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   Born Vivian Jones in July of 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas, Vivian Vance began her acting career in the thirties when her family made a second move to Albuquerque. She studied dramatic arts there and began to star in a variety of theatrical programs and productions.
   Her talent would soon bring on bigger roles in Broadway shows. For instance, she would understudy Ethel Murman, and star in shows with other big celebrities at the time.
Vivian was spotted by Desi Arnaz for the role of Ethel Mertz while performing at the La Jolla Playhouse in "Voice of the Turtle". Desi Arnaz figured that she would be perfect for the role, and signed her up immediately.

   Luckily for Desi, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance eventually began a great friendship, however, Vivian's role as Ethel Mertz troubled her. Already having experienced difficulties in two marriages [one to Joe Danneck Jr., and another to George Koch], her present marriage to actor Philip Ober did not seem to enter the "I Love Lucy" field.
Upset at the fact that the audience did not seem to realize that co-star William Frawley was not her real husband, and that her role seemed much older and less glamorous than she actually was, her troubles exceeded, but soon declined within a few problem-solving exercises.

   Being the first person to receive an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Vivian Vance's character traits of Ethel Mertz forever remain in the minds of television viewers. Her support and friendship with Lucille Ball has always been respected, as she had starred in many of the continuing 'Lucy' television series, including "The Lucy Show", and a series of guest-spots on "Here's Lucy".
Vivian Vance has starred in a few small films, including drama "The Blue Veil" [1951], the mystery "The Secret Fury" [1950] and "The Great Race", a musical from 1965. When Vivian Vance died after a long battle with cancer on August 17th, 1979, television audiences and former fans knew how much the world had lost. Her accomplishments in television will never be forgotten.

Vivian with co-star William Frawley: rivals onscreen and off...

There is an  enticing biography on Vivian Vance written by Frank Castelluccio and Alvin Walker which was recently published in 1998. The book covers Vivian's struggles and triumphs, and her encounters and experiences with the people surrounding her.

View Vivian Vance's
profile at
Internet Movie Database

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