Lucille Ball's Height
5ft 7 (170.2 cm)
American Actress best remembered for I Love Lucy, Room Service and Long, Long Trailor. In her autobiography she wrote: "I was very skinny, being my present height of five feet seven and a half but weighing less than a hundred pounds" In the movie "Easy to Wed" with Van Johnson and Esther Williams, she states "I'm five - seven". A Buffalo News article mentioned: "The FBI file contains a photocopy of the registration for Miss Lucille D. Ball, who gave her height as 5 feet, 6 1/2 inches".
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Average Guess (11 Votes)
5ft 7.52in (171.5cm)
said on 9/May/19
In the guest intro portion of this amazing variety show from 1965 - "Danny Thomas Presents the Wonderful World of Burlesque", around 5:00 to 6:30, Lucille Ball has about 3" height advantage over Shirley Jones, who is wearing similar 3" heels, about a half in on Danny Thomas, and looks almost the same height as Jerry Lewis.
Ian said on 17/Oct/18
There is a scene in Miss Grant Takes Richmond where Lucille is standing next to William Holden in what look to be work clothes. I’m not too familiar with what was popular in fashion back then but you can definitely see Lucille was wearing flat heeled boots and she was not much shorter than Holden.
The last scene in The Fuller Brush Girl shows Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert kissing each other after the ship they were on exploded. They’re both in bare feet and you can tell just like in Miss Grant, Ball is only a few inches shorter.
Male actors and especially leading men had to look bigger and taller than the actresses and leading women. Which is why stilts and other techniques had to be used. Lucille Ball in high heeled shoes would of looked rather big and imposing against Bob Hope, Eddie Albert and William Holden otherwise. Even the taller actors she was with at that period such as Van Johnson and Victor Mature wouldn’t of looked much taller than Ball in high heels.
said on 13/Feb/18
From richinkle: In late 1973, 62 year old Lucille Ball is still looking a solid 5'-7" singing and walking next to 51 year old Bea Arthur, who was 5'-9 1/2", in one of the best musical numbers from the movie Mame.
Ian said on 11/Jan/18
I appreciate all the comments rich.
Several years ago it was hard for me to know why at times Lucille Ball seemed to be the same as Vivian height wise. Then, throughout their run in I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, you can easily tell Lucy was taller. In a few episodes Lucy was wearing just flats and Vivian had short heeled shoes. Even then Lucy was still taller.
Then I realized she stood on one foot a lot of the time, which you mentioned before. Amazing woman regardless.
said on 8/Jan/18
Ian, I have watched all of the below Lucy movies and episodes you are referencing, and believe your observations to be Spot On.
Here is a 1963 episode of the Lucy Show with Lucille Ball and Mary Wickes, along with Vivian Vance, Mary Jane Croft and Hazel Pierce (Ball's stand-in for years).
With all of the women in a dance line, and all of the women wearing spike heels and standing very straight (Ball's heels are about 1" higher than those worn by Vance and Wickes), Ball is within an inch or so of 5'-10" Wickes and over 2" taller than 5'-6" Vance and 5'-5" Croft.
I still believe at her peak, Ball was between 5'-7" and 5'-7 1/2".
Ian said on 14/Dec/17
Just recently looked up one of Lucy's longtime friends Mary Wickes. Wickes was VERY tall for that time, about 5'10" which easily made her taller than a lot of the actors and actresses she starred with, including Three Stooges star Shemp Howard and all time great Bette Davis.
In the I Love Lucy episode "The Ballet", Lucy was shorter than Mary Wickes, but not by much. When Lucy stands up tall and straight she is only mere inches shorter than Wickes. Wickes would go on to be a guest on Lucy's later shows. In one episode with Mary Wickes in The Lucy Show, Lucy is standing up straight with no shoes on, you could tell that even with Wickes, she still looked tall, proving that she was still a tall actress for her era.
