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Vivian Vance

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Vivian Vance Famous memorial

Original Name
Vivian Roberta Jones
Birth
Cherryvale, Montgomery County, Kansas, USA
Death
17 Aug 1979 (aged 70)
Belvedere, Marin County, California, USA
Burial
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea. Specifically: Cremated by the Neptune Society at Bahia Valley Memorial Park Crematory in Novato, Marin County, California. Her ashes were picked up August 28, 1979 and scattered at sea off the coast of Marin County. Add to Map
Memorial ID
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Actress. She was an American veteran Broadway actress fondly remembered for playing Lucille Ball's landlady, 'Ethel Mertz' in the hit 1950s television sitcom "I Love Lucy." She was born Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas, the second of six children. After her family moved to Independence, Kansas, she was able to study drama under Anna Ingleman and William Inge. However, throughout her childhood, Vivian's desire to be an actress clashed with her mother's strict religious beliefs, and at the age of sixteen she ran away to Tulsa, Oklahoma to become an actress, taking the stage name "Vivian Vance," after a high school classmate she admired. Unfortunately for Vance, her first attempt at a show business career was a failure. Later, when the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Vance joined the Albuquerque Little Theatre, and began the long path that would lead her to stardom. In 1932, she headed for the Broadway stage, where she struggled as a chorus girl. She got her first break in the musical "Music in the Air," and after understudying for Ethel Merman in "Anything Goes," she starred with comic actor Ed Wynn in "Hooray for What!" as Kay Thompson's last minute replacement. Although she had become a top performer, the demands of the onstage life took their toll on Vance, and in 1945 she suffered a mental collapse. After her recovery, she returned to the stage in "Voice of the Turtle" at the La Jolla Playhouse, where she was spotted by Desi Arnaz and offered the role that would make her a household name. Paired with William Frawley as 'Fred and Ethel Mertz,' Vance and Frawley made a convincing couple despite their twenty-five year age difference. However, their offstage relationship was less than cordial, a situation exacerbated by Frawley's heavy drinking. Moreover, Vance didn't exactly relish playing the role of a frumpy "older" neighbor, since in reality she was only 2 years Lucille Ball's senior. In 1954, she became the first actress to be awarded an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. After "I Love Lucy" ended in 1957, she divorced her husband, remarried, and moved to Stamford, Connecticut. In 1962 she reprised her role as Lucy's sidekick on "The Lucy Show," but the grind of bicoastal commuting did not suit her, so after three years she limited her performances to guest appearances, which also continued into "Here's Lucy," the third Lucille Ball sitcom. In 1974 she and her husband moved to Belvedere, California, north of San Francisco Bay where she could be near her sister.
Actress. She was an American veteran Broadway actress fondly remembered for playing Lucille Ball's landlady, 'Ethel Mertz' in the hit 1950s television sitcom "I Love Lucy." She was born Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas, the second of six children. After her family moved to Independence, Kansas, she was able to study drama under Anna Ingleman and William Inge. However, throughout her childhood, Vivian's desire to be an actress clashed with her mother's strict religious beliefs, and at the age of sixteen she ran away to Tulsa, Oklahoma to become an actress, taking the stage name "Vivian Vance," after a high school classmate she admired. Unfortunately for Vance, her first attempt at a show business career was a failure. Later, when the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Vance joined the Albuquerque Little Theatre, and began the long path that would lead her to stardom. In 1932, she headed for the Broadway stage, where she struggled as a chorus girl. She got her first break in the musical "Music in the Air," and after understudying for Ethel Merman in "Anything Goes," she starred with comic actor Ed Wynn in "Hooray for What!" as Kay Thompson's last minute replacement. Although she had become a top performer, the demands of the onstage life took their toll on Vance, and in 1945 she suffered a mental collapse. After her recovery, she returned to the stage in "Voice of the Turtle" at the La Jolla Playhouse, where she was spotted by Desi Arnaz and offered the role that would make her a household name. Paired with William Frawley as 'Fred and Ethel Mertz,' Vance and Frawley made a convincing couple despite their twenty-five year age difference. However, their offstage relationship was less than cordial, a situation exacerbated by Frawley's heavy drinking. Moreover, Vance didn't exactly relish playing the role of a frumpy "older" neighbor, since in reality she was only 2 years Lucille Ball's senior. In 1954, she became the first actress to be awarded an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. After "I Love Lucy" ended in 1957, she divorced her husband, remarried, and moved to Stamford, Connecticut. In 1962 she reprised her role as Lucy's sidekick on "The Lucy Show," but the grind of bicoastal commuting did not suit her, so after three years she limited her performances to guest appearances, which also continued into "Here's Lucy," the third Lucille Ball sitcom. In 1974 she and her husband moved to Belvedere, California, north of San Francisco Bay where she could be near her sister.

Bio by: Edward Parsons



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: Apr 25, 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1487/vivian-vance: accessed ), memorial page for Vivian Vance (26 Jul 1909–17 Aug 1979), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1487; Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea; Maintained by Find a Grave.