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JessiLu

Desi & Regis

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JessiLu    33

Just came across this old blog post written by someone who worked on Regis Philbin’s LA tv show in the 70s, and he recounts Desi’s appearance on the show:

http://donaldsandershollywoodnotes.blogspot.com/2010/01/desi-arnaz-i-love-lucy.html

Interesting, as I have always loved Regis and didn’t know he had interviewed Desi.  

But it’s also a bit sad - specifically the tidbit about Desi showing up with a nurse and using a walker. I wonder if this was temporary, since Desi had a lot of medical procedures over the years? 

I do seem to recall hearing Lucie referencing her dad using a cane or walker when his grandkids would come to visit. But when promoting his book years earlier, he would have been in his late 50s at this point, which is young for a walker. I believe Michael Stern first met Desi while making a Tonight Show appearance around the same time, and said Desi was accompanied by his longtime assistant, Johnny Aithison. Michael noted they both had their hands full carrying things inside the studio - but didn’t mention a walker. So maybe the walker on Regis’ show was a temporary thing. 

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Luvsbway    2,039

Thanks for that. I love reading anything about his later life.  As far as the nurse and walker, he had a lot of operations in the 60s and 70s. I think there was one around the time Lucy broke her leg where she even came to see him in the hospital. So the use of the walker and nurse don’t seem all that odd to me. I have some other articles from his book tour that don’t mention him needing any assistance. Someone here posted audio of 2 TV interviews he did and they are fantastic. There is a Carson I have where he is promoting the book and other than looking older, he looks great. I think in the audio I referenced Desi at one point says he was back down to his Ricky weight.

 I do find it a bit odd on how his demeanor is described as he was the guy who walked into a room and you knew he was there. Of course he came alive on air as he’s a performer and that is what they do. But I think he may have just not been feeling that well that day. And as we know, the hard drinking and hard living really took a toll on him. Johnny did work with him for many years as well as Kenny Morgan, Cleo’s ex-husband. I recently ran into a nephew of Ken’s on Facebook who verified that for me.

 As for the needing money rumor mentioned in the article, I don’t think that is entirely false. From what I heard he did manage his money bad and I think by the 70s he was looking for income. I don’t think he was ever broke, but as any entertainer when there isn’t the work coming in, you look for other ways to get it.

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Freddie2    842

What a treat! We see so little of post-ILL Desi. Most of his later appearances seem confined to talk shows, which unfortunately don't get much circulation. I wonder how Regis would describe the experience.

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JessiLu    33
13 hours ago, Luvsbway said:

But I think he may have just not been feeling that well that day. And as we know, the hard drinking and hard living really took a toll on him. Johnny did work with him for many years as well as Kenny Morgan, Cleo’s ex-husband. I recently ran into a nephew of Ken’s on Facebook who verified that for me.

 As for the needing money rumor mentioned in the article, I don’t think that is entirely false. From what I heard he did manage his money bad and I think by the 70s he was looking for income. I don’t think he was ever broke, but as any entertainer when there isn’t the work coming in, you look for other ways to get it.

My initial thought was that his behavior pre- and post- interview wasn’t in line with what I’ve heard about his charismatic personality, and that maybe he wasn’t feeling well that day but was able to ‘turn it on’ for the cameras. So I totally agree.

Regarding him needing the money, I read somewhere that it wasn’t just a matter of poor money management but his gambling. In later years Lucy would blame the decline of the marriage on “booze, broads and gambling” while adding “and he never changed.” Perhaps that led to his financial problems in the 70s. Too bad, because he walked away from Desilu and should have been set for life. Instead, I heard he left his kids homes that were heavily mortgaged. At least he had enough sense to set up a trust fund to cover his mother’s care after he passed with her still alive.

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