Various shots with Lucy's daughter Lucie Arnaz in Here's Lucy reveal Lucy is barely shorter. Joan Rivers, Ginger Rogers, Don Rickles, Sammy Davis Jr among many other well known stars in that era that were guests were short compared to Lucy. Only a select few people like 6'6" Clint Walker and Rock Hudson towered over Lucy, but they were already very tall men for their time.
Ian said on 31/Oct/17
5'7" was actually pretty tall for an actress in that day and time. After seeing a lot of Lucille Ball's films, tv shows and guest appearances there were only a few actresses taller than her. Esther Williams (5'8" 1/2) in Easy to Wed, Eve Arden (usually listed around 5'7" 1/2 to 5'8") in Stage Door, Bea Arthur in Mame (5'9" 1/2) and Mary Wickes in several guest appearances on Lucy's shows (5'10").
I'm not so sure about Maureen O'Hara. She was initially listed at 5'8" but was changed to 5'7" 1/2. Lucy did seem to look slightly taller than O'Hara in a couple scenes in Dance Girl Dance.
Jimmy6foot6 said on 29/Oct/17
In her tv shows Lucy has always looked fairly tall. At least 5'-7", but not taller than 5'-8". Compared to today's actresses, I would place her up around Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence and Debra Messing, who are all in the 5'-7 1/2" to 5'-8" range.
Ian said on 26/Oct/17
She definitely wasn't 5'2". Lucy towered over Judy Garland and Joan Rivers, and was taller than a lot of her female co-stars.
There is a 1986 broadcast where Joan Rivers was interviewing Lucy. Joan stood up and applauded Lucy as she made her appearance, and she was most notably a lot taller than Joan was.
Anonymous said on 7/Oct/17
5'2. Is that an estimate of her peak height - which has no basis or credibility? Or her end of life height, which has a bit more credibility.
5'2 said on 3/Oct/17
She is 5'5.75" or 167cm
Ian said on 1/Jul/17
That's correct richinkle.
Carol Burnett, another great comedienne, is often listed at 5 feet 6 inches. But in both her and Lucy's 1971 appearance on the Dick Cavett show, Lucy is easily taller. Lucie Arnaz is taller but not by a lot. Dick Cavett is pretty short (5'3" I believe), and Lucy easily towered over him.
The I Love Lucy crew even put in a taller cushion for Desi Arnaz after the early I Love Lucy episodes so it wouldn't look like Lucille was just as big as he was.
DeDe (Lucille's mother) was much shorter than her which makes me wonder how tall her father was, even though he died in the World War I era.
said on 19/Jun/17
Ian, I agree with many of your observations, and could have written the first two or your paragraphs myself.
In Stage Door (1937) and Without Love (1945), Ball looks at least an inch taller than Hepburn Click Here
. In "Dance, Girl, Dance", 1940, she looks to be 1/2" to an 1" taller than Maureen O'Hara Click Here
She's got about 3" on Ginger Rogers, Diana Ross and Dinah Shore, as you can see in these clips: Click Here Click Here
(around 45:00 and 50:00)
Ian said on 7/Jun/17
I have watched every I Love Lucy episode, seen a fair number of The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy episodes, watched guest appearances of Lucy on various TV shows and saw most of her early movies.
There seems to be a debate on how tall Lucy actually was. Lucie Arnaz confirmed her height of 5 feet 7 and a half inches on her website (old version) and she said she was that height in her autobiography when she was around 15 - 16 years old.
Though I've looked around on the internet and according to one source from the 1940s, it claimed Lucy was 5 feet 6 inches. This was also listed in the movie Lured and a FBI profile on her also states the same height. This couldn't be the case because Lucille Ball was consistently taller than Vivian Vance (who is 5 feet 6 inches) all throughout I Love Lucy. In some episodes I watched, Ethel was wearing heels and Lucy was still just as tall if not taller, in only flats. The episode with Van Johnson when they were both practicing reveals how tall Lucy truly was, even though Van was easily taller, he didn't quite tower over her as he probably would of with smaller actresses of that time period.
