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Vivian Vance

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Randy Quaid
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Harry Morgan
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Vivian Vance Biography and Filmography
Vivian Vance
Birthday: July 26, 1909
Birth Place: Cherryvale, Kansas, USA
Height: 0' 0"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Vivian Vance.
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We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Born in Kansas, Vivian Vance began appearing in community theater productions when her family relocated to Albuquerque, NM. Her friends and neighbors financed Vance's move to New York, where she planned to study with Eva LeGalliene. When these plans fell through, she made the auditions rounds, landing a job in the long-running Broadway production Music in the Air. She supplemented her income with nightclub performances, then received her big break when, with only a few hours' notice, she stepped into the female lead of the 1937 Ed Wynn musical Hooray for What? Subsequent Broadway credits included Anything Goes, Red, Hot and Blue, and Let's Face It, each one a hit. In 1951, Jose Ferrer cast Vance in the La Jolla Playhouse production of Voice of the Turtle. It was on the strength of her performance of this play that Vance was offered the role of Ethel Mertz on the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz TV sitcom I Love Lucy. She played Ethel from 1951 through 1960, winning an Emmy in the process — which hopefully compensated for the fact that, throughout the I Love Lucy run, she was contractually obligated to outweigh star Lucille Ball by 20 pounds. In 1962, Vance signed on for another lengthy co-starring stint with Ball on TV's The Lucy Show. Throughout her five decades in show business, Vance appeared in only three films: The Secret Fury (1950), The Blue Veil (1951), and The Great Race (1965). Married twice, Vivian Vance's first husband was actor Philip Ober.
Lucy Calls the President (1977)
[ Lucille Ball ][ Mary Wickes ]
The Great Houdini (1976)
[ Adrienne Barbeau ][ Sally Struthers ][ Ruth Gordon ][ Maureen O'Sullivan ]
Getting Away from It All (1972)
[ Ej Peaker ]
Lucy and Lawrence Welk (1970)
The Front Page (1970)
Lucy, the Matchmaker (1968)
Lucy and Viv Reminisce (1968)
Viv Visits Lucy (1967)
The Great Race (1965)
[ Natalie Wood ]
Lucy and Viv Become Tycoons (1963)
Lucy's Barbershop Quartet (1963)
Appleby's Sleepwalk (1961)
Appleby's Fallout Shelter (1960)
Appleby's Predictions (1960)
Milton Berle Hides at the Ricardos (1959)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Lucy Wants a Career (1959)
[ Lucille Ball ]
The Ricardos Go to Japan (1959)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Lucy Makes Room for Danny (1958)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Lucy Goes to Mexico (1958)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Lucy Raises Tulips (1957)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Country Club Dance (1957)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Building a Bar-B-Q (1957)
[ Lucille Ball ]
Housewarming (1957)
I Love Lucy Christmas Show (1956)
[ Lucille Ball ]
I Love Lucy (1953)
[ Lucille Ball ]
The Blue Veil (1951)
[ Natalie Wood ][ Agnes Moorehead ][ Jane Wyman ][ Joan Blondell ]
The Secret Fury (1950)
[ Claudette Colbert ]
  • First person to win an Emmy Award for 'Best Supporting Actress' [1954]
  • Was offered to do a spinoff of I LOVE LUCY with her costar William Frawley, but the two did not like each other at all in real life and refused to do it.
  • Battled ill-health throughout much of the 1970s, beginning with a series of strokes in 1973. She died of bone cancer.
  • Producer Jess Oppenheimer was quoted as saying that the infamous feud between Vance and Frawley was exaggerated. While TV's favorite neighbors may not have been "chummy" in real life, they were professionals who for the most part treated each other with respect during rehearsals and filming.
  • Vance's "I Love Lucy" co-star, William Frawley, reported received a unique deal for early television. His contract called for residuals from "I Love Lucy" for years after the series ended production in 1957. Unfortunately, Vance did not have a similar clause in her contract.
  • To make Vance looked "older and frumpier" than Ball, Vance had to dye her hair a dishwater blonde and wear house dresses that were a few sizes smaller to make her appear overweight. However, it is hard to disguise reality - in most episodes of "I Love Lucy", it is apparent Vance is only a few years older than Ball and doesn't weigh that much more.
  • One of her closest friends in childhood was the silent film star Louise Brooks, who was her neighbour in Cherryvale, Kansas.
  • Legend has it that a clause in her television contract required her to stay 10 pounds heavier than costar/producer Lucille Ball. Actually, this contract never existed, at least not in legal, binding form. It was a mock contract given to Vance by Ball as a gag gift sparking the legend it was a real contract.
  • Vivian started acting when she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she took the last name "Vance" from a dramatics teacher who had been supportive of her acting career.
  • A founding member of the Albuquerque Little Theater, where she played a vamp in "This Thing Called Love" and a nun in "The Cradle Song," the local theater community helped pay her way to New York. The theater in later years was eventually nicknamed The Vivian Vance Playhouse.
  • Producer Vinton Freedley was preparing his next musical and offered Vivian a musical role in which she'd have to do a playful striptease. Known for her vulgar, tauntingly glamorous roles already, she turned him down lest she be typecast. The show was "Leave It to Me," the song was "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," and Mary Martin became a huge musical star as a result of it.
  • Best remembered as Lucy's best friend and land lady, Ethel in "I Love Lucy".
  • Is portrayed by Robin Pearson Rose in Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter (1991) (TV)

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