Lucy & Desi – Secret Grandparents??


I Love Lucy & Desi – because they were my secret grandparents, woman claims




New York Post
September 2, 2008


They were America’s favorite couple – charming the country on screen and off – but Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz may have been hiding a secret so scandalous, it would have shattered their public image.


Cassandria Lucianna Carlson, 38, believes that she is the legendary comic couple’s granddaughter – and that her mother was adopted in 1947 for fear that a baby would derail Ball’s plans for stardom.


The Illinois woman nearly had a DNA sample to prove the claims, but the offer from an estranged Arnaz relative was suddenly rescinded under circumstances that have only deepened the mystery.   (Click ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Madeline “Linda” Jane Dee, Carlson’s mother, was born four years before the 1951 debut of I Love Lucy and immediately given up for adoption to California nurse Ruth Smith.





Madeline “Linda” Jane Dee, as a child and as an adult. Is she the dauther of Ball and Arnaz?


Birth records indicate Helen Elizabeth Barnes as the mother. There is no listed father.


“I believe [Carlson],” said Vito Colucci, a Stamford, Conn., private detective who has called on Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. – the couple’s only publicly known children – to “put this to rest” by providing DNA samples to test against Carlson. Desi Sr., died in 1986, and Ball died three years later.


Colucci cites facts that his client has “accumulated over the years” as the basis for his belief.


Carlson said she has vivid, early childhood memories of a brash, red-headed woman called “Mrs. Morton” coming to visit her at her mother’s house in the mid-1970s. Smith, the grandmother, was often present.


Ball took the name Morton after divorcing Desi Sr. in 1960 and marrying Gary Morton.


Carlson remembers the women playing cards or taking her to the playground. She even remembers at least one visit by Mr. Morton.


Dee – whose troubled adult life included multiple drug and prostitution arrests, several marriages and domestic abuse – died in 2003 when she was hit by a bus in California.


Carlson phoned Smith from a funeral home to help locate Dee’s birth records.


During that call, said Carlson, Smith asked, “Are you sitting down?” and told her that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were her mother’s parents. But Smith, who has since passed away, warned her that she would never find a record of their parentage.


In Carlson’s mind, that shocking statement cemented what she had long suspected.


She said she once asked Dee if it was true, and her mom replied, “It could be, but what does it matter?”


But in 2004, the identity of Carlson’s real grandparents became pressing when she fell ill with what was thought to be a hereditary condition.


In an effort to see if the Arnaz family suffered from the same malady, Carlson’s husband, Dennis, wrote to Lucie Arnaz, who was born in 1951, and suggested Carlson was related to Ball and Arnaz.


“I must inform you we’re almost certainly not related,” Lucie Arnaz wrote the Carlsons in a May 25, 2004, reply.


“In 1947, my parents were married and wanted nothing more than to have a baby together,” Lucie wrote. “They struggled for 10 years with infertility and miscarriage until I came along in 1951. My mother would never have given up a child of hers nor would my father have let her.”


Carlson hasn’t been dissuaded. She says her two sons strikingly resemble Desi Sr., and is intent on proving a family connection.


Her best hope was a DNA offer in July by Desi Arnaz Jr.’s out-of-wedlock daughter, Julia Arnaz.


It was abruptly withdrawn, and a short time later, the Arnaz family publicly acknowledged Julia’s paternity apparently for the first time – taking steps to end what several people said was her deep alienation from the famed clan.


“It’s way too coincidental,” Carlson said of the timing. “One can only conclude they thought she was going to get too close to me and she was going to give the DNA.”


Before changing her mind, Julia “was very, very adamant, saying, ‘We need to do the DNA, we need to put your mother in her right place,’ ” Carlson recalled.


Julia Arnaz, 39, denies her dad played any role in changing her mind about giving Carlson a DNA sample.


However, the Connecticut resident confirmed she initially offered the genetic material to Carlson “because she’s in the same position that I was a long time ago” – referring to a court-ordered paternity test Julia obtained in 1991 from Desi Jr., who impregnated her model mom when he was just 15.


