THE QUEEN OF COMEDY LOVES — AND MISSES — WORK, AS SHE RELATES IN 1977.
Byline: Stephen Randall, February 1977
Hunger brings the genius out in people. I like hungry people. You have to have a need of some sort.”
Lucille Ball herself had a hunger once, but it was not a hunger to be a tycoon and rule a large studio. In fact, she claims, it wasn’t even a need to be a star.
“My ambition has always been misconstrued. I never thought of myself as accomplishing what I did. I was — honest to God — just grateful to be a part of the biz, as we called it…”
A leg injury four years ago made the pratfalls that were part of her show more and more difficult. Her skin has aged to the point where she seldom allows photographers to take her picture and her last movie, “Mame,” was filmed in such soft focus it was difficult to watch. “I’ve always known when to get off,” she said.
The first four months after her last show were the hardest. “I cried a lot,” she admitted. “I just sat there. I was stunned and I was worried about myself. Not a damn thing went through my head but self-pity and that scared me. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m a workaholic, I’m a jerk. But there must be things I’ve left undone that I can do now.’ And there were.”
What were they?
“Friends, plants, dogs, people, houses, trips, family,” she explained. “All of a sudden I wasn’t needed. I had to get a whole new outlook.”
She freely admits she is not as happy as she was when she was working full time, despite the fact that she says, “My home life is happy for the first time…I’m looking for where I’m needed. I don’t know where I’ll go yet but it’ll be somewhere,” she said.