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Actor Keith Thibodeaux ‘didn’t quite enjoy’ playing Little Ricky in classic comedy

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Keith Thibodeaux has been playing the drum from a young age, pictured here in 1955
Keith Thibodeaux has been drumming from a young age, pictured here in 1955 |
Arnold M. Johnson / Home Graphics / Stock Photos / Getty Images

For Keith Thibodeaux, the actor who played Little Ricky on a sitcom classic I love lucy, his role as the only child of Ricky and Lucy Ricardo was not as wonderful an experience as many fans might think.

While the actor in an interview shared that working with married artists Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball was an unforgettable experience, Thibodeaux personally wasn’t crazy about the role of Little Ricky. Here’s why.

Keith Thibodeaux had a different name on the show

The cast of 'I Love Lucy'
The cast of “I Love Lucy” | Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Hired in 1955 to play Little Ricky on I love lucy, Keith Thibodeaux, 5, was the perfect actor to play the son of Cuban conductor Ricky Ricardo. Heavily talented on drums and similar in appearance to actor Desi Arnaz, audiences loved Little Ricky.

The role didn’t just change Thibodeaux’s life; it changed his name too, he explained to the American Television Archives in 2005. Desi Arnaz created for the young actor the stage name Richard Keith.

It was Desis’ response to people who couldn’t pronounce Thibodeaux, ” the actor said. Which, back then, we didn’t live in such an international climate, the world was a little bigger than it is now.

Thibodeaux had natural drumming skills

Keith Thibodeaux on drums, 1955
Keith Thibodeaux on drums, 1955 | Arnold M. Johnson / Home Graphics / Stock Photos / Getty Images

RELATED: I Love Lucys Little Ricky Actor Keith Thibodeaux Felt Compelled To Socialize With Desi Arnaz Jr .: I Had 2 Lives

The actor started playing the drums at a very young age. He explained in his interview with the US Television Archives that this was a skill he was simply born with.

“I started to play [drums] with knives and forks on the kitchen table, ”said Louisiana-born Thibodeaux. “And then my mom threw me out of there and took me out into the yard where I could make less noise.

Thibodeaux revealed that the first person who noticed his drumming ability was a neighbor who heard the beat nearby and wanted to know who was drumming.

“The neighbor heard it, she heard me play on those bins,” he said. “So she said, ‘Your son looks like he’s talented. Why don’t you give him a battery? So my dad did. He bought me a little snare drum.

He didn’t like playing Little Ricky

Keith Thibodeaux, left, with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz actual son Desi Arnaz Jr., 1962
Keith Thibodeaux, on the left, with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz real son Desi Arnaz Jr., 1962 | CBS via Getty Images

Keith Thibodeaux admitted in his interview that while the role of Little Ricky had its perks, like meeting Superman, there was one aspect of the part that, as a young child himself, he didn’t like.

“Little Ricky was a character that I didn’t really enjoy playing, just being Keith,” he said. “I wanted to play, in my fantasies, something like a Huckleberry Finn or a Tom Sawyer, someone like that.

“Same Leave it to the beaver, it was better for me than playing Little Ricky, because [Little Ricky] was more of a goody-goody type character.

Thibodeaux had to admit there was a good team playing Little Ricky.

“The only good thing about Little Ricky was that he could play the drums,” he says. “That was kind of the cool part of Little Ricky.”



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