“But that’s not my place” to prove Carlson is another Ball-Arnaz granddaughter, said Julia, who claims her reconciliation with Desi Jr. and her stepmom occurred several years ago, and not, as others assert, in the past month-and-a-half after making the DNA offer.


“We’re really working on me threading back to the family,” said Julia, who claims to be three years sober after a long history of substance abuse and multiple drug and other arrests.


She now does not believe Carlson’s claim to be relative “because that’s what my family told me,” said Julia, who admittedly has met her dad just twice as an adult.


But in e-mails she sent Carlson in mid-July – after first becoming aware of her existence – Julia wrote, “I do know you are my cousin,” and, “I’m the one who wants you to get the DNA done.”


Julia then abruptly stopped talking to Carlson after having told her that “people” in Jamestown, NY – Ball’s birthplace and home of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center – had contacted her and wanted her to visit, Carlson said.


Less than two weeks later, in an odd posting on her personal blog, Desi Jr.’s wife, Amy, wrote, “Desi & I has [sic] always had a Julie in our lives, beginning with his oldest daughter, Julia Arnaz (a k a Julie).”


The posting noted that Desi and Amy once had an adopted cat named Julie, and currently were enjoying eating Julie’s Organic Ice Cream while on vacation in the Pacific Northwest.


“Good things come in threes,” wrote Amy Arnaz, whose posting appears to be the first time she has publicly stated that Julia is her stepdaughter.


The professional biography of Desi Jr., an actor and musician, makes no mention of Julia, although it does mention Amy’s daughter as his stepdaughter. Desi Jr.’s 1953 birth was mirrored in a landmark TV episode of I Love Lucy with the birth of “Little Ricky” Ricardo to his parents’ comic characters.


Johnna Paradis, a Stamford, Conn., woman who until recently was friends with Julia and was planning to write Julia’s memoir, told The Post that Julia’s relationship with Desi Jr. and her stepmother, Amy, was “non-existent” until two months ago.


Paradis said Desi Jr. never called Julia on her birthdays and routinely changed his phone number whenever Julia managed to get a call through to him. She also said Julia and she in July met with a lawyer to discuss possibly suing Desi Jr. for intentional infliction of emotional distress because of his lack of contact with her.


And Paradis said that in mid-July she and Julia contacted a DNA lab to discuss doing a test to confirm Carlson was Julia’s cousin. When an emotional Julia called Amy in mid-July and said she wanted to speak to Desi Jr. about Carlson, Amy repeatedly demanded to know, “How’d you get this number?” said Paradis, who listened in on the call.


Julia did not confirm that version of the call. She has repeatedly claimed to have a good relationship with her stepmother.


Desi Jr. and his cabaret-singer sister, Lucie Arnaz, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.


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32 Responses to “Lucy & Desi – Secret Grandparents??”

  1. Salli says:

    The pictures speak for themselves. That’s Desi Arnaz, Sr’s daughter. I hope she gets the DNA she needs.

  2. Rachel and Rick says:

    I don’t see any physical similarities between Madeline Jane Dee and any of the Ball/Arnaz family. I have seen so many images of Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. in their early childhood; their little faces are emblazoned in my mind. And those images do not look even remotely like the young Madeline to me. Beyond that, the inconsistencies in Ms. Carlson’s story are disturbing. When this story first broke in 2008, the claim was being made that her mother was a “love child” between Lucy and Desi that would have caused a scandal. Seemingly, Ms. Carlson was not aware that Lucy and Desi had been married more than six years at that point, so there would have been no cause for scandal. More recently the story has changed to, Lucy and Desi were estranged at the time, and she wanted to conceal the pregnancy from him. Ms. Carlson’s PR people just days ago put out a press release claiming that in the six months leading up to the June 1947 birth in California of Carlson’s mother, Lucille Ball was vacationing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. From late October to mid December 1946, she was filming LURED. And then retakes were filmed in late January 1947. From mid February to late March 1947, she was filming HER HUSBAND’S AFFAIRS, and retakes were filmed in May. Besides her film work, she was also working regularly in live radio broadcasts during these months: THE EDDIE CANTOR SHOW (Oct 10, 1946); THE BOB HOPE SHOW (Nov 12, 1946); SCREEN GUILD THEATER (Apr 21, 1947); THE SMITHS OF HOLLYWOOD (Apr 25, 1947); THE RADIO READER’S DIGEST (May 22, 1947); and THE BOB HOPE SHOW (May 27, 1947). Bob Hope’s show was done in front of a live studio audience. By the time of that broadcast, she would have been nearly nine months pregnant according to Carlson’s story. She couldn’t have hidden that from 300 studio audience members unless she were wearing a cardboard box. In early June, she arrived in Princeton, NJ to begin rehearsals and staging for the play DREAM GIRLS, which started June 23 and went on tour for the next six months. So every single month during the prior six-month period that Carlson claims Ball was vacationing, she was actually working. And some sources indicate she was also seen in Phoenix in April 1947 with Desi Arnaz, and posed for a photographer in a bathing suit in May 1947. The frequently-changing “facts” of Ms. Carlson’s case simply do not compute.

