Desi Arnaz's Height
5ft 9.5in (177 cm)
US Actor. There has been claim he was as tall as 5ft 11.
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aimie said on 14/May/16
If you look at their official auto bios, Lucille Ball was 5' 6 1/2" and Desi Arnaz was 5' 9 1/2"
said on 2/Feb/16
Lucille Ball was between 5'-7" and 5'-7 1/2" in her prime, and held her height throughout her life. She consistently looked 1"-1 1/2" taller than many 5'-6"+ women, including Carol Burnett, Katharine Hepburn, Vivian Vance, Maureen O'Hara, Greer Garson and Shirley MacLaine. She was clearly at least 2" taller than women who were between 5'-5" and 5'-6", like Lily Thomlin, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Schafer and Valerie Harper. And she held her own at the age of 68 with Mary Tyler Moore, when they were both wearing the same size heel (MTM wore higher heels than Ball in her 1979 tv special).
Desi Arnaz was probably 5'-9"+ in his prime, but clearly shrunk considerably in his later years. Barefoot, he looks less than 2" taller than Ball. In his lifts he probably hit 5'-11 1/2", which may be why he reported himself to be that height in one of the episodes. William Frawley may have been as tall as 5'-9" in his prime. But he was approaching 70 during the Lucy series, and probably fell under 5'-8" by that time. He was clearly taller than 5'-6" Vivian Vance in the show. He was close to Lucy's height when she wore her ubiquitous 1/4" heel black slippers.
The picture below gives a good indication of the height relationships between the Lucy cast: 5'-7 1/2" Ball in flat shoes stands about the same height as 5'-7"ish William Frawley with Street Shoes and 5'-6" Vivian Vance in 2" heels. Arnaz is a good 3" taller than the rest of them, but that may be due to the photo angle or lifts.
Look said on 29/Nov/15
If u look at the shows I can promise u each one of them Ricky is at least an inch or two taller even in the one when they are out in the country wearing their pajamas Ricky is an Inch or two taller than her even without shoes.Later on though he did wear heels on his shoes to make him look easily taller than Lucy. I would say his apoximate height was atleast 5 ft 10inches.if he was 5.4 even with heels on he would look shorter than Lucy because if so with heels on he would be exactly 5.7 they couldn't give him more of a boost than three inches because they didn't look tall enough to gone him any more of a boost than that.so he was 5.10-5.11.
Look said on 29/Nov/15
If u look at the shows I can promise u each one of them Ricky is at least an inch or two taller even in the one when they are out in the country wearing their pajamas Ricky is an Inch or two taller than he wore heels on his shoes to make him look easily taller than Lucy
Ian said on 24/Nov/15
I've read all the comments below and I have to agree that Desi himself was no more than 5 ft 9 in tall (likely an inch shorter). In the early I Love Lucy episodes Lucy is only slightly shorter than Desi, and that is with house shoes. Later on in Season 3 or so we see Lucy wearing high heeled shoes more frequently, and Desi still stood over her, and that is likely when he started using lifts, at least more often.
Most I Love Lucy fans know Desi was given a higher seat cushion when sitting down in select scenes, because Lucy beforehand looked almost as big as he did.
A lot of actors/actresses lie about their height (those who are under 6 ft), because there have been many occasions where an actor or actress is met up close by a fan only to discover they weren't quite as tall as they claim. There was no way Desi was ever 5 ft 11, because if he was he wouldn't of looked quite so short next to John Wayne. Bill Frawley was no different, and Vivian Vance looked to be on par with Lucy height wise throughout the show's run.
Desi was more or less average with other leading men, and he was about as tall as the average man in America today. Lucille Ball was rather tall looking when compared to other actresses especially considering the 1930s-1940s had many actresses being barely 5 ft, or at most 5 ft 5. Katherine Hepburn and Maureen O Hara were about as tall as actresses got to (Hepburn listed as 5 ft 7 - 5 ft 7.5 in and O Hara listed as 5 ft 8 in). Lauren Bacall was somewhere in the 5 ft 7 in - 5 ft 8 in range and Ingrid Bergman was 5 ft 8 in - 5 ft 9 in.
