Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Unique Talent and Humane Soul of Lucie Arnaz

Lucie Arnaz is a dynamic combination of talent, personality, intelligence, humor, and demure that is rarely found in the world of entertainment.  The daughter of industry legends Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, Ms. Arnaz could easily have easily played upon her famous heritage.  But her iconic parents, whose contributions to the industry remain enormous, guided their daughter (and son Desi Arnaz, Jr.) with a gentle hand and a sophisticated elegance.  Raised in prestige and wealth, Lucie Arnaz could have easily adapted to the usual high-rollers game of arrogance and pomposity; inaccessibility and avoidance.  Instead, and by way of her parents’ best virtues, she’s opted from the word go to live her life with grace and kindness; discretion, integrity and humanity. 

Her career, which is vast and versatile, began with early performances on her mother’s second successful sitcom, The Lucy Show, and on game shows like Password.  In 1968, a regular role on Here’s Lucy (her mother’s third hit show) lead to guest-starring stints on other classic TV programs, like Marcus Welby, M.D., as well an energetic starring role on her own sitcom, The Lucie Arnaz Show.  Her comedic deftness was sealed with a performance as Detective Bess Stacey, in a dead-on satire of classic TV’s Cagney & Lacey for a profoundly entertainment episode of Murder She Wrote.  Into this mix, her dramatic abilities have been potently displayed on ground-breaking TV-movies like Who Is The Black Delia; feature films such as 1980 edition of The Jazz Singer; in the telling TV series, Sons & Daughters, and in several guest-starring appearances on shows like Law & Order.  Then, in 1993, she won an Emmy Award for television documentary Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie.
Certainly, Lucie Arnaz is her mother’s daughter when it comes to delivering the goods of both dramatic and comedic performances.  Ms. Ball ignited her career in a list of quality dramatic feature films before finding superstardom on TV with I Love Lucy in which she co-starred with husband Desi Arnaz (who was the grand conductor of that show’s every genius move behind-the-scenes).  So while the genetic pool of talent and ingenuity runs deep for Ms. Arnaz, even Lucille Ball made an important distinction between herself and her talented off-spring.  Ms. Ball believed she had to work at comedy; but her daughter Lucie?  That was a different story.  On more than one occasion Ms. Ball described Ms. Arnaz as naturally funny.

The additional talents of Ms. Arnaz in the area of song and dance have long been on display.  In addition to the countless musical performances she provided on Here’s Lucy (which, along with I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, are all now available on DVD), she also appeared on Broadway in They’re Playing Our Song (for which she won the Theatre World Award and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical); co-starred with Tommy Tune in My One and Only (for which she won the Sarah Siddons Award); and appeared most recently in the hit live show, Latin Roots.  Other live events have included her performance and direction in the summer of 2010 of Babalu: A Celebration of the Music of Desi Arnaz and His Orchestra.  
Suffice it to say when it comes to entertaining Lucie Arnaz is a one-woman powerhouse.  And to top it all off, her humanitarian and charitable efforts to help the less fortunate goes without saying, but is more than worth repeating. Somehow, through it all, she has managed to retain a solid family life with husband of over three decades, actor-writer Laurence Luckinbill (with whom she has three children Simon, Joseph and Katharine; and two stepsons, Nicholas and Benjamin).

In short, Lucie Arnaz more than easily lives up to and exceeds her lineage on every level and, in the process, her fans and peers, along with her own immediate family, continue to have the good fortune of her presence.  Ms. Arnaz is living proof that star quality is not merely something one is born with.  This charismatic earth angel has clearly earned her talented wings, partially by way of Hollywood but mostly via a direct bee-line from Heaven.