  3. Mont says:

    Rachel and Rick: won’t you feel stupid when this turns out to be true? Women have been having babies in secret for all time. There are always ways to do it. Have you ever seen the love child of Clark Gable and Loretta Young? Loretta went on vacation then came back and “adopted” a child. Nobody believed her either when, as a grown woman, she said Gable and Young were her real parents, but it was proved to be true.

  4. Margot says:

    So why not have the DNA test and put an end to speculation once and for all?

  5. Angela Del Vecchio says:

    Madaline “Linda” Jane Dee is the spitting image of
    Desi Arnaz both as a child and and adult young woman…I would bet the farm she is their daughter it is so obvious…I believe Cassandra should keep fighting for a DNA test…it is her birth right. If the Arnaz children didn’t know the truth then they would willingly give DNA for the test….seems very odd that they are so against it. I suppose they do not want to tarnish the image we all have of their parents…
    Sad that she was given up for adoption and fell into drugs..tragic and sad. It should never have happened.

  6. GARY says:

    I don’t think it is true, it sounds very contrary to what we all know Lucy and Desi to be like. Maybe these people involved are like all the rest these days, (looking for their own reality show, barf) The younger pic dose look like Desi, but I still don’t believe it. Why do people wait till after death to pursue these things?

  7. beth says:

    I believe Rachel and Rick. They have facts of where Lucy was during the time she would have been born. I think this is just Carlson’s try to get 15 minutes of fame. She looks nothing like Desi OR Lucy and pictures are worth 1,000 words. Some part of us who love “I Love Lucy” wishes in some way we were related, or connected to them even just a little. This woman appearently wants it so much, she’s willing to lie and go to the press. I really don’t think she connected to Lucy and Desi in any way, or form. It’s just wishfull thinking.

  8. LorencoPag says:

    How I can download documents from WikiLeaks?
    Hope for no silence
    sorry, dont know.

  9. Divya says:

    Just by looking at her pictures, you can tell she’s not related to the Arnazes. Her features are all rounded and short. Both Lucy and Desi had long ovaline features. If you see pictures of Lucie or Desi Jr., they both have very sharp noses and have thin features. This lady is the exact OPPOSITE.

    Not only what anyone can see with the eye, but also deeper than that. Lucy and Desi wanted a baby more than anything. When pregnant, they cancelled appointments with the QUEEN!!! They will willing to do ANYTHING for a baby.

    To Cassandria Carlson: I know it must be hard to feel like your mother is a complete mystery, and like you don’t know where you come from, but this is an injustice to Lucy and Desi, may they rest in peace, their children, and all Lucy fans everywhere. Please remember that attaching yourself to a famous family will not truly satsify the void. I feel that you will be able to satisfy this void if you look honestly.

  10. puppy says:

    Yes,the child does look similar to Desi.Desi was known to be a womanizer .Maybe while Lucy was away he had this child with another woman

  11. Heather says:

    I have to disagree with those that say they don’t look alike. google pictures of lucy as a baby. she looks similar. and saying they have sharp noses doesn’t mean anything. look at desi jr. he had a big wide nose. she seriously looks a lot like their legit daughter and a lot like lucy as a baby. but the only thing that will settle this is a simple swab to one of the legit childrens mouth. hm, why wouldn’t they want that done? maybe cause they know she could be related. doesn’t make sense to hide it. it wouldn’t ruin their parents rep. they are so cemented into hollywood stardom, the only thing that could change that is if they were found to be serial killers. I mean, come on. Just swab the inside of your mouth and end the debate now. Happy 100th Lucy, give your kids the guts to swab their mouths and give this girl the dna test so it can be over and done with already.