Lucy mentioned being 5 feet 7 inches tall in Easy to Wed. But her daughter Lucie Arnaz was taller, nearly 5 feet 9 inches tall (5 feet 8 3/4 inches according to her on the Dick Cavett show) and it's definitely noticeable when you go back and watch Here's Lucy. Lucy may of even been close to 5 feet 8 inches tall, because normally you round up to the nearest decimal (.5 - .9 becomes 1.0). Definitely taller than Ginger Rogers in Stage Door, may of been as tall if not taller than Katherine Hepburn although I don't know her height. In various shots with Maureen O'Hara Lucy looks to be the same height, including a photograph of them together in Washington D.C.
Lucy was definitely tall for the time period. There were a couple actresses like Ingrid Bergman who were indeed taller, but 5 feet 7 and a half inches wasn't too common especially considering that people in the early - mid 20th century were typically smaller. Nowadays I find it fairly common to see woman at that height and a little taller, so it isn't a big deal anymore. Lucy was definitely a fantastic actress and one of the best comediennes of all time, if not the best.
FactChecker101-Z said on 9/May/17
Lucille Ball's daughter, at 19 years old, stood 6'3" [tall: excellent posture; donning low-soled '70s boots]; doubt it; then watch on eg, youtube.com the trio-interview on the Dick Cavett Show, featuring, in order of their on stage "meet and greet" appearances: (1) Dick Cavett (approx. 5' 5 3/4", though sometimes claiming to be 5' 6 1/4"; (2) Lucie Arnaz 6' 3" [she candidly states her height: watch/listen to her dialogue with Cavett]; next up: (3) Carol Burnett, dons low heels; while Lucie, "self-conscious" as to her own height, and in accord with 60s'/70s' prevailing decorum (ladies remain seated when other ladies enter a room) does not rise up from her seat to greet her .... yet Burnett stands for several moments alongside Cavett, and it becomes clear that Burnett stands 5'7 1/2" to 5'8 1/2" [later on you see her ankles and shoes, as she crosses her legs, seated]; still later on, Lucy (Ball) makes a sweeping sort'a grand entrance, graciously decked out in some sort of multi-layered, formal evening outfit [mostly greens: geometric pattern, early 70s look c. 1971 interview date] .... significantly towering over Cavett, clearly 4" 1/4" to 5 1/2" taller than Burnett .... then takes her seat in a chair, to Cavett's left, with her own left flank (side) view on-camera ... head to toe ... revealing her (Ball) to be wearing .... flat-soled ballarina-style slip-on shoes .... a former NYC high-fashion model, Ball had been celebrated in that realm for her tall-tall slender body's terrific proportions and beautiful hands, and her assorted "ever-morphing looks"; over those years as fashion-model, her assorted looks ran from short-hair-bobs to long-flowing wavy or curled manes, marked by several all-out hair-color changes, only, marred sometimes by odd "too tweaked-(re)shaped-eyebrows".
Suffice it say, adduced from review of her modeling days' pictures posted online .... that her assorted "ever changing eyebrows" ran the gauntlet from 1920s Clara Bow to "tadpole" early 40s; from to little make-up to "toxic-overpainted features"; what remained (?) ..... a constant as to her appearance: Ball stood a towering 5' 11 1/4" tall, nearly a full 2 1/4" inches over the then ultra-ideal female model's height of 5" 9", but to her "vibrant colors advantage" ... whether at any one period running around as a "platinum blonde, medium-brunette or redhead", her fair complexion and light-turquoise-blue (slight green aspect) eyes and terrifically long-neckline helped Lucy project assorted "elegant looks".
While her daughter's height reached into the next-level, Amazonian realm, Luci's lack of her mother's (Ball's) natural fine-boned slenderness did not present itself (in Luci) .... a much more robust "solid" sort of body type .... with giant-sized height (for a gal).
said on 22/Mar/17
Lucille Ball appears to be nearly 2" taller than 5'-6"+ Carol Burnett in this mid'60's episode of the Lucy Show. She may have a little heal advantage here. I believe Ball in her prime was at least 1" taller than Burnett.
