Lucille Ball’s Longtime Friend Shares What ‘Lucy’ Was Really Like Behind The Scenes
Hogan's Heroes actress Paula Stewart says her good friend Lucille Ball was 'very proper' when she wasn't on camera for 'I Love Lucy'.
Actress Paula Stewart, best known from “Hogan’s Heroes”, was one of Lucille Ball’s best friends during the last three decades of the beloved “I Love Lucy” star’s life. Now, Stewart is sharing with the world what the comedic legend was really like behind the scenes – and it might surprise you!
‘Lucy’ Was ‘Very Proper’ In Real Life
Though Lucille Ball was known for playing the zany character of Lucy onscreen, friend Paula Stewart said that she was very different when the cameras stopped rolling.
“People remember that crazy character on TV, but she was nothing like that,” Stewart told Closer Weekly. “She was very proper.”
Despite being a television icon, Ball was a down to earth woman in real life, according to her friend.
“She’d go to the fancy parties, but she really lived a simple life and her best friends were ordinary people,” Stewart said. “She didn’t think she was greater than anyone else.”
Paula Stewart Recalls First Meeting Lucille Ball
Stewart met Ball in 1960, three years after “I Love Lucy” came to an end and the same year the star divorced her former costar Desi Arnaz.
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“Lucy looked gorgeous,” Stewart recalled of meeting Ball. “She was in a black dress with pearls. I couldn’t figure out how this elegant woman could be such a clown on TV.”
The two actresses met while working on a show that was to be Ball’s singing debut, something she was very nervous about.
“When a break came during rehearsals, I saw Lucy standing in a corner, nervously pulling on a cigarette, so I went over and asked if I could help her with her songs,” remembered Stewart, who is a trained singer. “She just threw her arms around me. She was so grateful that somebody was going to help her.”
Birthdays! 🎂Actress Paula Stewart turns 90 today! Co-starred opposite Lucille Ball in "Wildcat" on Broadway, 1st wife of Burt Bacharach, 2nd wife of Jack Carter. She produced the campy transgender cult film DINAH EAST (1970). https://t.co/MtgU82RhLW pic.twitter.com/GrQUc7nBuc
— Ken Anderson 🏳️🌈#BlackLivesMatter (@XanaduFitness) April 9, 2019
Paula Stewart Introduces Lucille Ball To Her Second Husband
The two women were close friends from then until when Ball passed away in 1989.
It was even Stewart who introduced Ball to her second husband, nightclub promoter Gary Morton.
“I noticed Lucy would go back to her apartment after rehearsals and she was very lonely,” Stewart explained. “He was tall and nice-looking. They were cute together.”
Ball made Stewart her maid-of-honor when she married Morton in 1961.
“Lucy loved Gary in an easy, uncomplicated way that she couldn’t love Desi,” Stewart said. “Plus, she’d been so lonely and Gary filled that void for her. She reminded me of that and thanked me almost every day.”
As the years went on, Lucille Ball stood by Paula Stewart when she went through her own divorce as well as other struggles in life.
“When I went bankrupt, Lucy was the first person to come to my rescue and say, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get through this,’” said Stewart. “She supported me for several years and let me live in her guest house for months. She was my savior.”
Though it’s been 31 years since Ball passed away, Stewart has never forgotten her and the friendship that they shared.
“Lucy was loving and warm,” she concluded. “I miss her very much.”
Rest in peace, Lucille Ball!