  12. Cj says:

    Personally I don’t know if she is or isn’t…. But if she is or isnt I don’t think it’s fair to say she’s just out for money/fame. She is only going on things she’s been told. She’s only guilty of “trying to find out” .
    If the two publicly acknowledged children want to settle that she isn’t a quick DNA test would solve it. I think they won’t do it because they at least have a doubt in the claimants legitimacy . If they knew for certain she was not… They’d have no problem forking over a swab of DNA. So far as looks… People don’t always look like their parents. My stepchild looks a lot like me and not very much like her own two parents… Looks can deceive. DNA would clear it all up. Personally I think they don’t want to take the chance she is a long lost granddaughter because they think she will want a part in the arnez fourtune. And she just might want that… But I doubt she is really after anything other than truth. And I always wonder when these kinda things come up…. Why would someone who has any doubt at all that it may not be true , offer up their DNA. It’s obvious she has more belief tht it’s true or shed not offer DNA. I also wouldn’t completely pass this as a lie … I’ve researched enough to know the children of desi & Lucille were pretty much raised by nannys. Could it be they felt guilty over giving away thier first accidental child , and had the other two for publicity and so forth. Is it possible that lucyjr and desi jr are adopted? And the public pregnacys faked?And that’s why they don’t want to fork over DNA? Who really even knows . Personally I think there are a lot of hidden things about the whole deal. But a DNA test would go a long way to clear a few mysterys

  13. CeeCee says:

    Stranger things have come out of Hollywood, so I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. I’d dismiss the whole thing as made up by Cassandra’s adoptive grandmother, but I think Linda looks just like Desi Sr. and I have an odd theory: what if Linda was Desi Sr.’s child with a mistress? Maybe the woman even came to Lucy and arrangements were made for adoption, both to save her marriage and any scandal. There could also have been eventual, genuine affection on Lucy’s part, given that this was her children’s half-sibling. Yes, a visual reminder of his infidelity, but if the birth mother was removed–and no longer a threat to Lucy’s marriage–I can see her ‘checking up on’ and making sure the girl was provided for and treated well.

  14. Kendra says:

    If anyone does not see the same likeness of Desi Arnaz, Sr. and Jr. in that child’s picture it’s because they DON’T want to see it.

    She looks exactly like them!!! She looks more like Desi than Lucie does. Everybody knew Lucille Ball was career driven. Everybody. The Arnaz’s had separated several times during their first decade of marriage too. Stop pretending.

    I Love Lucy was a great show but the PR myths surrounding that love story need to stop. It was a volatile relationship.

  15. Kendra says:

    @CeeCee, I thought the same thing. I thought she may be a product of a liaison between Desi and a girlfriend too. Whatever the outcome is, she is definitely HIS daughter!!

    Lucy was financially supporting her extended family and was career driven since she was a teen so I can also believe she gave her up for adoption too. Lots of secrets in Hollywood, especially during that era. Look at Loretta Young!

  16. Mary says:

    If I read this right, Madeline “Linda” Jane Dee was daughter of Helen Elizabeth Barnes. If that’s the case, then at the VERY least, Cassandria would have ONLY Desi Arnaz Sr as a father. Lucille Ball would NOT be Cassandria’s grandmother.

  17. Brianna says:

    Anyone who says they’re related is crazy. Maybe the Arnaz’s didn’t want to submit a DNA test because they think she’s nothing but a crazed fan and they want her to go away. I don’t blame them at all. I agree with Rachel and Rick because they do have facts on where Lucy was but if Desi cheated and had a child with that woman there’d be no hiding it. Especially with how famous and popular they were. I idolize Lucy and her and Desi’s relationship, volatile or not, I think they were the most adorable thing. I love Lucy is my favorite show and I’m only 17 years old but I know Lucy and Desi had several miscarriages and they wanted a baby more than anything. Anyone who says that they would give up their baby couldn’t be more wrong. And Desi never would’ve cheated on Lucy. Like I said, volatile or not, they lived eachother more than anything and they even remained friends after their divorce. I highly doubt these claims are true and I think Lucy and Desi would turn in their graves if they knew about this.