Sarah said on 16/Mar/17
Looks to be close to 5'7" in my opinion. Maybe closer to 5'6"
Later in life.
said on 18/Nov/15
In this photograph, and there are several online just like it, it is clear that Lucille Ball was at least 5'-7".
If Andy Griffith was 6'-0", and if Danny Thomas was even close to 5'-10 (IMDB says 5'-11"), and if Jack Benny was at least 5'-7" (IMDB says 5'-8") then Lucille Ball was easily 5'-7"+. In heels that are under 3", standing very straight up, she appears to be over 5'-10".
said on 18/Nov/15
In this picture, ifI Loretta Young (next to Lucille Ball) was 5'-6", and Marlene Deitrich was 5'-5",then Lucille Ball was easily over 5'-7".
richinkle said on 4/Aug/15
While we are discrediting that police ID…..Lucille Ball at 36 weighed well over 114 lbs!
richinkle said on 4/Aug/15
What police ID lies? A police ID that was a hastily produced prop for a movie.
That said, Lucille Ball played a very cool, intrepid and level headed detective in this Film Noir murder mystery. And throughout the movie, she looks well over 5'-6".
Babalu for a week said on 1/Aug/15
In the 1947 movie "LURED" at 1h:10m:19s her police ID states Height: 5' 6'' Weight: 8 stone 2 lbs. sic[114lb] Color of eyes: Blue Color of Hair: Red.
She was a HOT 36yo at the time! I'm watching the movie now, saw the ID, and went to this site. What police ID lies?
said on 15/Apr/15
In this link with Van Johnson (weak 6'-1"), Ball dances with Johnson in 1/4" flats, and looks about 6"shorter, and then dances with him in 3+" heels, and he only looks no more than 3" taller.
Ball was clearly 5'-7"+
Phil said on 14/Oct/14
Yeah, I think Lucy needs an upgrade, at. least 5'7".
richinkle said on 2/May/14
If you ever thought Lucille Ball was anything less than 5'-7", watch this rare bit of video from 1962, which shows a glamoured up Lucy in 2 1/2" to 3" heels next to Danny Thomas, Andy Griffith, Jack Benny and Gary Moore. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjTOywJZZBY
She towers over Gary Moore, is 2" taller than Jack Benny, about the same height as Danny Thomas and less than 2" shorter than Andy Griffith, who is listed at 6'-0".
NXR said on 14/Nov/13
Probably in the 5'7" range in her prime.
Hazel said on 27/Sep/13
Lucille is about 5'7. She was accused by the American government cuz they thought she was in support of communism but she wasn't so her 5'7 claim is right for her and she could have been a weak 5'7.
Tutie said on 22/Aug/13
How tall was Lucille Ball
eglė said on 14/Jul/13
she must have been 5ft 7.5 because people loose some inches in older age
said on 19/Nov/11
65 year old Lucille Ball starred with 39 year old Shirley MacLaine in a 1976 tv special, and stands at least an inch taller when the two are dancing side by side, in equal heels.
Ball often leaned on one foot when standing, taking an inch or two off her height. But when she danced she usually stood straight and tall, which is when you notice most clearly her height advantage.
Ball retained her 5'-7"+ height throughout her life. That said, I don't believe MacLaine ever topped 5'-6 1/2". MacLaine is probably under 5'-6" today.
richinkle said on 24/Aug/11
I have some stills from that episode.....indeed Lucy comes up just above his chin. With about a 1" shoe advantage, she is no more than 9" shorter than Clint Walker.
If he's 6'-6", that puts Lucy close to 5'-8". I believe Lucy's peak height is around 5'-7 1/2", as she stated in her autobiography, which was published posthumously.
Dee_Ann said on 24/Aug/11
Right now I am watching Episode #24 of Season 4, "Lucy and Clint Walker".
