The Real Reason ‘I Love Lucy’ Little Ricky Actor Keith Thibodeaux Never Got Screen Credit on the Classic Comedy

by Jeremy Spirogis
The cast of

When I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball gave delivery to her real-life son Desi Jr. in 1953, the present added to its solid the character of Little Ricky, ultimately performed by 5-year-old Keith Thibodeaux.

While the younger drumming sensation was given a task on the sequence, one factor he wasn’t given was any type of display screen credit score. Here’s why.

The cast of 'I Love Lucy'
The solid of ‘I Love Lucy’ | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

His stage identify was Richard Keith

Keith Thibodeaux joined the I Love Lucy solid when his father took him to audition for the position of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s fictional son on the sequence. At age 5, the kid actor was already hailed as a percussionist phenom and was employed immediately when Desi Arnaz heard him enjoying drums on the present’s set.

Thibodeaux was required to endure a reputation change, nonetheless, resulting from what producers and Desi Arnaz considered as his troublesome final identify.

Keith Thibodeaux, center, with the cast of 'I Love Lucy'Keith Thibodeaux, center, with the cast of 'I Love Lucy'
Keith Thibodeaux, heart, with the solid of ‘I Love Lucy’ | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

In a dialog with the Archive of American Television in 2005, he mentioned about his identify change for the present, “That was weird. That was Desi’s answer to people not being able to pronounce ‘Thibodeaux,’” the actor mentioned. “Which, again then, we didn’t stay in such a global local weather, the world was a bit of bigger than it’s now.

“He thought that would be good, ‘Richard Keith,’ my name ‘Keith’ which was an aspect of who I really was and then ‘Richard’ could be like ‘Ricky.’”

‘I Love Lucy’ followers didn’t know Little Ricky’s actual identify for years

When requested if he ever obtained correct credit score on-screen for his position as Little Ricky, Thibodeaux admitted, “No, I never did. I never did get screen credit, which is odd.”

Even Thibodeaux himself wasn’t positive why this was, however mused about it saying, “The solely factor I can guess is that they wished folks to assume that that was their son, that Little Ricky was their actual son, Desi Arnaz Jr.

Keith Thibodeaux, 1962Keith Thibodeaux, 1962
Keith Thibodeaux, 1962 | CBS by way of Getty Images

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“Whenever I did get mentioned, it was always ‘Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, Vivian Vance, and Little Ricky.’ So it could’ve been Rin Tin Tin for that matter.”

The drummer and actor added that, even at his younger age, he was conscious that his actual identify wasn’t being scrolled by on the finish of every present as with the opposite solid and crew.

If he may, he mentioned, “I’d love to get [Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s] take on it. I’m sure they would kind of dismiss it as ‘Oh well, we wanted people to know your character.’”

Thibodeaux and Desi Arnaz Jr. have been at all times confused for each other

Keith Thibodeaux, left, with Desi Arnaz Jr in 1962Keith Thibodeaux, left, with Desi Arnaz Jr in 1962
Keith Thibodeaux, left, with Desi Arnaz Jr in 1962 | CBS by way of Getty Images

If the producers of I Love Lucy wished the present’s viewers to assume that the actor enjoying Little Ricky was their precise son, it labored.

Lucille Ball preferred to ask Thibodeaux over to play along with her son Desi Arnaz Jr., as each boys have been shut in age. When they have been out in public, followers unfailingly confused the actor for the Arnazes’ son.

“There were very few people that Lucy and Desi trusted to play with their kids and they were very protective of them,” Thibodeaux instructed The New York Post in 2019. “We’d go to Disneyland and of course go to the front of the line with Lucy and people would look at Lucy and say, “Wow, there’s Lucy and Little Ricky!” People at all times confused me and Desi Jr.”

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