Real Name:Vivian Roberta Jones
DOB:July 26, 1909
DOD:August 17, 1979
Marriage(s):Philip Ober 1941(?)-1959 John Dodds 1961(?)-1979(her death)
Biography:Vivian Vance, best known as Ethel Mae, Louise, Roberta(depending on the episode) Mertz on CBS’es hit sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Viv was born on July 26, 1909 in the town of Cherryvale, in Kansas. She was part of a family that included 5 daughters and one son. After a brief period, Viv’s family moved to Independence, Kansas. Then after a couple years he dad moved the family to Albuquerque, New Mexico. She learned drama through her teacher Vance Randolph, helped her not only with her technique but also her name. In 1932 Viv went to Manhattan in 1932, but the school that Viv wanted to go to had an enrollment higher than it was supposed to be. So she started going to theater auditions on her own.
Vivian Vance’s Biography
In 1934 she got a small role in Anything Goes, and understudied Ethel Merman. In 1936 she was in Red, Hot and Blue!. Her big break was in 1937 with the theater production of Hooray For What! The next year she was in Clare Boothe’s Kiss the Boys Goodbye? In 1941 she met her husband Phil Ober. Also in that year she appeared in Let’s Face It on Broadway. During WW2 Viv went with her entertainment group to entertain the troops. In 1945-1946 Viv appeared in The Voice of the Turtle. Then retreated to her ranch in New Mexico for three years. In 1945 Viv also suffered a nervous breakdown. After two more seizures in Chicago. She went home and spent the next four months in analysis she was on her way to health. Following a visit to Phil’s parents in Maine in 1949 Viv retired to a small ranch in Cubero, just outside of Albuquerque. She had just shaken off the end of the breakdown and then appeared in The Secret Fury with her husband Phil Ober and Claudette Colbert. Her second film was The Blue Veil. In 1951 Mel Ferrer, who offered her her old role in Voice of the Turtle at the La Jolla Playhouse. Even though she didn’t really want to do it she accepted anyway. One night while appearing on stage three men were in the audience who would eventually change Viv’s life. The three men were Desi Arnaz, Jess Oppenheimer, and Marc Daniels. They offered her a job in a new TV seires they were making. Viv took the job and for the next 9 years she played Ethel Mertz in “I Love Lucy”. In 1954 Viv won a Emmy for best supporting actress. In 1959 Viv and Phil Ober divorced. In 1961 Viv married John Dodds and she moved to Conneticut. In 1962 Viv started production on “The Lucy Show” Lucy’s 3rd television series. She stayed with the show for 3 years. Until she didn’t want to commute to L.A. all the time. She continued to make guest appearences throughout the series. In 1968 Lucy started another series Here’s Lucy. Viv made guest appearences on that show too. In 1978 or 79 she was diagnosed with cancer. On August 17, 1979 Viv lost her battle with cancer. She was 70.
Chinese Sign: Rooster