Vivian Vance, Lucille Ball, (False) Lesbian Rumors, and an Unpublished Autobiography

Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance in I Love Lucy

At the San Francisco Chronicle's blog/column The Collective Mind, Bob Bragman talks about the unearthing of Vivian Vance's unpublished memoirs, which the I Love Lucy actress wanted to be out before her death in 1979. According to the piece, excerpts have showed up in the National Enquirer, but the rest remains unseen. It's unclear whether or not the autobiography has been authenticated.

Either way, Bragman provides a lengthy excerpt from the manuscript. Below are the first two paragraphs, in which Vance talks about lesbian rumors (!) involving herself an Lucille Ball.

“Lucille Ball and I were just like sisters. We adored each other's company. She and I had so many laughs on I Love Lucy that we could hardly get through filming without cracking up. Then I began hearing that Lucille and I were too close. My first husband disapproved of my closeness with Lucille. 'People are talking about you two,' he'd say. 'You ought to be careful about the hugging and kissing you do on the show.'

“The word in Pacific Palisades, where I lived, was that something was wrong with me, something my analyst wouldn't tell me about. That sent me leaping into my car and driving 30 miles to talk to my analyst, Dr. Steele. 'Is there anything the matter with me that you've never told me?' I wanted to know. Dr. Steele reassured me there wasn't.”

Ironically, Vance's last husband, John Dobbs, was a gay guy.

Best known for her TV work, Vance also had supporting roles in a handful of films: The Secret Fury (1950), The Blue Veil (1951), and The Great Race (1965), in which she plays a character called Hester Goodbody.

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