Tragic Real-Life Details About Ethel And Fred Mertz From I Love Lucy

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 Tragic Real-Life Details About Ethel And Fred Mertz From I Love Lucy

William Frawley was in his 60s during the filming of “I Love Lucy.” According to Closer Weekly, “The Lucy Book” author says that when the show came to an end, he was still technically under contract with Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s company, Desilu. He broke the contract and accepted a role as the grandfather in “My Three Sons.” It was there that, as the seasons went on, his health and cognitive function started to noticeably decline.

Actor Stanley Livingston (front) recalled that, while Frawley started out as something like the fun grandfather with all the quirks that everyone expected, it wasn’t long before he was forgetting his lines. 

Livingston says that Frawley’s health started to fail. At first, the show’s writers accommodated him by writing scenes where his character could sit rather than stand. Then he started falling asleep mid-scene, and eventually, he was unable to remember more than a line of dialogue at a time. Finally, Frawley suffered a stroke.

He also failed the studio’s physical. According to Livingston, the show’s producers were told that Frawley might not survive for the rest of the season, so his character was written out of the show and replaced with an uncle played by William Demarest. Livingston explained: “All [Frawley] really had at that time was ‘My Three Sons,’ and when they took that away from him, he really had nothing to live for.”

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