The giantly scrumptious Clint Walker who is known to be 6' 6" tall is standing next to Lucy a lot in this episode. Once I am finished recording it I will grab a few choice stills to share. Lucy, in heels (I assume to be about 2"), appears to come up to Mr. Walker's chin. Her hair is teased up but it's pretty easy to picture where the top of her head really is.
As to the previous episode with her in front of the police line up, I didn't think about the camera angle, that's a good point. I also wonder if they actually pasted it up correctly or just "slapped it up" with no regards to it being accurate or not.
richinkle said on 17/Aug/11
Thank you, Dee_Ann for those great stills! I think the angle provides a little distortion which makes the women look a little bit taller relative to the height chart beyond.
I think Ball, who was about 5'-7.5", appears closer to 5'-9.5" against this height chart, which leads me to believe that either the chart is about 2" short, or at least the angle is producing a result that looks about 2" short.
said on 14/Aug/11
I was wondering this myself (how tall is she?) and today I was watching The Lucy Show on Me TV and they showed Season 5, Episode 19 "Lucy Meets the Law".
Lucy was "pinched" by the police and put in a police line up.
Now the question is, were the marks on the wall accurate? Were they lowered for vanity sake? (Some of us wish we were taller) Or did someone just paste them up any old way, "Looks good to me!" ??
I took a few screen captures of it. The woman on Lucy's right looks pretty tall, I could see her being 6' or so.
I don't know. You be the judge..
said on 12/Jul/11
Below is a link to a scene with Lucille Ball and Maureen O'Hara in Dance Girl Dance. A terrific, darkly funny scene with a feminist twist. Lucille Ball, wearing 2 1/2" heels, stands several inches taller than most of the other women in bare feet, and about 3" taller than O'Hara, also barefoot.
richinkle said on 11/Jul/11
Sam, I completely agree with you. Lucille Ball, looking about as gorgeous as any actress ever, stands slightly taller than Maureen O'Hara in "Dance, Girl, Dance" (1940), who is reported on this site to be 5'-8".
And then, in both "Stage Door" and "Without Love", Ball looks at least an inch taller than Katharine Hepburn, who is shown at 5'-7 1/2".
Ball was probably about 5'-7 1/2" at her peak, not the 5'- 6 1/2" reported here. She wrote that her height was 5'-7 1/2" in her autobiography, which was confirmed by her daughter Lucie Arnaz in her "Ask Lucie" online column.
Sam said on 7/Jul/11
Its strange because she looks taller than actresses who are reportedly taller than her according to this site. Compared her to Katharine Hepburn in Stage Door and Maureen O'Hara in Dance, Girl, Dance
richinkle said on 1/Feb/11
Very interesting....I'd love to know which episode, and which role was played by your grandmother!
Regarding Ann Miller, we watched her get taller, and then watched her get shorter.... in "Stage Door", a great 1937 movie, which if you haven't seen, you absolutely must. In it, Ann Miller looks like she couldn't be more than 5'6", and is about the same height in high heels as Lucille Ball in flat shoes. But, then again, she was only about 14 years old, and probably hadn't finished growing.
Then, in "Too Many Girls", 1940, she had clearly grown at least an inch, if not more. She stood about the same height as Lucille Ball, or a little over 5'-7".
The last time I saw Ann Miller was in "Mulholland Drive", 1999, in which it looks like she was no taller than 5'4.
123456789 said on 30/Jan/11
my grandma was in an episode (cameo) of I love lucy she is about 5'4 and Lucille ball towered her. So i think she must of been around 5'8.
Shadow2 said on 18/Jan/11
Lucy looked tall alongside MGM co-stars 6'2" Red Skelton and 6'1" Van Johnson, so had to be close to 5'7.5" in her 30's. As we've discussed, she still seemed 5'7" in her early 60's on "Here's Lucy". Anne Miller is an interesting case, she could have easily been 5'8" earlier in her career, but unlike Lucy, lost height later on.
Shadow2 said on 2/Jan/11
richinkle, if Lucy was min 5'7" in 1950 (aged 39), with 3" heels, she would have been 5'10" in the "Fuller Brush Girl". If Eddie Albert was an inch taller, he would have been 5'11" (aged 44), which sounds right for the following reasoning.
