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I Loved Lucy: My Friendship with Lucille Ball | [Lee Tannen]

I Loved Lucy: My Friendship with Lucille Ball

Few people knew America's comic sweetheart Lucille Ball the way Lee Tannen did. Lee first met Lucy as a child but cemented their close and enduring friendship as an adult. During the last 10 years of Lucy's life - years mostly lived out of the spotlight and mainly around a backgammon table in New York; Beverly Hills; Snowmass, Colorado; and Palm Springs - Lee was fortunate enough to be sitting opposite Lucy.
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Publisher's Summary

Few people knew America's comic sweetheart Lucille Ball the way Lee Tannen did. Lee first met Lucy as a child but cemented their close and enduring friendship as an adult. During the last 10 years of Lucy's life - years mostly lived out of the spotlight and mainly around a backgammon table in New York; Beverly Hills; Snowmass, Colorado; and Palm Springs - Lee was fortunate enough to be sitting opposite Lucy.

For the first time, we get a glimpse of what it was like to be with Lucy, the way she truly was, and the way she chose to live. This is Lucy the way you've never seen her before; a warts-and-all look at arguably the most famous female entertainer of the 20th century!

©2001 Lee Tannen (P)2013 Lee Tannen

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  •  
    grace BETHESDA, MD, United States 12-12-13
    grace BETHESDA, MD, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Why We All Love Lucy"

    Reading I LOVED LUCY, especially by listening to it as read by the author Lee Tannen, was an immensely satisfying experience. In no particular order, firstly, the author really KNEW Lucille Ball, and in his authentic, New York accented voice, talks (not reads) about his first hand experience as a the best friend to Lucille Ball in the last ten years of her life. Secondly, this is a privileged bird’s eye view of the life of a real celebrity, a true star – very possibly the biggest television star of all time – and what it was really like to be with someone SO FAMOUS that she could never take a walk outside her Beverly Hills home. And, thirdly, this is also a story about their unlikely/likely friendship: Lee was a distant relation, and an avid ‘fan’ who later became her best friend and companion of choice, and what that friendship meant to the highly complex, immensely talented, and incredibly loyal Lucille Ball.

    I LOVED LUCY recounts her last ten years. It vividly brings to life the fascinating story of how much America loved Lucy. Lucille Ball was showered with adoration from nearly every person that she came in contact with – a phenomenon even in our celebrity conscious times that was unprecedented, and, in today’s deconstructed times, now unmatchable. For many decades – long after her incredible comedic talent was showcased in a single 1950’s television series - Americans LOVED, LOVED Lucy. (And not only Americans – I remember reading a while back that the ‘sun never set on ‘I Love Lucy’ ‘ – that the original series is playing somewhere in the world, 24 hours a day. The world’s love affair with Lucy will most likely continue as long as the series keeps playing.)

    This unique book brings to life what life as a real start is really like. It is riveting to hear how a star of such accomplishments had the same insecurities as we have, and what she really wore, and what she really thought. And, kudos to Lee for telling us so much unvarnished truth about her in a way which just adds onto, and never detracts, from our beloved memories of her.

    Besides being an hilarious, and sometimes, poignant, account of her life, there is another equally intriguing story: the transformation of how the author, Lee Tannen, went from being a distant relation and ‘fan’ to becoming her best friend. Unusually witty and acerbic, and with an encyclopedic knowledge of all of Lucille Ball’s oeuvre, Lee endeared himself to Lucille Ball and he was able to play a unique role in her life. Imagine having a best friend who had memorized every episode you ever recorded, and could play back lines whenever life imitated art? Lee’s memory and wit must have added an extraordinarily gratifying dimension to Lucille Ball’s last ten years of life. Who would not want a companion who truly knew your career highlights, what you went through, was curious about what ‘really happened’ during that time, and who you could re-enjoy the best times of your life with? No one, not her family, not her husband, not her managers - only Lee. She had a true appreciator/foil/counterpoint in Lee, and he must have provided an unusually fulfilling relationship for her.

    In this book, Desi Arnaz said of their eponymous series: ‘It was ALWAYS all about Lucy’. He, and Ethel and Fred were just the supporting characters to the star Lucy. Desi loved Lucy until the day he died. Lucy loved Desi also until the very end. This book makes that knowledge crystal clear and is every reader’s reward for reading this book.