The claim of Desi saying he was five feet eleven inches tall is false, because he would of easily stood over Lucy otherwise. Watch 'The Handcuffs' episode and one of the episodes where the Ricardos live in the country for proof.
Verticle Truth said on 24/Nov/15
Watching I Love Lucy reruns for many years and seeing Desi barefoot next to Lucy he was no more than 5' 8" at his peak. When wearing hills and lifts he was maybe around 5' 11". Guess which one he choose to pick for his official height? I'm sure as he got older he shrunk so in his later years more like 5' 6" - 5' 7". Even Wiliam Frawley claimed to be 5' 9" which is a scream as he was an inch or two shorter than Lucy and slightly shorter than Ethel who was more like 5' 6". William was 5' 5" - 5' 6", so they both added more than 3" for their official height.
Kay said on 26/Oct/15
So why do Lucie and Lucille Ball look identical in height, (photos in their bare feet) and Lucie's height is listed at 5"10?
Grealmo said on 25/Sep/15
I think that Desi Arnaz was probably about 5'7, may be 5'8.
Orry said on 10/Jul/15
Well, I was a little girl watching that wonderful show. My mom had pointed out to me that Desi was wearing heels because he wasn't tall enough next to Lucille Ball. He was absolutely NOT 5'11''!
Lucy was taller than the average woman. Desi was about 5'8".
Steve said on 16/Apr/15
Next to 6' Howard Duff, Desi was four inches shorter. One of the rare episodes where he didn't wear lifts. With Duff he's wearing tennis shows. Desi is barely taller than Lucy who was supposedly 5'7".
So I must conclude Desi was 5'8".
kara said on 3/Feb/15
if you look at the episode when they live in the country, and they are in their pajamas when they think they hear a burglar. Both of them are barefoot and are the same height. He is no more than 5Ft8
Danno said on 18/Nov/14
In one of the episodes, Ricky is asked how tall he is. His response? 5'11 and 1/2" ... I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
crazyCuban said on 25/Jul/14
No way for Desi to be taller than 5-4 or 5" - Proof is in the shows of I love Lucy - There he's clearly using lifts while she always wore flats. If both where in the same scene, he never, ever tower over her!
Dagwood said on 24/Jun/14
I met Desi Aranz in 1972 while I was a student at San Diego State university. Desi was offered a temporary professorship at SDSU to teach several classes in TV production. i had a long conversation with Desi. I am 6'1'' and Desi was no more than 5'4'' to 5'5''...
richinkle said on 23/Apr/14
When Desi Arnaz was wearing normal shoes, which he did for the first two seasons of I Love Lucy, he never looked more than 2" taller than Lucille Ball when she was wearing 1/4 - 1/2" house slippers.
During the 2nd or 3rd season, Desi started wearing lifts, which gave him an additional inch plus on Lucille.
Lorne said on 30/Jan/14
Lol, I don't understand people. He was clearly taller than her. Granted he did wear heels a lot, but even in regular shoes he looked 3 inches taller. I can believe 176-177, certainly no less than 175, he looked 3-4in over her with 1.5ers...
Jack said on 30/Jan/14
I don't know how tall he was but he was definitely taller than Lucy. In the episode "The Handcuffs" when they are in the bedroom, they both have no shoes on and you can cleary see he has at least 2 to 3 inches on her.
Hazel said on 27/Sep/13
He was above average height. Average height in the 50s was like 5'7 for guys. He was like 5'8 or taller.
Handbag Lover said on 27/Apr/13
Lucille Ball was 5'-7.5" tall and I believe Desi Arnaz was 5'-6" tall leaving him with his shoe lifts to make 5'-9" ish tall. You can see Desi's lifts mostly when he is singing in his nightclub, it is very obvious. Odd, how men want to be taller than they actually are - they lie about their height like women lie about their age and weight.
