Desi Arnaz, Jr.

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Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Desi arnaz sr and jr 1974.JPG
Arnaz and his father in a 1974 television special.
Born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV
(1953-01-19) January 19, 1953 (age 62)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor/musician
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Linda Purl (m. 1980; div. 1981)
Amy Laura Bargiel (m. 1987)
Children 2 daughters
Parents Desi Arnaz (1917–1986)
Lucille Ball (1911–1989)
Relatives Lucie Arnaz (sister)

Desi Arnaz, Jr. (born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV; January 19, 1953), is an American actor and musician and the son of entertainers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and is the brother of actress Lucie Désirée Arnaz.

Early life[edit]

Desi Arnaz, Jr. was born in Los Angeles on January 19, 1953. He has an older sister, Lucie Désirée Arnaz, who was born in 1951.

His birth was one of the most publicized in television history. His parents were the stars of the American television situation comedy I Love Lucy, and Ball's pregnancy was part of the storyline, considered daring in those times. The same day Lucy gave birth to Desi Jr., the fictional Lucy Ricardo gave birth to "Little Ricky". Little Ricky as a baby was played by two sets of twins, Richard and Ronald Lee Simmons (1953–1954), followed by Joseph and Michael Mayer (1954–1955). A boy named Keith Thibodeaux (using the stage name Richard Keith) was later cast to play 6-year-old Little Ricky. To shield him from the effects of too much publicity,[1] everything was centered around fictional baby, Little Ricky Ricardo. As a testament to how interested the American public was in Lucy's TV baby, Desi Arnaz Jr. appeared on the cover on the very first issue of TV Guide with a title that read: "Lucy's $50,000,000 baby." The reason he was given this title was because revenue from certain tie-in commitments were expected to top that mark.[2]


Arnaz, his mother Lucille Ball, and his sister Lucie in Here's Lucy, 1968.

At age 12, Arnaz was a drummer with Dino, Desi, & Billy. The others were Dean Paul Martin, (son of Dean Martin), and Billy Hinsche. The band scored two hit singles with "I'm a Fool" and "Not The Lovin' Kind" in 1965. In 1968, he and his sister Lucie played opposite their mother in Here's Lucy as her children. In 1970, Arnaz appeared on The Brady Bunch episode "The Possible Dream". In 1974 he played the title role in the Western movie Billy Two Hats with Gregory Peck. In 1977, he was the lead in the film Joyride opposite fellow children of famous actors Melanie Griffith, Robert Carradine, and Anne Lockhart. Arnaz attended University High School in West Los Angeles.

Arnaz Jr.'s acting extended into the 1980s with TV productions and a leading role in Automan. He played his father in the movie The Mambo Kings (1992), based on a Pulitzer Prize novel that treated his father with respect. The film includes a scene in which Desi Jr., playing his father's character Ricky Ricardo, acts opposite his mother as Lucy Ricardo with film from the TV series intercut with the cast. In a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by both Desi Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., the younger Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo and Gilda Radner played Lucy in spoofs of supposed ill-fated pilots for I Love Lucy.

From about 2002 to 2007, he was vice-president of the board of Directors of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York. He resigned over a dispute with the executive director over the direction of the center.[3][4]

In 2007, Desi appeared at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards with his sister Lucie to accept the Legacy of Laughter award posthumously given to their mother.

Between 1998 and 2010, he was touring with a new configuration of Dino, Desi & Billy called Ricci, Desi & Billy, featuring Arnaz Jr. reunited with Billy Hinsche, and joined by Ricci Martin (youngest son of Dean Martin). The group performs original material as well as the songs the original band performed.[5]

Arnaz has also headlined Babalu: A Celebration of the Music of Desi Arnaz and his Orchestra with Lucie Arnaz, Raul Esparza, and Valarie Pettiford.[6]

Boulder Theatre

On October 15, 2011, Arnaz performed in Babalu at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. The performance was in conjunction with the Library's Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Arnaz has a daughter, Julia Arnaz, from an undisclosed relationship.[8]

At 17 he was dating actress Patty Duke who was 23 at the time. The relationship became tabloid news and his mother did not approve of them together. He was married to actress Linda Purl from 1980 until their divorce in 1981.[9] On October 8, 1987, Arnaz married Amy Laura Bargiel.[10] They lived in Boulder City, Nevada with their daughter, and own the Boulder Theatre, a cinema converted into a theatre and home to the Boulder City Ballet Company.[11]

Desi's wife Amy passed away January 23, 2015 at the age of 63 from a long battle of cancer.[12] Desi Arnaz Jr.'s Facebook Page carried the announcement by the Arnaz Family.



  1. ^ Andrews, Bart (1976). Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel. Toronto and Vancouver: Clarke, Irvin & Company Limited. p. 81. 
  2. ^ Andrews, Bart (1976). Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel. Toronto and Vancouver: Clarke, Irvin & Company Limited. p. 81. 
  3. ^ Fanelli, P. (2007), "Lucie, Desi Jr. Depart with Clark, Rapaport; Spots Filled with Locals", Jamestown Post-Journal (5 December)[not in citation given]
  4. ^[not in citation given]
  5. ^ Ricci, Desi & Billy
  6. ^ "Review-Desi Arnaz tribute 'Babalu' sizzles at the Arsht". Miami Herald. Associated Press. July 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Mangan, Dan (September 2, 2008). "I Love Lucy & Desi – Because They Were My Secret Grandparents, Woman Claims". New York Post. 
  9. ^ "Linda Purl Biography (1955–)". Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ [Nevada Marriage Index, 1956–2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Lucille Ball's daughter-in-law, Amy Arnaz DEAD at 63 (Exclusive)., GoodHollywood, retrieved January 29, 2015 

External links[edit]