Lucille Ball’s granddaughter has fond memories with the comedy icon, whom she simply remembers as her Nana. Speaking to Hoda Kotb on Monday’s episode of the Today show, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, who is Lucille and Desi Arnaz’s granddaughter, shared her favorite memory of her late grandmother.
The I Love Lucy star died in 1989, while Desi, whom the actress was married to from 1940 to 1960, died three years prior in 1986. The one-time couple, who co-starred on the sitcom together, shared two children, Lucie and Desi, the former of whom is Kate’s mom.
Though Lucille died when Kate was just four, she remembers her grandmother being “really involved” in her life.
“I guess she was really happy to have another little girl. She would wrap my little tufts of hair in these curlers and put me in silk pajamas and I’d have these wonderful, luxurious bubble baths and I would sleep in her giant California King-sized bed and she would be there for all of that,” Kate recalled. “She loved being a grandma. She finally had time to be the mom she really dreamed of being from the beginning. She wasn’t so busy anymore.”
Kate has such precious memories, in fact, that she makes it a point to share similar experiences with her own kids.
“We used to sit and watch Inspector Gadget together,” Kate said of herself and her grandmother. “She would give me Oreos and milk and just sit behind me and play backgammon and just keep me company. My son likes to do that now. I tell him, ‘This is our Nana time.'”
While Lucille was just Nana to Kate, she was also a wildly successful comedy icon. That fame and recognition, Kate said, was never part of her grandmother’s goal.
“My grandparents didn’t set out to change television,” she said. “They wanted to have a family. They wanted to remain being a family. I think that’s really important to remember as part of their history, because it allows us all to remember we can all have families and work if we support each other in that. If we are together in us all wanting that balance, then we can find it.”
As for why her grandmother became so popular, Kate credited it to Lucille’s “honesty.”
“She was honest to a fault. Some people took that as tough and feminism. It wasn’t, really,” she said. “She was a regular American girl who had big dreams and no idea how to accomplish them.”
To this day, Kate is proud to carry on her grandparents’ legacy, and enjoys hearing from I Love Lucy fans of the pair.
“I get to hear all the stories of, ‘I watched this with my grandmother. I watched this with my aunt while she battled cancer and survived it. I watched this with my siblings growing up,'” Kate said. “There are family generational connections now to watching this show together. That’s the thing that really gets me. That’s the thing that really makes me want to continue carrying the torch.”
“She loved being a grandma.”@hodakotb speaks with Kate Conner, granddaughter of comedy icon Lucille Ball, who shares fond memories of her beloved “Nana.” pic.twitter.com/Lrct2INHjG
Lucille and Desi are the subjects of Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming project, Being the Ricardos, with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem set to take on the leading roles.
While some people hoped Debra Messing, who previously played Ball’s I Love Lucy character during an episode of Will & Grace, would land the part, Lucie Arnaz expressed support for Nicole’s casting.
“Aaron has done a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life, and it’s just a little… slice of life in their journey,” she shared. “It’s not the whole story. It’s not a biopic from cradle to grave. It is a two-hour feature film about these two people and some of the remarkable things they lived through. So I hope I can set the record straight here, and just say, stop arguing about who should play her, ‘She doesn’t look like her, her nose isn’t the same, she isn’t as funny…’ Just trust us, it’s going to be a nice film, and p.s. the voting is over.”
Watch the video below for more on the upcoming film.
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