Stilts said on 26/Dec/12
Desi Arnaz was certainly no more than 5'6" tall, more likely 5'4.5" to 5'5". Please take note than in any of the multiple episodes of "I Love Lucy" where there are close ups of the lower half of his body where his shoes are visible, he is nearly always wearing ankle-height boots with what appear to be 3"+ heels. Also note, that Lucille Ball is seen to be wearing again almost always, flats. Lucy is without doubt at that time (early '50's), 5'7"-5'8" tall. They appear to be about equal in height on the tv screen Do the math. It is not a condemnation of Desi. Nothing as far as we know that he could control. He simply was short. Had no impact on his comedic or business talents.
popinjay said on 15/Dec/12
He was the same height as Lucy, at least he looked it, so how tall was she? In today's episode, she was in flats and he had his elevators on, and they were pretty much the same height. So I'd say he was more like 5'8" or whatever Lucy was.
Doc said on 22/Nov/12
Desi was a good man, a loyal American, but there's no way in the world he was 5'9.5".... With his elevators on, he may have reached 5'8".
Wide not tall said on 24/Aug/11
He did look average, 173 in his time.
Gained weight instead said on 20/Aug/11
No more than 173. He always wore thick shoes and lifts as well as havin big hair to appear taller.
Very short and stocky said on 12/Aug/11
177cm is with hair and shoes. 180cm would be with lifts. Desi was no more than 172-173.
Very short and stocky said on 12/Aug/11
Actually its because Lucy had big hair, Desi wasnt quite five nine, more like 5,8-5,8.5 at most, which was average at the time.
Diane said on 3/Aug/11
In the episode where they are driving to California and they end up staying in a cabin, by a railroad, the 4 of them are in pjs., and no heels or shoes. Lucy is definitely the tallest of the 4, Frawley the shortest.
Lebensdorf said on 3/Jul/11
In a couple of episodes, Rock Hudson and John Wayne guest star. Those guys were 6'5 and 6'4 respectively, and Arnaz didn't look shorter than 5'9 next to them, and he could have passed for 5'10.
richinkle said on 8/Jun/11
William Frawley was closer to 5'-7". Vivian Vance was 5'-6" (this was stated on "The Lucy Show" during one episode). Lucille Ball was 5'-7 1/2", and Desi Arnaz was 5'-9 1/2" (His army records have his height listed as 5'-10".
James J. said on 14/May/11
When standing next to 5'5" William Frawley on various "Lucy" shows, Des, in his two-inch plus elevators, looked maybe three inches, perhaps four, taller than Frawley.
Somewhat stocky said on 10/May/11
I think Desi was more 5'8-5'8.5 than 5'9. Lucille is actually 5'6.5.
richinkle said on 12/Apr/11
In an episode of I Love Lucy, Desi Arnaz claimed he was 5' - 11 1/2". Clearly a stretch. His US Army records put his height at 5'-10". I think 5'- 9 1/2" is pretty close. He was less than 2" taller than Lucille Ball, who was around 5'-7" to 5'-7 1/2".
genevieve au said on 17/Feb/11
in their jammies and no footwear, lucy looked a bit taller than desi; why was that so hard for them to accept??
marji said on 17/Feb/11
when they were both barefoot, he looked an inch shorter than lucy; he was no more than 5'6" tall, & if they ever told the truth, they'd have most likely admitted to 5'5"!
Jason said on 10/Feb/11
When standing next to a standard 6'8" door in films we have proportionally calculated that Desi was only about 5'8" tall. Like Frank Sinatra, also short, Desi often wore platform shoes which you can see in many of his dance routines with the band. Hollywood stars are often far shorter than they appear on TV or film. Only their egos are gigantic in many cases. Also if they seem to always walk extremely erect that is a dead giveaway they are short. Just like short politicians that look like their head is trying to stretch their neck to gain an inch.
Steve XIV said on 3/Aug/07
Desi Arnaz's height could very well be 5.9 1/2. I happened to catch an episode recently where Superman came to little Ricky's birthday party. Desi Arnaz seemed to be at least 3 inches, maybe a little more than George Reeves (6'1")
said on 21/Jul/07
Desi had about 3.5 inches on Lucille Ball, you can check it out here at 8:07 here Click Here
where they are walking on the beach with their children. If Lucy was 5'6'', then Desi was around 5'9.5''.
robotix said on 7/Jun/07
Frank2, i think some near 6-footers wear lifts. Bruce Willis is an obvious case, and I think Alec Baldwin's variability can only be explained by lifts.