Eddie did "Switch" in 1975 to 1978 (aged 69 to 72) with 5'11.5" Robert Wagner (who I've met and can therefore verify his height) and he was only marginally shorter than Wagner at the time, i.e. still a min. 5'10.5".
More proof by deduction that Lucy was TALL back in that era.
Shadow2 said on 25/Dec/10
richinkle, I think you are right about Stevens' height. One of my favorite Lucy movies is 1950's "Fuller Brush Girl", which is a comedy with a film noir twist. Lucy seems tall alongside co-star Eddie Albert, who would have been close to 5'11" at the time. Imagine, "Oliver Douglas" and "Lucy Carmichael/Carter" as a couple solving a murder mystery!
Shadow2 said on 12/Dec/10
Sorry, that last post ("Anonymous") was mine.
Anonymous said on 12/Dec/10
richinkle, it was remiss of me not to mention Lucy's important role in the go-ahead of "Star Trek" while she was running Desilu. With "Mission Impossible", Lucy herself said she did not fully understand the premise, but supported the talented people behind it.
I've never seen the movie "Lured", yet another film classic locked away from cable and DVD availability. George Sanders was a minimum 6'3", maybe 6'3.5", and I notice 6'6" Alan Napier is also listed in the cast as a detective. If Lucy still looks tall around these big men, it may well prove that she was then 5'7.5" at 36 years old.
Shadow2 said on 8/Dec/10
Lucy always looked tall for a woman without being imposing, whether with 5'8" Esther Williams at MGM in the 1940's, or with 5'9.5" Bea Arthur in "Mame". As CEO of Desilu in the mid 1960's, she gave the go-ahead to long running classic series "Mission Impossible" and "Mannix". She was the first woman studio head in Hollywood, quite an achievement. richinkle, Lucy would be very proud of your ongoing support for her career as a performer, executive, and much loved star.
Shadow2 said on 4/Dec/10
I've just seen a 1973 episode of "Here's Lucy", and agree Lucy was still close to 5'7" at 62 years of age. She's wearing very flat heeled shoes in several scenes with 6'3" Dick Sargent (No2 Darrin in "Bewitched"), 6' Al Lewis (6'1" earlier in his career), 5'10" Mary Wickes, 5'9" Gary Crosby, and 5'9" (plus heels) daughter Lucie Arnaz. With so many people of known height all around her, Lucy seems a tall woman for her age, with no heel advantage to assist her. She was a great star!
said on 30/May/09
(The Anonymous posting dating 23/Mar/09 was mine, so please feel free to attribute it to me. I inadvertently neglected to insert my name.)
Lucille Ball is about 1" to 1 1/2" taller than Carol Burnett when they have stood side by side, and danced together, on numerous occasions during the 60's and 70's when Ball was in her mid 50s to early 60s, and Burnett was in her 30s. Here is one scene from "Carol + 2", a 1967 tv special with Lucille Ball and Zero Mostel. Click Here
In this farewell, they are all standing and swaying and singing side by side (a little after the 6:00 mark). You can't see their footwear, but Carol is clearly wearing flats, and Ball heels, because Ball stands taller next to her than I've ever seen - nearly 4". Assuming Ball has about a 2" to 2 1/2" heel advantage over Burnett, that would make her a good 1"-1 1/2" taller. Zero Mostel looks about 5" taller than Burnett and 1" taller than Ball.
said on 23/Mar/09
I actually have that episode on dvd. I think she understated her height. Period. In her later years, in her autobiography, she stated her height as 5'-7 1/2". She's probably somewhere in between. I think on the taller end, though. She stands much taller next to 6'-0" + men than a 5'-6" woman. Closer to where a 5'-8" woman would stand.