  18. Gee says:

    This is such an interesting case. If I were Lucie and Desi Jr. I would just fork out the DNA to make the story die down. The baby picture looks like Desi.

  19. Marie says:

    I don’t believe there is any chance in hell that Lucille Ball would ever have given up a child. That being said, Desi Sr. was a notorious womanizer. It’s always possible that he accidentally fathered a child with someone else.

  20. Marie says:

    Comment #17, Brianna says that she highly doubts Desi would ever have cheated on Lucy. That’s very sweet and I wish it were true, but read their autobiographies and watch the old interviews. Lucille herself says he was notorious. And he admits it in his autobiography, “A Book” as well.

  21. Aurelia says:

    Cj, what do you mean when you ask if Lucie and Desi jr were adopted? Are you implying they are not Desi Sr.’s biological children but someone else’s? Explain how Desi Jr. resembles Desi Sr. then.

  22. Dorrie Lipkin says:

    She just may be Desi’s child but not Lucy’s. Desi supposedly was a womanizer and got someone pregnant so arrangements had to be made to give the child up for adoption because it would have surely been a scandal for Desi and Lucy. Why doesn’t Lucie or Desi Jr, just give the damn DNA and settle it once and for all ! If they truly believe she is not their kin than they should have nothing to hide.

  23. Liza says:

    If you look at Julia Arnaz’s, Facebook page you will see that she milks the fact that she’s Dezi JR. daughter for all it’s worth. If that DNA text had popped up negative most of those people on Facebook wouldn’t have a thing to do with her.

  24. Linda says:

    Liza, You are so right about Julia, Arnaz. Her father is only being kind to her now, because he doesn’t want her being part of that DNA test. Hell he didn’t he even bother coming to her recent wedding.

  25. Jonna says:

    I can see her being Desi’s daughter out of wedlock. Too bad people who could help her to know will not give the DNA.

  26. Laura says:

    Anyone can get their DNA done to find out their heritage. For a hundred bucks I would go for it. You can’t hind things that well anymore. Lucy and Dezi have other relatives. The truth will pop up.

  27. Cinderella Wilson says:

    I will happily give you my email Ms. Carlson if you are still following this. I would love to compare my DNA with yours I think we have a nasty little red head who my great Aunt called the devil and also Lucille Ball. They were kin.

  28. n leigh says:

    you’re all nuts. get a life.

  29. Shelly says:

    The reason they don’t want to have a DNA test is because if it is true, then she has a right to any money that any of them might be getting from the estate of her grandparents. When I first looked at the baby photo, the first thing I though was she looks just like Desi Arnez Sr. Just get the test done, she just wants to know who her real family is. If it turns out not to be them then she can move on.

  30. Marie says:

    Amazing to read all of you experts on the subject. I was a child given up for adoption in the late 1950’s and all I ever wanted to know was who my parents were. In my 40’s through my own grown daughter’s search I finally met my mother. She was one of 11 children and very close with several of her sisters and yet not one knew of my existence. I was a child born out of wedlock and a shame to the family, so I suggest the all mighty Arnaz family put this to rest

  31. Jenevra says:

    Desi knocked up some gal and Lucy covered it up with the phony adoption. Then they, and their acknowledged kids, Desi Jr. and Lucie, conspired to keep this woman in the poor house because they were greedy. I will never again respect Lucie and Desi Jr. They let their blood relatives suffer and inherit the family trait of substance abuse because they wanted to protect their millions. Can’t get more despicable than that.

  32. Sureyya Jacqueline says:

    I believe that Lucy and Desi gave up Madeline for adoption because of their circumstances. Lucy did what she thought was best for her child, and for her career. I haven’t seen any photos of Lucy in 1947. There are ways to hide a pregnancy. I hope that Mrs. Carlson gets the DNA .

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