    Lee was lucky to have known Lucy, and Lucy was fortunate to have had Lee in her life when she did. Lee loved her - and this book reminds us of how much we all love her.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 04-17-14
    Gary 04-17-14
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    "'Who Doesn't Love Lucy'"

    I love Lucy. Everyone loves Lucy. But how many people can actually claim a personal friendship with one of the world's most beloved celebrities. "I Loved Lucy" is a wacky, zany, and touching account of the author's serendipitous and close relationship with Lucille ball during the last 10 years of her life. The story took me on a delightful tour of life with Lucy and her real life cast of characters. From Beverly Hills to manhattan and the outer boroughs to Palm Springs, and the ski slopes of Colorado, once again, life does imitate art. Mr. Tannen is a gifted storyteller and his narration is delivered with just the right amount of sincerity, sarcasm, and sardonic wit in a humorous and recognizable, true New York accent and attitude peppered with some clever Yiddish-isms thrown in for comic effect. I laughed, I cried, and found it to be a very enjoyable listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Judson Hudson Valley 12-21-13
    Tom Judson Hudson Valley 12-21-13
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    "Insight Into a Legendary Star"

    Listening to Lee Tannen read "I Loved Lucy" was like sitting over coffee with an old friend hearing a great, great story. Lee does such a great job of conjuring his friendship with Lucille Ball that it almost feels like Lucy is sitting next to him elbowing him to get the facts right ("dammit!"). "I Loved Lucy" truly shows the surprising human side of this legendary performer who feels like part of the family and Lee's performance is that of someone who clearly relishes recounting these wonderful tales.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Anthony Melbourne Australia 02-09-14
    H. Anthony Melbourne Australia 02-09-14 Listener Since 2008

    Lizzie

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    "I Just Loved Lucy"

    I found this book so addictive, couldn't stop listening. Amazing insight into a wonderful star, she certainly wasn't who I thought she was. The narration was fabulous. Lucy was a mixture of an inconsiderate person and a wonderfully kind person. I would recommend this book to anyone who remembers Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl New York, NY, United States 01-06-14
    Cheryl New York, NY, United States 01-06-14 Member Since 2007
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    "I Loved This Book!!"
    Would you listen to I Loved Lucy again? Why?

    Yes!! Lee Tannen is not only a wonderful and funny writer but a very skilled narrator!! It is his story and he brings it to life for his audiences in such a deeply funny and engaging manner. I could listen again and again!!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Backgammon!!


    Which character – as performed by Lee Tannen – was your favorite?

    Lee!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending. The whole relationship, really. So poignant and unique and real!!! A special relationship with one of the greatest and most complexly gifted stars of our lifetime!!!


    Any additional comments?

    Get it now!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Milan, NY, United States 12-25-13
    Kathryn Milan, NY, United States 12-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Humorous & touching. The real Lucy."

    A little bit of Auntie Mame mixed with My Favorite Year, this is lovely compilation of memories of one of Lucy's closest (and unlikely) companions during the last 10 years of her life. Although it is a love letter to Lucy, it is much more than that. The author brings us into the private world of Lucy during a very private time of her life. This is the unvarnished Lucy. The vulnerabilities, the quirks, the graciousness, the generosity and the sometimes meanness. It's revealing and refreshing to see a more well-rounded view of the real woman who was such a great artist. All told with obvious love and affection from someone close enough to really "see" her out of the spotlight.

    The author recounts his experiences going from starstruck fan to a dear and loyal friend. And what a great storyteller!

    My husband read this book and really liked it, so when I saw there was an Audible version I was very interested. Even though the physical book had some great photos of the author with Lucy, and a gracious and moving blurb from Lucy's daughter Lucie Arnaz, the audio version is definitely the way to experience this book.

    I'm usually wary of authors reading their own books. (Not everyone can be a Neil Gaiman.) But Lee Tannen is a fantastic narrator and I couldn't imagine anyone else telling his tale. Funny and witty, with his entertaining Bronx accent, he narrates with great warmth towards Lucy and their time together. His impersonation of Lucy's voice alone is worth the credit. It's as if you're sitting there with him as he regales you with his adventures with Lucy. Creatively told in "episodes" instead of chapters, Mr. Tannen takes you through moments, mishaps, and always accompanies with great descriptions of the outfits she was wearing. Fun. One of my favorite elements is at the end of the book where he lists all of Lucy's "favorites": Favorite restaurants. favorite actors, favorite singers, etc. A nice touch.

    This was a lovely, poignant and interesting read. And a charming palate-cleanser between longer multi-part books. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. S. Moore Charleston, SC, USA 07-09-14
    H. S. Moore Charleston, SC, USA 07-09-14 Member Since 2013

    Life is Love is Life

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    "Lovely Lucy Moments"
    If you could sum up I Loved Lucy in three words, what would they be?

    FabulousFunnyFantastic


    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything and more, all the behind the scenes details were wonderful.Details were perfection...


    What about Lee Tannen’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful job telling the stories


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last day of Lucy's life.


    Any additional comments?

    My mother saw Lucille Ball perform at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina with a traveling troupe of actors in 1939. She said Lucy came out on stage with platinum blonde hair & all the girls just were amazed how beautiful she was! Mother told us she was really a showgirl and she put on a fantastic performance there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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