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Desi Arnaz made sure to give his longtime love a final goodbye.
The actor, who famously starred alongside his wife Lucille Ball as Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy,” passed away in 1986 from lung cancer at age 69.
The couple’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, detailed her parents’ final exchange with each other over the phone before the star’s death.
While Arnaz and Ball divorced in 1960 and moved on with other spouses, there was no denying their bond endured until the end.
“I could hear her say, ‘I love you,’” Lucie, 70, told People magazine on Wednesday about her mother’s last conversation with her father. “She said it five times in a row. And he was nodding and saying, ‘I love you too, honey.’”
“He died in my arms,” Lucie shared. “None of us realized it at the time, but the day they last spoke was Nov. 30, their wedding anniversary.”
Ball passed away less than three years later in 1989 at age 77 from cardiac arrest.
Ball and Arnaz’s relationship is being explored in a new documentary for Amazon Prime Video titled “Lucy and Desi.” The film, directed by Amy Poehler, features archival footage and recordings of the pair’s stories told in their own words. It premieres on March 4.
Lucie told the outlet that “I Love Lucy” was not only significant to audiences but also her parents during their marriage.
“They did the show so they could be together because my dad was always on the road and they never saw each other,” she explained. “So my parents thought, ‘Well, this is going to save our marriage, and we can have a family.'”
“They gave the country this wonderful creation, but they never got what they wanted – to stay together,” said Lucie. “… [But] they loved each other until the end.”
Keith Thibodeaux, who played Little Ricky in the ‘50s sitcom, told Fox News Digital in 2020 that Ball and Arnaz remained close even after the actress married Gary Morton in 1961.
“Whenever Desi would come around or there would be any kind of interaction between them, there was always this tension underneath the surface,” he said at the time. “I felt that she really loved him and he really loved her. There was an attraction that they had for years after they both remarried to other spouses… It was kind of a bittersweet thing with both of them.”