Keith Thibodeaux spent years playing the character of Little Ricky on the beloved sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Now, he’s coming forward in the new Reelz documentary “Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy” to reflect on what it was like working with the legendary stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the show.

Thibodeaux told Fox News that he’s still struck to this day by the professionalism of Ball.

“She was very professional, very unlike her zany, kooky character that she played on the show,” he said. “When she was on the set, she expected everyone to do their jobs, to know their lines. She was a very no-nonsense kind of person. That seemed to be the description for her.”

“But I think the thing that surprised me the most about her was her passion for what she did. And also just off the set, she was very interested in a lot of things and history,” Thibodeaux added. “I think she was a romantic in that way. As far as Desi goes, she loved him very much.”

Thibodeaux, who is now the executive director of Ballet Magnificat! in Mississippi, emphasized that Ball was very different behind the scenes from the character she played on the show.

“She picked up on a character that we all know,” he said. “She could be your aunt, your mom, your friend, even you. She picked up on this personality that was familiar to us. And the writers of the show all picked up on it too and just ran with it, creating these crazy situations.”

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Thibodeaux also enjoyed working with Arnaz, who he immediately bonded with.

“Desi and I really hit it off,” he said. “I’m from South Louisiana, French Cajun heritage. And I have this weird last name. In fact, he gave me another name, Richard Keith, for the show. Because he didn’t think that anybody could pronounce ‘Thibodeaux,’ which they couldn’t at that point. I think the Cuban culture and the Southern Louisiana Cajun culture has similarities in terms of family and culture. So not only did we connect rhythmically but on a personal level too.”

“I think our roots really connected us and I really felt that on set. And Desi kept me grounded in a strange way,” Thibodeaux added. “He was more down to earth. Lucy was more of a Hollywood star. Desi was more than just a Latin guy with a funny accent [who] barely spoke English. He was amazingly talented who did a lot of hard work behind the scenes, too. It was easy to bond with him.”

He still remembers the last time he saw Ball, years after the show ended.

“My dad and I went to Desi Arnaz’s funeral,” Thibodeaux remembered. “We went to Desi’s beach house for a get-together there. Lucy was there of course. That’s the last time I spoke to her. I just remember all of our friends and loved ones from over the years gathering together and remembering Desi’s life. His death affected me. It affected all of us. And then when Lucy died, it was just a shock.”

Decades after Ball passed away in 1989, Thibodeaux has nothing but fond memories of her.

“She was just an amazing person. She was an actress,” he said. “She had a lot of history and was very professional. [But] she was also passionate about what she did. And she loved show business. She loved the limelight. She loved the audience and she loved the dynamic of that live experience.”

“She wanted to continue that in her later life and she went through different experiences in different shows,” Thibodeaux added. “I think her last series that she did, “Life with Lucy,” kind of bombed. She didn’t need to do it, you know. But I think that was just a part of her passion to get out and do what she knew to do and what she always loved to do, which was show business.”

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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