These "I Love Lucy" Co-Stars Reportedly Hated Each Other
"She's one of the finest girls to come out of Kansas, but I often wish she'd go back there."
I Love Lucy was centered on Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, played by real-life couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The lead actors' lives intertwined with the show to the point that, when Ball gave birth in real life, Lucy welcomed a baby on the show at the same time. But, when it comes to the other married couple featured on I Love Lucy, Ethel and Fred Mertz, the actors who played them definitely did not have the same kind of personal connection.
While they're remembered as one of TV's most memorable pairs, Vivian Vance and William Frawley did not get along. Reportedly, it all started because of Vance's disapproval of Frawley being cast her onscreen husband, and it escalated to some pretty brutal insults exchanged. Read on to find out more.
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Vance complained about their age difference.
When I Love Lucy premiered, Vance was 42 years old and Frawley was 64. According to the book I Love Lucy: The Untold Story by Gregg Oppenheimer, the son of the show's producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer, Vance did not appreciate the age difference between herself and her co-star.
"Even though the entire world loved Lucy, everyone on I Love Lucy didn't love everyone else," Gregg wrote (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). "For one thing, Vivian Vance couldn't stomach Bill Frawley. Actually, they got along quite well at first. But before long, Viv became upset at the fact that people so readily accepted her lovely young self as the wife of 'that old man,' as she called him."
Vance's comments got back to Frawley.
According to I Love Lucy: The Untold Story, when Frawley heard that Vance was calling him an old man, he tried to get back at her.
"When Bill got wind of her complaints, he was offended, and retaliated by suggesting lines for himself that characterized Ethel as having 'a figure like a sack full of doorknobs' or some other of a long list of insults," Gregg wrote.
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They continued to bicker as the show took off.
The tension between Vance and Frawley continued throughout the show's six-season run. As MeTV posits, Ethel and Fred not being very affectionate with each other on the show could be related to the pair's mutual disdain. MeTV also notes that Ethel called her husband "ol' fat Freddy" on the series—appropriate considering Vance's opinion of Frawley.
Supposedly, Frawley once said of Vance, "She's one of the finest girls to come out of Kansas, but I often wish she'd go back there."
They could have had their own spinoff.
Frawley and Vance were offered a spinoff of I Love Lucy focused on Fred and Ethel, but it obviously didn't come to fruition. According to MeTV, Frawley thought that it would be a good opportunity, but Vance didn't want to work with him again and thus turned down the show. Further proof that she really didn't like him? Zimbio reports that Vance even rejected a $50,000 bonus she would have received for the new series.