Frank2 said on 13/Apr/06
Carlson was my height or 5'11". Dick was very good friends with my mom and after my father passed away my mom went into real estate and handled the sale of Carlson's Sherman Oaks home. I saw him frequently and as a kid I even got to go onto the set of I Led Three Lives which was a syndicated TV series made in the 1950's. I still have his autographed photo given to me that day hanging on the wall of my den.
I've argued Desi's height until I'm blue in the face. Needless to say he wasn't close to being the height publicized. Desi was no more than 5'9". You don't wear lifts if you're nearly 6'. You don't have to. The same is true for Dean Martin.
Babyboomer said on 13/Apr/06
I saw part of a TCM movie today with Desi Arnaz, Lucy, and Richard Carlson. Desi and Carlson were in many scenes & Desi came up to Carlson's forehead. Lookerd like a definite 3-3.5 inch difference to me. How tall was Richard Carlson? Seems like Frank posted it somewhere on the site...???
Frank2 said on 12/Apr/06
And those are lifts on Desi in the photo with Conreid. I just watched the episode of I Love Lucy with Richard Widmark and Desi is exactly his height. But that's with Desi wearing his lifts. 5'10" Widmark wears regular shoes.
Frank2 said on 20/Mar/06
I took that photo of the group with Desi and blew it up using Photoshop and low and behold those are lifts he's wearing! They're not boots.
Frank2 said on 18/Mar/06
Desi was never 5'10". At best he was 5'9". Ingred Bergman was never 5'9-1/2". She was more like 5'8". Desi's lifts were his own idea since he went around claiming to be nearly 6' so don't blame Lucy. By the way, George Sanders was 6'3".
richinkle said on 18/Mar/06
Desi probably wore lifts because in heels, his 5'-7 1/2" wife, Lucille Ball, who stood next to him on screen for the world to see on a regular basis, stood almost exactly the same height. Call it male ego.
I don't believe Desi Arnaz was ever as tall as 5'-11 1/2". I think he was roughly 5'-10", as indicated on his US Army Discharge Certificate. I would not estimate him as taller than this, despite the fact that he stated his height as 5'-11 1/2" on "I Love Lucy" episode #134 (Nov 14, 1955). The Mertzes think the Ricardos are planning to move, so Ethel's Aunt calls to ask Lucy how tall Ricky is to see if her husband, Uncle Elmo, can fit in the bathtub. Ricky : "five eleven and a half, why?". I think that's what Desi Arnaz claimed his height to be, and that's what his lovely, talented and dutiful daughter, Lucie Arnaz (a very tall gal in her own right, thanks no doubt to her mother's genes), presented as his height.
Lucille Ball didn't need, or want, any positive adjustment to her height. Quite the contrary. Being that tall was not an asset to her in her early years in Hollywood (1930's and 40's) trying to be a leading lady. Most of the major leading ladies were under 5'-5", and at least half of the leading men were under 5'-10". Katharine Hepburn at roughly 5'-7" was one of the tallest of the major female stars, and Lucy looks about an inch taller in their two movies together. Ingrid Bergman (5'- 9 1/2") was posed in myriad awkward ways to hide her height relative to her male co-stars. (Incidently, in the one picture I have of Lucy standing next to Bergman, they appear almost identical in height. However, you don't see their feet, and the angle is slightly distorting.)
By the way, Desi's lifts may have been Lucy's idea. She has always preferred taller leading men, so she wouldn't have to slouch or lean or reshoot scenes in flats to remain smaller than the man - which was absolutely derigueur in those days. George Sanders (with whom she was rumored to have an affair), Henry Fonda (whom she dated, and who was rumored to be in love with her) and Van Johnson were ideal for her to be paired up with. She could stand up straight and tall, and wear high heels. With her shorter costars - Desi Arnaz, Bob Hope, Mark Stevens, William Holden and Robert Preston, you can tell she's compensating. Before filming Mame, bossy and officious Lucy actually bought her 5'-10" +/- costar Robert Preston (whom she wanted to have replaced believing him too short to play opposite her) lifts to wear in the movie.
