Desi Arnaz

March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986



 

Desi Arnaz
Desi Arnaz

 

Again, Findadeath.com owes a debt of gratitude to Anne Parisi, for generously donating her time and film, so we could all enjoy the photographs of Desi’s last breath location. Thanks Anne!

After getting divorced from Lucy in 1960, Desi eventually bought a home in Del Mar, California. Right on the ocean. His address was 1920 Ocean Front. Here’s what it looks like now.

 

 

He lived in this house, with his second wife, Edith, until she died in 1985. Here’s another picture of the house.

 

 

After Edith’s death, Desi typically drowned his sorrows in booze, but with the help of the ever-talented Desi Arnaz Jr., he got off the bottle, but not before the damage was done.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 1986 – and he lived out the rest of the days in his beachfront home.

 

 

 

He died at 5 minutes past midnight, on December 2nd, 1986. From what I can tell, his daughter Lucie was with him when it happened. This is the front door they carried his body out from.

 

 

Desi’s body was taken to the Cypress View Crematory, on Imperial Avenue, in San Diego. He was cremated there, and eventually, his offspring had his ashes scattered. Juicy Lucy Ball probably lit up, in his honor. They spoke for the last time, on November 10th.

By the way, Desi’s last appearance on film, was as Raul Julia’s father in The Escape Artist.

 

On one very dark and intoxicated evening, my buddy Steve and I decided to go on a “creepy crawl” of Beverly Hills. We both knew that Lucy’s old house was vacant. If you look closely at this photo of the house,

notice the shutter to the right of the front window. See how some of the slats are missing? Well, now look here.

Funny, huh? I would have got the whole damn thing, if it weren’t attached to the house. Glad I did it, now.

 

Trivia: For no good reason, I’ve chosen to include this review from a show that Lucie Arnaz did in Chicago – probably around 1990.

 

I often read it, and share it with fellow bad taste aficionados. Enjoy it. I sure have.

 

 

Updated December 2003:

January 2002 – Findadeath.com friend Kevin Hassell was kind enough to provide me with a video tape of the 50th anniversary of I Love Lucy, hosted by Lucie Arnaz, and Desi Jr. For the clips alone, it was a good watch, however, the rest was just an embarrassment. Those two children and their shameless self exploitation – it was cringe making. When they sang their duet about Cuba, I thought I was going to ralph. Lucy would have given them a good smack, I’m sure. Two thumbs down.

In my email box this week, from Findadeath.com friend Jean Browder:

“Your take on Lucie Arnaz was right on the mark. I remember when she was just starting that production for cabaret, it was in San Bernardino, CA at the old California Theater. The company have had a contract with Wyatt Cafeteria, and every night for a week she would come to eat dinner.

She was a total bitch to all of us that worked there. She really thought she was so above everyone, and ordered us around like we were her slaves. Most of us were in high school at that time, and on the last night she was there when we saw her coming down the line, we all taunted her with cries of LUCY, LUCY really loud, slopped the food on her plate and treated her with rudeness like she had all of us.

Now, my family has known several celebrities in our days, but she was the true Hollywood queen of bitches. It was cool, though, because Desi called one night, and I answered the phone. He said “I would like to talk to Lucie Arnaz” I knew it was him because of his accent. I said “May I ask who is calling?” He said “This is Desi Arnaz, her father” I don’t know what the conversation was between them, because the manager took her to his office for the call.”

Wow, thanks Jean.  Fun stuff!

 

 

Findadeath.com friend Mike Pare writes:  Lucy spoke to Desi, by the way, 2 days before he died. After Edie died, he for some time lived in Lucy’s guest house (bet Gary loved that)!!! Lucie Arnaz can be a pain, and she’s got a bug up her ass about her Mom, though it didn’t stop her from collecting many many millions. Desi Jr. is a MUCH nicer, real person, not an ounce of Hollywood bullshit in him.

 

 

Findadeath.com friend Karen writes in, February 2001:

I was just reading your post about Desi Arnaz.  Though I never knew him personally, but I thought I would share a few stories about him:

I grew up in Solana Beach in the late 60’s and through the 70’s. We lived on the bluff in an apartment complex on Del Mar Shores Terrace, (this was before all those condos were built). My dad and I used to climb down to the beach early in the morning to go fishing.

There were several occasions that Desi Arnaz would be taking a morning walk on the beach, and stop to talk to my dad. He was always very polite, asking about how the fishing was going, etc. We would see him in the summer time mostly, because he would come down for the Del Mar Race Track season.

Another time, we saw him at the race track sitting at some box seats with some of his friends.  There was a horse running named “PapaLou”. Before the race, they were all laughing and having a good time. I could hear him singing “PapaLou” to the tune of Ba Ba Lu. Sure enough, that horse won, and paid pretty good too since it was a long shot. By then, they were really partying.

The last time I ever saw any of the family was in 1978 when I graduated from high school. I was working at the McDonalds, which was brand new then, off of Via De La Valle just north of I-5. I had already given my notice there, and on the last day I worked, the last customer I waited on was Desi Arnaz Jr. I could not believe it when he walked in, he was so cute.

Thanks Karen.

 

 

More, March 2002:  LOVE your website! I just found this the other day while messing around. I grew up in the 70’s in Del Mar California, and Desi Arnaz was a fixture around that time. My brother got his haircut at an old barbershop that was on the corner by the beach.

Desi was totally white haired by that time and sadly, he looked about 20 years older (1976) I never forgot how nice a man he was to my brother and I, none of the Hollywood stuff–just a really nice man! Would like to talk to Karen also, I remember the McDonald’s when it was brand new, I think I graduated the same year as her.

