Vivian Vance

Actor, Singer
This blonde soprano and dramatic stage player took a sharp career turn in mid-stream to become one of TV's best-loved second bananas. Vivian Vance's long-term stint supporting Lucille Ball earned her fame and honed her ... Read more »
Born: 07/26/1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas, USA

Filmography

Actor (8)

The Lucille Ball Special 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The Front Page 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lucy Show 1962 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

The Great Race 1965 (Movie)

Hester Goodbody (Actor)

The Desilu Revue 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

I Love Lucy 1951 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Getting Away From It All (TV Show)

Actor

The Great Houdinis (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

This blonde soprano and dramatic stage player took a sharp career turn in mid-stream to become one of TV's best-loved second bananas. Vivian Vance's long-term stint supporting Lucille Ball earned her fame and honed her skills as a great comic.

Relationships

Fanny Mae Jones

Mother

Joe Danneck

Husband
married in October 1928 divorced in 1931

John Dodds

Husband
born c. 1925 married in January 1961 survived her

Lou Graham

Sister
survived her

George Koch

Husband
married in 1933 divorced

Philip Ober

Husband
third husband caught by his former wife with Vance in 1938 married in 1941 divorced in April 1959

Walter Slezak

Companion
had affair when they appeared together in "Music in the Air"

EDUCATION

Independence High School

Independence , Kansas

Milestones

1977

Made one of her last TV appearances on "The Lucille Ball Special" (CBS)

1969

TV-movie debut, "The Front Page" (ABC)

1965

Last feature, "The Great Race"

1951

Made TV debut as Ethel Mertz on hit sitcom "I Love Lucy" (CBS)

1944

Fired from "Carousel" at the insistance of Agnes De Mille

1942

Film debut reprising stage role in "Let's Face It"

1940

Starred with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden in the Cole Porter musical "Let's Face It"

1938

Turned down the lead role in "Leave It to Me"

1937

Assumed the leading role in "Hooray for What?" when Kay Thompson was dismissed; clashed with choreographer Agnes De Mille

1936

Again understudied Merman in "Red, Hot and Blue"

1934

Understudied Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney in "Anything Goes"; later headlined a national tour playing Reno

1932

Broadway debut, "Music in the Air"

1929

Appeared in the chorus of the touring company of Rodgers and Hart's "Peggy-Ann"

Appeared as Vivian Bagley on sitcom "The Lucy Show" (CBS)

Appeared in an Albuquerque production of "Cushman's Revue"; became local celebrity

Founding member of Albuquerque Little Theater

Had to turn down role in "Oklahoma!"

Bonus Trivia

.

Vance's Ethel Mertz character was supposed to have been born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Vance had lived as a child. Ethel Mertz's maiden name was Ethel Mae Potter during the trip to Hollywood episodes, but earlier in the series she was referred to as Ethel Roberta. Vance and William Frawley, who portrayed Fred Mertz, were not fond of each other off-stage.

.

The character of Vivian Bagley, played by Vance on "The Lucy Show," was a TV milestone in that she was a divorced single mother. That widowed Lucy and Viv were living together with their children was a harbringer of another TV series, "Kate & Allie," from the 1980s in which stars Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin actually impersonated Lucy and Ethel during a fantasy sequence on one episode.

.

One of Vance's final TV appearances was as a guest star in an episode of "Rhoda" playing an older woman in the apartment building whom Rhoda befriends despite the difference in their ages and that her mother, Ida Morgenstern, is jealous of the relationship.

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