Friday, January 16, 2015
Born: Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909
Died: August 17, 1979 (70 years old)
We all love Lucy. Naturally, talented and hilarious, and humble. What is not to love about Lucy? We also love the neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz. Who have lighted up our lives for many years and who happen to be America's favorite neighbors. What surprises the world, is that America's favorite team, was the teams least favorite people. Meaning? Vivian Vance and William Frawley hated each other. I always wondered, is "Hate" too strong a word for the way they felt about each other? The fact remain, that William Frawley was okay with making another series, a spin-off and it would have been their own show. The Mertzs show. But Vivian Vance said no and that was that. Although both went their own ways, they will always be remembered as the Mertzs.
Vivian Vance became a star through her home town. Appearing in plays, she was a great singer, but an even more fantastic actress. She appeared onstage in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While William Frawley was a stage man too, the both never crossed paths. But then again, she was onstage as a singer and actress, he was in vaudeville. She was married a few times, and also suffered from depression. A disease most common in America. But she persevered and became a well known TV actress. She was married to a man most people would recognize at a drop off a hat. His name was Philip Ober. You might know him from such classics as From Here To Eternity and also a little scene from Hitchcock's classic, North by Northwest. The scene in which Cary Grant is in the United Nations Building, and the man he is talking to all of a sudden has a knife thrown into his back? You know that scene... That's Philip Ober. In From Here To Eternity, he is Burt Lancaster's boss.
But though he was someone what appeared in such classics, he was awfully jealous when Vivian Vance became a huge success in I Love Lucy. He began beating her, and would often stalk her. I know that sounds so odd, a husband stalking his wife. But he would literally sit in the audience and laugh loudly while Vivian was working. Some say he loved the sound of his own voice. And would watch the episodes and knew when he was laughing. Though, nobody else knew either. Lucille Ball was aware of his abuse and one day told Vivian Vance "if you don't divorce that man, I will." She eventually did, and was better for it. I can't imagine anyone hating Vivian Vance, or William Frawley for that matter. But I guess that happens.
She died of cancer. Breast and bone cancer. While sick, even though at the beginning of I Love Lucy, she did not love Lucy at first and even said "if this show takes off, I'll learn to love that bitch." But while she was sick, Lucille Ball went to visit Vivian in her home. They laughed and talked and reminisce on old times. That was a great day for both women. And a deserved time.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Vivian Vance. I enjoyed writing it. I enjoy her very much and enjoy her comedic side.