Thanks, Ann!

 

 

December 2003: Findadeath.com friend Mike G sends us this great pic of Desi’s house, from the beach front.  Great shot Mike, and thanks for the new perspective.  -Scott.

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Desi Arnaz

  • June 27, 2022 at 6:44 pm
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    The Last Time talk to Lucy his Ex wife was on Nov 30 1986. Not The Nov 10. the 30 of Nov would have Been Their 46 Wedding Anniversary.

    Reply
    • June 27, 2022 at 6:52 pm
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      The Last Desi Talk to Lucy was on Nov 30 Not Nov 10. the 30 of Nov was Their 46 wedding Anniversary. that When Lucy Said to Desi I Love You, I Love You ,I Love you. and Desi Said I Love You Honey to. 12:05 on Dec 2 of 1986 He Pass away in His Daugther Arms.

      Reply
  • May 24, 2022 at 5:13 pm
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    Not knowing them personally, I “liked” Desi as a guy you “got” what you saw. A genuinely nice guy. Lucy, by the same definitions, not so much.. Worked at a department store in Century City & one day all the employees were in a state because Lucy was upstairs. Didn’t even bother to take a look.

    Loved Desi’s complete birth name: Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III – How’s that for a mouthful! Desi came from Cuban aristocracy, literally. His dad was a mayor, his granddad was an executive at Barcardi Rum, etc.

    Per Wikipedia: “Arnaz describes the opulent family life of his early youth in his autobiography, A Book (1976): the family owned three ranches, a palatial home and a vacation mansion on a private island in Santiago Bay.” Get the picture? This was a guy that didn’t grow up with a “silver spoon” in his mouth, it was “platinum”.

    His family lost everything in the Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro. Remember seeing some awards show where Desi & Lucy were being honored for something & Ed Sullivan was the Master of Ceremonies. Upon accepting the award Desi relayed, literally almost in tears, that when the family first got to the US (Miami) that he was reduced to cleaning out bird cages! Even Sullivan felt his pain & put his arm around Desi’s shoulder to comfort him.

    Also not relayed: It was Desi that was the business genius on “I Love Lucy” (ILL). Desi was the one that invented the three camera set-up to shoot the show. Which is still used today! Believe, but not positive, it was Desi who demanded ILL be shot on film & not tape. In an era when re-runs didn’t exist, it was Desi that got CBS to agree that they owned the show after the initial network broadcast! Can you imagine? The guy was a GD genius!

    From all the negative posts, think Lucy Arnaz took after Mommy Lucy. From all reports read Lucy was “a bitch on wheels”. Arrogant, condescending, a real bully. When Jack Benny (who was universally beloved as one of the nicest people on the planet) appeared on one of her shows she was literally, physically, shoving him around for placement!

    Richard Burton’s comments on Lucy when he & wife Elizabeth Taylor appeared on her show:

    Google top search result on “Richard Burton’s comments on Lucille Ball”:
    Burton devotes at least four pages to hating Lucy and the experience he and his famous wife had in working with her. Richard says a lot more than the following. But just to give you the gist, written in May 1970: “She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humor.”

    Anyone surprised now why Lucy Arnaz was the ogre she was? Like I said, just taking after mommy!!

    Reply
    • May 27, 2022 at 12:23 am
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      Wow! Just read all of Desi’s quotes. Had no idea he was so cerebral. Guess I should have with his brilliant set up of ILL.

      Reply
  • December 21, 2021 at 11:39 pm
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    I never wanted that review on Lucy Arnaz to end. I pray her “show” is somewhere on YouTube.

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    • March 4, 2022 at 1:15 am
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      Oh my word I totally agree…I devoured that review because it has completely justified my recent searches for “Lucie Arnaz talentless” lol

      Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 6:22 pm
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    may you rest in peace desi arnaz

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  • September 16, 2020 at 6:20 pm
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    may you rest in peacr

    Reply
  • May 16, 2020 at 5:28 am
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    Love your site! But your text states that, “After getting divorced from Lucy in 1960, Desi eventually bought a home in Del Mar, California.” In truth, the beach house in Del Mar was purchased in 1953 when Long, Long Trailer wrapped. In 1960, when Lucy and Desi divorced, Lucy got the homes in Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage and Desi got the beach house in Del Mar and his Horse Ranch in Corona, CA. Thnaks for all your great work.

    Reply
  • December 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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    Netflix had the 1970s SNL episodes when I first joined. I suffered through Milton Berle’s appearance, fully understanding why the producer banned it from reruns. On the other hand, the early show where Desi and Desi Jr co-hosted was a real riot, ending with a conga-line through the audience! Both wished Lucy a good night, making me hope that she had stayed up that night to watch. The Not Ready For Primetime Players, including Chevy Chase, were still new to the medium, so snagging a TV legend as host must have been a real treat for them, and you could really see them loosening up during this show. (I mean, beyond whatever chemicals they were ingesting backstage!) Desi even got to play a gangster for the first time in a sketch parodying his own Desilu show “The Untouchables”, and was the star of another sketch (with John Belushi) as a “Cuban acupuncturist” who cured your ills by sticking cigars in your ears and nose.

    Reply
    • April 24, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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      Yes, I also had the displeasure of dealing with Lucy Arnaz. It was at the Westin Hotel in downtown Denver. She was extremely rude and demanding. I mean it’s not like she has any talent or anything! I took great joy telling her that her credit card was declined after serving her dinner!

      Reply
      • July 28, 2020 at 3:15 pm
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        Oh, boy! I wonder why some celebrities-and I use the term loosely-behave that way…especially if you are providing a service.

        Reply

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