Check out this video of her dancing with 6'-2" Van Johnson. Click Here
. she's got 3" + heels on, but is no more than 4 1/2" shorter - coming up just past his eyes. When she stands straight up - which she doesn't do much in her comedy, which requires her to be a little smaller - she is surprisingly tall. Watch for yourself. Ball is about as tall next to Johnson as 5'-8" Angela Lansbury in this publicity still from "State of the Union" Click Here
(Lansbury was wearing very high heels in this scene, and practically dwarfed Katherine Hepburn.)
Ball is at least an inch taller than Carol Burnett, Katherine Hepburn, Ann Miller, Vivian Vance and a number of other women listed as 5'-6 1/2" to 5'-7 1/2".
This site must take all sources into account, including the video evidence, of which there is ample for Lucille Ball showing her closer to 5'-8" than 5'-6" in her prime.
heyitsliz said on 27/Jan/09
On an episode of The Lucy Show, Lucy is in search of a new roommate (Carol Burnett). At the beginning of the episode, she reads a letter from Carol, and makes the statement, "Oh she sounds just perfect! If she's 5 foot 6 and a half." And Mooney asked her something to the tune of "Why should that matter," and she replied, "Well so we could wear each other's clothes!" Why would Lucy make up a height for herself for the episode, if it weren't true?
Dunno if that has any bearing on the conversation, but there's my addition. :-)
said on 27/Oct/08
Here is a video of Lucille Ball and Carol Burnet (5'-6 1/2") from a 1967 special. Click Here
55 year old Lucille Ball is clearly about an 1-1 1/2" taller than 32-year old Burnett. They both appear to be wearing similarly high heels.
I remember a Carol Burnet Show question and answer segment from the 1970's where she was asked her height. She responded "5'-7". This would make Ball 5'-8"+
In "Pete and Tillie", Walter Mathau asked Burnett her height, and she said "oh, about 5'6..5'7"
I think, in reality, Burnett at her peak was closer to 5'-6", and Ball was a little over 5'-7".
richinkle said on 5/Oct/08
I've seen this before as well, and still cannot reconcile this with my own observation ...(see my January, 22, 2007 entry). Note that her name is spelled "Lucile" which is incorrect. I'm not sure if she filled it out herself, or someone else did it for her. But, as I've noted before, like most tall women, especially during an era that favored shorter women, Lucille Ball likely UNDER-reported her height, in the same way nearly all men OVER-report their height.
said on 16/Sep/08Click Here
5'6.5" per her voter registration card in 1936 (age 25). She claimed a relative (uncle or grandfather?) forced her to register as a Communist.
richinkle said on 6/Jul/08
I totally agree. There is no way she was less than 5'-7" at her peak.
light said on 18/Jun/08
I very much believe she must have been well over 5' 7". I think this needs to be revised.
said on 19/Nov/07
I just saw the youtube of the "Three Little Pigskins", Click Here
the Three Stooges short film from 1934 that featured Lucille Ball. At the end of the reel, with Lucy standing straight up, she's nearly a full head taller than the rest of the cast.
CC-Tron said on 3/May/07
Sounds good to me.
said on 2/May/07
The link where Lucie Arnaz notes that her mother was 5'-7 1/2 is Click Here
This should be the last and best word on the subject.
richinkle said on 24/Jan/07
I'd love to see that short film, but it's kinda flimsy evidence for you height speculation. I've seen most of her tv and film work, and seen her next to dozens of tv and film stars with better-known heights, and she is clearly in excess of 5'-7".
CC-Tron said on 24/Jan/07
She seemed 4 inches taller than the Larry of the Three Stooges in the one short she did with them. Larry's was no taller than 5'3. However she was wearing heels also. I don't think she was any taller than 5'6 barefoot.
said on 22/Jan/07
In the 1960's, in her autobiography, Lucille Ball stated her height as 5'-7.5". Her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, in an "Ask Lucie" website, lists her mother's height as 5'-7.5". Click Here
I would not give more credibility to a 1930's Communist Party voter registration form that lists her height as 5'-6 1/2". The form has her name spelled wrong -"Lucile" - indicating that she did not even fill out the form herself. She also testified that she never voted Communist, and only registered as a Communist to please her Grandfather, who was a devout Socialist and champion of workers.