Frank2 said on 16/Mar/06
why would a man who's supposedly nearly six feet tall wear lifts that boosted him by at least two and a half inches in height? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I was at leats two events where Lucy was present and on each occasion she was wearing a minum of three-inch heels and I was still a good two inches to three inches taller. Why in the episode of I Love Lucy with Richard Widmark as a guest is Desi the same height? Widmark was 5'10". Why was Desi and Bob Hope the same height in another episode of I Love Lucy where Desi was wearing the lifts you admit he wore? Hope was about 5'10" back then. Take a look at the photo of my dad with Hope at Hope's height listing on this forum. My dad was about 5'9 1/2" and he's almost as tall as Hope and my father never wore lifts. I have other shots of the two where they're about the same height. Desi was no more than 5'9". Nothing else makes sense.
Frank2 said on 16/Mar/06
Didn't you know that all the WMD's are stored together with the lifts that stars tried to hide from their public?
[Editor Rob: Frank, see in the comment part, can you change where it says 'your name' from 'Anonymous' to 'Frank2' as the site remembers the last name]
richinkle said on 16/Mar/06
I wouldn't hold my breath for that first prediction to materialize, Frank. But, I will save the political discussion for another website.
I never disagreed that Desi wore lifts on I Love Lucy. In fact, I confirmed it in my comments on the Lucille Ball page - he made no attempt to hide them. At first he didn't wear lifts, but started to after about the first season. I could figure out the episode they first appeared if I had the time. But I don't at the moment. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. I have the first two seasons of I Love Lucy on DVD, and I'm only up to episode 8. So far, no lifts.
Frank, the pictures you've submitted don't show any shoes, feet or context. I have many of the episodes and film footage from which your stills were taken. Lucy is much taller than she looks in the publicity stills. I have tried to take pictures of them on my television, showing the position of the feet and footware. Unfortunately, the quality is grainy, and most of my collection is not on dvd (where the quality of the stills is somewhat better). But, Frank, you've been in the business long enough to know that publicity stills are even more doctored than height records.
And your zealousness and repetition don't make your observations any more convincing or compelling, nor do your carefully selected publicity stills that don't show any feet or shoes. The proof is in the film, showing full context body shots, not the still photos.
Frank2 said on 16/Mar/06
When it comes out that the WMDs were moved to Syria shortly before the war I can hardly wait to see the reaction from those who felt Bush doctored the intel. This isn't a damned political forum. Just look at I Love Lucy and tell me truthfully that Desi didn't wear lifts. You can't. He did. It's quite obvious to anyone who knows these things. And dismissing what I've seen just doesn't cut it. Sorry. I've been aware of the heights of the famous since before most of you were born.
Frank2 said on 15/Mar/06
Pretty good memory! That Bacall comment was made on an old TV interview i watched. What she said was, "Bogie wasn't short. He was about 5'10"." Well, Bogie wasn't 5'10". If that was the case then I'm six feet four!
Editor Rob said on 15/Mar/06
Frank2, sorry I accidentally deleted your last comment, the jist was from memory:
"I met Lucille and she was about 5ft 6. I could look over the top of her head, one time in flats. Not what you'd expect from a 5ft 8 lady.
A girl who dated Peter Sellers said he was 5ft 11, when I met him he was about 5ft 7. Bacall once said Bogart was 5ft 10. Believe what someone who has met these people says, rather than the publicity machine. I'm trying to educate, not piss people off."
Anonymous said on 15/Mar/06
I read recently that the "cow clause" was a gag contract handed to Vivian Vance by Lucille Ball as a joke. I'll find my reference cite it for you when I get home.
