Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz’s Son Is Now a Gray Widower Who Lives a Quiet Life — He Became a Dad at 15 & Lost a Grandkid

    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s relationship bore them a beautiful son named Desi Jr. and a daughter named Lucie.
    Despite their relationship ending in divorce, the iconic pair continued to express their love for one another until their deaths.
    Desi Jr. not only mourns the loss of his parents but of his wife and granddaughter.
    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met on the set of the “Too Many Girls” film adaptation. Ball was the star of the show, and Arnaz instantly fell in love with her.

    Shortly after meeting, they got married in 1940. However, their busy work schedules and Arnaz’s enlistment in the army during World War II kept them apart for most of their marriage.

    A portrait of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, circa 1955 | Source: Getty Images

    Despite their busy lives, Ball was determined to expand their family. As such, her mother-in-law insisted she converted to Catholicism, and she did. Tragically, they went through two miscarriages before Ball finally gave birth to their daughter, Lucie Arnaz. They welcomed another child, son Desi Jr., two years later.

    Ball considered giving birth to her children as miraculous. She insinuated that her faith played a big role in allowing her to cope with her miscarriages and, later on, falling pregnant again.

    The two stars went on to work on “I Love Lucy” together and ventured into owning a TV production company called Desilu Studios. Throughout this time, Arnaz’s increasingly notorious reputation caught up with him.

    Ball had a difficult time shielding her children from her husband’s destructive ways. She claimed he did nothing in moderation, be it alcohol, broads, or gambling. He was known to be an alcoholic and a womanizer.

    Having had enough, Ball divorced the actor in 1960, just a month before filming their final scenes of “I Love Lucy.”

    Lucille Ball with Desi Arnaz Jr. in 1953 | Source: Getty Images

    Ball couldn’t handle the way her children asked her questions about their father, and she had to lie to protect his image. “He never honored our marriage,” she said. “It took me a long time to realize it was a lost cause.”

    By then, they were separated and co-owners of one of Hollywood’s major TV studios. Arnaz kept himself out of the spotlight for most of his life after marriage, admitting at one point that he was a family man despite all the rumors.

    “The truth is, I’m a family man, and I love the family life,” he said during an interview. In fact, when they were both still alive, Arnaz would still send Ball flowers every single year on their wedding anniversary.

    “I send Lucy flowers on our anniversary. Even though we’re divorced, she gets them every year. I still love Lucy. Yes, very much,” he added.

    Through the years, sources close to the couple said the two never really got over one another. They would see each other during family occasions, and they were constantly in touch by phone.

    However, even their children knew their marriage wasn’t as smooth sailing as they wanted it to be. Their daughter Lucie recalled how “horrible” their divorce was.

    Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball with their children, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz | Source: Getty Images

    Although she and her younger brother Desi Jr. didn’t experience any abuse, she admitted they had to endure some pretty rough things growing up.

    In 1986, Arnaz’s end crept in due to his lung cancer diagnosis. About a month before he and Ball would say their final words to one another, the actress came to visit her ex-husband.

    Arnaz had been living with his daughter, Lucie, who invited Ball over. Lucie shared how fearful Ball was, not knowing how much time Arnaz had left.

    To reminisce on their yesteryears, Lucie made them watch old “I Love Lucy” episodes together. She felt it was a goofy thing to do, but she did it anyway. She gave them some time together, and she could hear them both laughing. Ball later left but would admit to her daughter that she “cried all the way home.”

    About a month later, when Lucie realized her dad was deteriorating, she called Ball and asked her to speak with him. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you,” Lucie heard her mom saying.

    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, circa 1955 | Source: Getty Images

    With all his might, Arnaz responded: “I love you too, honey.” The next morning, he died in his daughter’s arms.

    Ball passed away two and a half years later, in 1989. She had suffered from an abdominal aortic aneurysm and had undergone a 7-hour surgery. She died days later at 77.

    Lucie has worked hard to keep her parents’ legacies alive. She followed their footsteps into the industry, debuting her acting at only 11 years old.

    She appeared on her mom’s “I Love Lucy” spinoff titled “The Lucy Show,” then later starred in another spinoff before setting out on her own. She had several successful projects like “Washington Mistress” and “Who Is The Black Dahlia?” Later on, she also ventured into hosting her own talk show and theatre.

    Lucie Arnaz on the set of "Will & Grace" Season 3 on November 25, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

    Lucie was once married to actor Philip Vandevort Menegaux, but they divorced five years later. However, “The Park” actress gave love another chance when she married Laurence Luckinbill in 1980. Together they share three children—Joseph, Simon, and Katherine.

