Keith Thibodeaux

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, actor Keith Thibodeaux discusses his early childhood where his interest and talent in drumming lead him to become a member of the Horace Heidt Orchestra.  He discusses touring around the country with the orchestra and appearing on The Horace Heidt Show, until his family moved to California in the early 50s. He speaks about being cast in 1956 as "Little Ricky" on the hit series I Love Lucy. He describes his role, his costars, and the tension on the set as the marriage of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball disintegrated. He then talks about his work on The Andy Griffith Show were he played Opie's friend, Johnny Paul Jason. He discusses the travails of being a child star and his later descent into drugs, which he overcame as an adult. He also speaks about his role as executive director of Ballet Magnificat, a Christian ballet touring company. Karen Herman conducted the interview in St. Charles, IL on November 5, 2005.

"Lucy couldn't handle it anymore. And they were divorced and that was the end of the show. I was out of a job at the age of nine years old."

Highlights
Keith Thibodeaux on his first professional job, as a child drummer on The Horace Heidt Show
04:45
Keith Thibodeaux on auditioning for I Love Lucy; on his role of "Little Ricky"; on his professional name "Richard Keith"; on learning how to act; on working with Lucille Ball
19:44
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on playing "Little Ricky" on I Love Lucy; on some of the key guests, directors, and episodes
22:08
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on the last episode of I Love Lucy; on the legacy of the series; on the fans of the show; on seeing Lucille Ball for the last time
13:50
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on being on the "Lucy and Superman" episode of I Love Lucy (airdate: January 14,1957)
02:09
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
On his early years and interest in drumming
On his first professional job, as a drummer on The Horace Heidt Show
On auditioning for I Love Lucy; on his role of "Little Ricky"; on his professional name "Richard Keith"; on learning how to act; on working with Lucille Ball

Chapter 2

On his family life; on undergoing hypnosis for stammering; on being a child star 
On working with Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, Vivian Vance; on the production details and series' directors; on some of the key I Love Lucy episodes he appeared in; on the end of the series

Chapter 3

On the last episode of I Love Lucy; on the legacy of the series and its characters; on the fans of the show; on seeing Lucille Ball for the last time
On his work after I Love Lucy; on playing Opie's friend Johnny Paul Jason on The Andy Griffith Show
On moving back to Louisiana at 15; on trying to distance himself from Hollywood and becoming part of the 1960s counterculture

Chapter 4

On leaving acting and playing in his band David and the Giants; on becoming a Christian; on his work with Ballet Magnifica; on his advice to young actors; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Andy Griffith Show, The

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on playing Opie's friend Johnny Paul Jason on The Andy Griffith Show
07:11

Horace Heidt Show, The

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Keith Thibodeaux on his first professional job, as a child drummer on The Horace Heidt Show
04:45

I Love Lucy

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Keith Thibodeaux on auditioning for I Love Lucy; on his role of "Little Ricky"; on his professional name "Richard Keith"; on learning how to act; on working with Lucille Ball
19:44
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on playing "Little Ricky" on I Love Lucy; on some of the key guests, directors, and episodes
22:08
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on being on the "Lucy and Superman" episode of I Love Lucy (airdate: January 14,1957)
02:09
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on being on the "Lucy Meets the Moustache" (the last) episode of I Love Lucy 
01:13
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on the last episode of I Love Lucy; on the legacy of the series; on the fans of the show; on seeing Lucille Ball for the last time
13:50
Topics

We Cried

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on being on the "Lucy Meets the Moustache" (the last) episode of I Love Lucy 
01:13
People

Desi Arnaz

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on Desi Arnaz
03:08

Lucille Ball

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Keith Thibodeaux on auditioning for I Love Lucy; on his role of "Little Ricky"; on his professional name "Richard Keith"; on learning how to act; on working with Lucille Ball
19:44
Actor Keith Thibodeaux on the last episode of I Love Lucy; on the legacy of the series; on the fans of the show; on seeing Lucille Ball for the last time
13:50

William Frawley

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on working with William Frawley and Vivian Vance on I Love Lucy
01:29

Horace Heidt

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Keith Thibodeaux on his first professional job, as a child drummer on The Horace Heidt Show
04:45

George Reeves

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on being on the "Lucy and Superman" episode of I Love Lucy (airdate: January 14,1957)
02:09

Vivian Vance

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Actor Keith Thibodeaux on working with William Frawley and Vivian Vance on I Love Lucy
01:29

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