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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz' divorce

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May 4, 1960: The day that the American television was moved by a sad divorce of the iconic American-Cuban wife and husband TV couple.

On March 3, 1960, a day after the 43rd birthday of Desi Arnaz and also after the filming of the last episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, "Lucy Meets the Mustache", Lucille Ball filed papers in Santa Monica Superior Court, claiming that her married life with Desi was "a nightmare" and wasn't similar as it appeared in I Love Lucy. While in the production of the final episode, "Lucy Meets the Mustache", tensions between them were so high that Ball and Arnaz could not speak to each other without having loud arguments or shouting matches on set. They soon realized it would be best if they did not speak directly to each other there and instead used surrogates to carry messages or questions back and forth. This allowed them time to calm down and stay in character when the script required them to act. In the final episode, Edie Adams chose to sing "That's All", later commenting that she personally chose the song, unaware of Ball and Arnaz marital problems or their pending divorce. Adams and her husband, the avant garde comedian Ernie Kovacs, guested starred on what turned out to be the final new episode ever made of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and the last time its characters: Fred, Ethel, Little Ricky, Ricky and Lucy would ever be seen. Adams commented that Ball's emotions were up and down the entire week of rehearsals and that she had commented to Kovacs how harshly Ball was treating her. Kovacs passed that along to Arnaz who took Adams aside and explained to her that Lucy was under a lot of pressure and was not feeling very good. And that she should just be herself and not let Ball push her around. She took his advice and things between them were fine. Kovacs never commented publicly about the episode or the famous couple. Adams stated that the mood on set was tense and sad. Although it had yet to be publicly announced, all of the Desilu executives, the cast, and crew knew the fate of the stars' marriage and the effect their divorce would have on the series. On May 4, 1960, they finally divorced, but remained only just as friends and they often spoke very fondly of each other until Arnaz' death in 1986. After that, Lucille ended marring to her second husband Gary Morton in 1961, and Desi ended marring to his second wife Edith Mack Hirsch in 1963 until her death in 1985. 48 hours before his death on December 2, 1986, in his last phone conversation with his ex-wife Lucille Ball, he told her his last words: "I love you, too, honey. Good luck with your show."


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