Monday, July 29, 2013
THE LAST DAYS OF LUCILLE BALL
The date was March 29, 1989, and the most famous comedienne in the history of show business was about to make her final TV appearance. The great Lucille Ball was appearing at the annual Academy Awards ceremony, along with the world's most popular other comedian, Bob Hope (an old friend). Hope had talked Lucy into making the joint appearance, after many phone calls and much begging. Finally Lucy conceded, but she hated the very idea of it. Lucy hated putting on the wig she had chosen to wear. She complained the netting gave her a headache. "G--damn Hope," Lucy complained, "No one cares what the hell he looks like, but everybody cares what I look like -God, I am so tired of myself." Lucy did her final TV appearance with Hope all all went smoothly enough. Now she had to go back to real life.
Lucy had been a bit down lately. She had never really completely recovered from the death of her former husband Desi Arnaz, her co-star on the legendary "I Love Lucy". Most intimate friends saw the obvious about Lucy's love for Desi. Although she was currently in a comfortable marriage to Gary Morton, she had always carried a torch for Desi. (Desi always sent Lucy flowers on her birthday and on their anniversary, and the two kept in close touch by phone throughout the years.)
Also, the dismal failure of her recent TV series "Life With Lucy" weighed heavily on her mind. Lucy now occupied her days watching TV, playing Scrabble and backgammon, and having occasional drinks of Bourbon ("slushies" as she called them).
On April 17th, Lucy started experiencing shooting pains in her chest. Her husband called the doctor and tried to talk Lucy into going to the hospital. Lucy refused to go until Gary called Lucy's daughter, who finally convinced her. Lucy only agreed to go if she could get nicely dressed and put on her makeup. Upon arriving, Lucy was given seven hours of open-heart surgery at the hospital. Lucy's operation was a success, and after a few days, she returned home.
But sadly, after Lucy arrived home she was told she couldn't live in her own bedroom. She'd have to stay in the guest room downstairs. As Lucy's house had no elevators, the doctors wanted to make sure she didn't do any stair climbing. This apparently broke Lucy's heart. She did not want to live in a makeshift bedroom and she did not want to be treated as an invalid.
The next morning, Lucy's surgically repaired aorta ruptured again and she went into full cardiac arrest. She was rushed back to the hospital, but this time the doctors couldn't save her. The great Lucy had passed away.
"She really disintegrated so quickly," said Tannen. "Her tombstone should have read 'From Desi's death on Dec. 2, 1986, to her own death on April 26, 1989' because that was the life of her death. On her death certificate it says 'ruptured aorta.' but I believe Lucy died because she didn't want to live anymore." Lucy might not of wanted to live anymore, but because of her great body of entertainment, she will live forever...