does seem harsh.

Great insights regarding Lucy and Desi with Simon in the pool! I ALWAYS assumed that they shot that video at Lucie’s house. I’ve wondered, too, about the picture from around 1980 of Lucy coming up behind Desi to give him a kiss. Were they that affectionate around their spouses, or were Gary and Edie not in the room?

I recall at least one book say that Desi did stay in Lucy’s guest house ‘under her watchful eye’ after Edie’s passing, and that Lucy offered it at their children’s urging since Desi presumably wasn’t handling it well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luvsbway    2,049
21 minutes ago, JessiLu said:

 

Regarding Desi’s time in the hospital, my recollection was that Desi said that Lucy was more worried about him than his own wife. But perhaps that was a different interview. What you (Luvsbway) described does seem harsh.

 

You're recalling the same interview. Guess it wasn't harsh, just felt like a slight to Edie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luvsbway    2,049
23 minutes ago, JessiLu said:

’ve wondered, too, about the picture from around 1980 of Lucy coming up behind Desi to give him a kiss. Were they that affectionate around their spouses, or were Gary and Edie not in the room?

 

That photo was from Lucie's wedding and I think it was the bridal shower. Everyone was at that. Another place they all got together was Lucie's opening night in LA of Seesaw. Her parents threw her an opening night party and Bob Osborne was also there. He said Lucy and Desi were very close that night, and Desi would frequently call Lucy "mama" even after the divorce. Bit of trivia. He calls Lucy this a few times in ILL. 

So this affectionate behavior seemed to go on when the other spouces were around.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34
3 hours ago, Luvsbway said:

That photo was from Lucie's wedding and I think it was the bridal shower. Everyone was at that. Another place they all got together was Lucie's opening night in LA of Seesaw. Her parents threw her an opening night party and Bob Osborne was also there. He said Lucy and Desi were very close that night, and Desi would frequently call Lucy "mama" even after the divorce. Bit of trivia. He calls Lucy this a few times in ILL. 

So this affectionate behavior seemed to go on when the other spouces were around.

I hadn't heard that tidbit from Robert Osbourne. I googled it and found the video of him talking about it at the TCM festival a few years ago, and he also shared that when Desi got cancer and was ill,  Lucy would go visit him and his wife was smart enough to know what they meant to each other and stay out of it and let them have that time together, and that Lucy was with him when he died. The cancer timeline wasn't entirely accurate (Edie died the year before he got cancer) nor was the part about Lucy being with Desi when he died (although she was there a few weeks or days before -- I've heard different versions). But I read that both Edie and Desi were really struggling with their health in the last decade of life, so perhaps it's true that Lucy would go down and visit him. That's the first I ever heard of her going to see him in Del Mar after their divorce other than the visit right before he died. And if true, it really shows how sacrificial Edie was to let them have their time together. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JessiLu    34
8 hours ago, Luvsbway said:

I have an interview with Frank where he tells the story of Gary calling home to say he was leaving the golf course and would be home soon Frank in passing the phone to Lucy said, "It's your husband." Lucy said, "Which one? Wanda in the same interview said Lucy would get so excited for her yearly anniversary flowers from Desi to arrive. After Lucy died the love letters that Desi and Lucy wrote to each other during the war were discovered in her lingerie drawer in the bathroom. Pretty convenient place to put something you'd want access to, instead of being stashed in a box in the garage. As you've said it's those private moments that seem to go against her public front of being diplomatic about him, but never letting her true heartfelt feelings out. 

 
 


I think Gary used to call Desi his "husband-in-law." At least he had a sense of humor about it. But maybe that gave Lucy the freedom to crack similar jokes.

Regarding the letters, my theory was that Lucy was very much missing Desi after his passing and would read the letters to feel close to him. Perhaps it was part of her grieving process. Assuming that was her own private bathroom, she probably stashed them in there because it was the one place that Gary wouldn't find them and, as you said, it gave her easy access. 

If you think about it, the grieving process must have been really hard for her. She couldn’t act like the widow, and as we established she wasn’t that open with friends and family (that we know of) about her love for Desi. So she must have felt really alone in her grief and maybe tried to supress some of it for Gary’s sake. Maybe the bathroom was the only place she could really let it all out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×