Frank, all the pictures you show are deliberately posed to show Lucy as shorter than she is. The shot with Victor Mature and Lizabeth Scott is from "Easy Living" 1949. She was also in the movie "Seven Days Leave" 1942, with Victor Mature. She's never seen in the first movie with Lizabeth Scott, but is in several scenes with Mature in both films. She comes up consistently to just above his brow wearing 2 1/2 to 3" heels. You should watch the movie, Frank, and not just point to a useless publicity still. They're more posed and doctored than those government records you distrust so vehemently.
As for Bob Hope, I have all four movies they did together, as well as a number of tv specials. She is consistently about 1" shorter wearing 2 1/2-3" heels, altho starts to gain on him as he got older. In one very revealing scene from a 1960's tv special, they walk out together facing the camera and engage in some contrived comedic banter. She is almost identical to him in height. 10 seconds into it, she leans on her outer foot or steps out of her shoes (you can't see for sure) and instantly loses two to three inches for the rest of the bit. As for Vivian Vance, there is more footage of the two of them over the years, standing side by side in various footware, for anyone to clearly see that Lucy is easily 1" to 1 1/2" taller. Your claim that Vivian is 5'-7" and Lucy is 5'-6" is verifiably absurd.
Frank2 said on 15/Mar/06
By the way, the shot of Desi with Bob Hope and Lucy clearly shows that Desi was an inch shorter than Hope. I suspect he wasn't wearing lifts that day. You can also see that Lucy is about four inches shorter than 5'10" Hope which places her at 5'6" which back then was still quite tall for an actress or comedian.
Frank2 said on 15/Mar/06
That's correct. Vivian had to gain weight for the role. And I met Bill Frawley on several occasions and he was quite short, I'd say no more than 5'6". Vivian was tall, about 5'7".
theheightguru said on 15/Mar/06
SF-regarding your comments on Desi Arnaz and 'I Love Lucy', I heard that Lucille Ball enforced a 'cow clause', which required Vivian Vance to be (I think) 10 or 20 pds. heavier than she.
sf said on 15/Mar/06
Hell, there's nothing wrong with being 5'9" now. It's interesting on "I Love Lucy" how the only other male lead is much shorter than Desi and the other female lead is heavier than Lucy (which I saw on TV where Vivian Vance said Lucy required this). It seems like the two lead stars made sure they looked better in comparison. And, people don't think these stars are vein and will make things up?
Frank2 said on 14/Mar/06
Thank you, sf. Much appreciated. Believe me, Desi was only 5'9" and wore lifts. But remember that 5'9" was still above average male height in the US back in the fifties. Just about everyone under 6' tends to lie about their height. It's human nature. And to richinkle, sham marriage? Really? Think so? Noooooooooooo way! I mean everthing you read officially has to be true. What guys like me say is just BS.
sf said on 14/Mar/06
Frank2 - I gotta say I believe Desi was 5'9". That's about the height I always pegged him at on "I Love Lucy." Sure, he looks taller, because in comparison to everyone else, including the only other man on the show, William Frawley, he's a lot taller.
I don't know why everyone takes everything they read as gospel. I'm with you on things being made up for stars - their heights, whether they're married or not, etc. I'll take the word from someone who has been around these people, actually met them, seen them many times, then from any publication. There's just too much made up. Come on - they're stars. Everything about them is exaggerated. Lots try to fudge on their ages, their heights. You never actually see what a star looks like in a movie or magazine cause so they're so damn heavily made up, airbrushed, photographed at different angles, with soft lensese, etc. I bet people would be really surprised if they met some of these people close up.
I'm just saying, I believe most of your comments regarding height. I don't know why people have such a hard time not being able to understand that just cause you read something, especially about people where many things are exaggerated, doesn't make it so...
Frank2 said on 13/Mar/06
No! No!! No!!! Desi was at best 5'9" and wore huge lifts on I Love Lucy. Even with his lifts he was still shorter than Bill Holden on the episode Holden was in and was the same height as 5'10" Bob Hope and 5'10" Richard Widmark. I met Desi later in his life and by then he was about 5'7". In the 1980's I knew and worked under Dan Cahn who at one time edited I Love Lucy and he confirmed that Desi was his height and Dan is short! I still see Dan occasionally. At one time he was head of Editorial at Fox for all the Glenn Larson TV series.