    Ball and Arnaz’s son, Desi Jr., was a star even before he was born. Ball fell pregnant while filming the second season of “I Love Lucy,” and rather than interrupt the hit show’s timeline, they chose to write the pregnancy into the script.

    At the time, television shows were extremely conservative. Actors could not say the word “pregnant,” and words like “expecting” or “expectant” were already considered controversial on air.

    Lucille Ball and her son Desi Arnaz Jr. in the backyard of their Los Angeles, California home in the late 1950s | Source: Getty Images

    Arnaz wanted to change that, so he asked for script approval from a group of clerics, and when he did, CBS said yes to the storyline.

    When Ball gave birth to Desi Jr. in Los Angeles via Cesarian section, her on-screen son, Ricky, was also born on the show. It introduced a new kind of storytelling to TV viewers and was historical.

    The episode, titled “The Birth of Little Ricky,” beat Eisenhower’s inauguration the following day in terms of the most TV sets tuned into one show until the 1960s. It also paved the way for many other shows to expand their storylines.

    When Desi Jr. came of age, he decided to pursue a career in the industry by becoming a teen idol. He played drums in a band called Dino, Desi, & Billy and was a certified heartthrob.

    He had a notorious childhood, having admitted to drinking as early as 11 and suffering from substance abuse. He was also constantly on the tabloids for dating high-profile women like Liza Minnelli, Linda Purl, and Patty Duke.

    At 15, he became a dad to daughter Julia Arnaz when his then-partner, Susan Callahan-Howe, also 15, got pregnant. At 25, doctors told him he had a brain of a sixty-year-old because of the chemical abuse that took place through the years.

    A year after his dad’s death, Desi Jr. was determined to get his life back on track. That same year, he married his wife, Amy Laura Bergiel.

    Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., circa 1980 | Source: Getty Images

    After seeking therapy and going through counseling programs, Desi Jr. set out for a new life. He overcame his struggles with addiction and started a fresh life with his wife.

    Bergiel had a daughter named Haley from a previous relationship, whom he considered his own daughter. He adopted her and raised her as his own.

    No death is ever easy, and when Desi Jr. thought his life was about to get from bad to better, he had to deal with the loss of his mother just two and a half years after his dad’s death and shortly after marrying Bergiel.

    Nevertheless, he and his wife had a lovely union, deciding to settle in Boulder City, Nevada. They owned Boulder Theatre, a cinema they converted into a theatre.

    Desi Arnaz Jr. and Amy Arnaz outside Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, California on January 16, 1999 | Source: Getty Images

    Boulder Theatre was where Boulder City Ballet Company held rehearsals and performances, and it was all thanks to Bergiel’s love for dance.

    Through the years, the couple also exerted efforts toward animal activism. They’ve rescued and adopted baby elephants that were orphaned due to the ivory trade.+

    In 2015, their marriage was cut short when Bergiel passed away at the age of 63. She had been battling cancer and died only four days after Desi Jr.’s 62nd birthday.

    Desi Jr. is now 70 years old, and Lucie marked the special occasion by posting some of their recent pictures on social media.

    Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards at the Barker Hangar on April 14, 2007 in Santa Monica, California | Source: Getty Images

    Years later, in 2020, Desi Jr. suffered another loss when his granddaughter, Desiree S. Anzalone, died from stage 4 breast cancer at 31.

    Anzalone was the daughter of Desi Jr.’s eldest daughter, Julia, with her partner Mario Anzalone. She was the first great-grandchild of Ball and Arnaz and the first grandchild of Desi Jr.

    The loss was a difficult one to bear for the family, especially since Desiree was so young at the time of her death. Her mother, Julia, said:

    “Watching her slip away was just… I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that.”

    Despite his misfortunes, Desi Jr. isn’t alone in life. His older sister Lucie makes sure to keep in close contact with him, and their life-long close bond stands strong.

    Desi Jr. is now 70 years old, and Lucie marked the special occasion by posting some of their recent pictures on social media. In her post’s caption, she wished him a “happy and healthy” 7th decade and expressed her love for him.

    Unlike Lucie, who recently starred in the documentary “Lucy and Desi,” Desi Jr. has chosen to stay out of the spotlight and live a private life.

    Fans sometimes get a glimpse of him through his sister’s social media pages, which she also fills with tributes to their parents. Through the pictures she shares, fans are able to see the striking resemblance between Desi Jr. and his dad.

    Although many of Desi Jr.’s loved ones are no longer with him, fans can rest assured he’s in good hands with his sister, his daughter, and his grandchildren.

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