Like many tall women, especially an aspiring actress in the 1930's when being over 5'-7" was a distinct disadvantage, Lucy likely underreported her height. The tv and movie images of Lucille Ball clearly show a woman over 5'-7", who, if anything, tried to look shorter. You must revise your listing back up.
richinkle said on 13/Jul/06
I agree with you Walter completely. Not just about Lucille Ball's height, but also about Lucie Arnaz, whose height was indicated to be between 5'-9" and 5'-10" in a "Here's Lucy" episode with Donny Osmond. She's also a very talented, generous and big-hearted woman. She responds to her fans queries on her "Ask Lucie" website with extremely gracious, thorough and thoughtful answers. She also looks amazing for a woman pushing 55!
Walter said on 24/Jun/06
Lucie Arnaz height is between 5' 9" and 5' 9.5" .By no means she is shorter than 1,75 cm at all.Can you explain me what do we watch in the so many Here's Lucy episodes ????? They are partenered together, mother and daughter and Lucy is only one inche or one inche and a half shorther than her daughter.
Another thing.Why Lucie Arnaz states in her site that her mother height was 5' 7.5 " ????? With what intention Miss Arnaz would tell a lie about her mother height ? Lucie Arnaz is a very opened and hearty woman, she answers every questions her fans and her mother's fans make to her.What about the Lucy photos taken with Carol Burnett in 1966 and with Shirley MacLaine in 1976 ? Burnett and MacLaine height is 5' 7" and Lucy seems exactly like them with the difference she was more than 20 years older than Burnett and MacLaine.
Waiting for your asnwer.
Frank2 said on 2/Jun/06
You said it right there with: "I have to see things with my own eyes" Join the club. I've never believed what I've read or been told regarding heights of celebs since almost always when I would see these famous people in the flesh they'd never be the height I expected. Sometimes they really surprised me and were a lot taller. Other times they were shorter and a few times a lot shorter. Few were ever what their publicity claimed them to be. So I can understand your reluctance to accept what I've observed personal and up close.
Frank2 said on 1/Jun/06
Nonsense. She never leaned. I've seen just about all her films. I saw her in person many times and stood right next to her. She was 5'6" just as it's stated in one of her bios. Her mother and my grandmother would good friends and both were members of The Motion Picture Mother's Club, a group of women who were mothers to celebs. My recollections are clear to me. And that's good enough for me.
said on 1/Jun/06
Lucy had a great posture, terrific long legs, and beautiful broad shoulders. But she leaned a lot - especially when playing opposite shorter men. But when she was standing erect, she was a full 5'-7 1/2".
She states this in her autobiography and her daughter confirms it. Unlike Desi Arnaz, she had no pretensions or desire to be taller than she was, and no reason to exagerate her height. Nor did her daughter. In fact, it was a detriment to her - she is quoted in a magazine article as saying she thought she was too tall. Her "Lucy" persona was premised on having child-like tendencies, that worked better when she was shorter than her husband-father figure, Ricky.
I'm sorry I can't see a picture of Frank2 standing next to Lucille Ball. That just leaves us with his 20 to 40 year old recollections. That is not evidence to me. It's a vague impression.
These photos are more conclusive evidence:
Lucy with 5'-11 1/2" (6'-0" in his prime according to Frank) Robert Stack in a 1966 episode of "The Lucy Show". Throughout the episode she looks no more than 2-2 1/2" shorter while wearing about 2 1/2" to 3" heels.Click Here
Lucy with 6'-1 1/2" Victor Mature in 1947 film "Easy Living". In heels she looked no more than 4" shorter.Click HereClick Here
Lucy with 6'-1 1/2" Victor Mature in 1942 film "Seven Days Leave". In heels, she is no more than 4" shorter.Click HereClick Here
Lucy with 5'-10" Eleanor Roosevelt at 1944 White House event. The angle is misleading and makes her look almost the same height.Click Here
Lucy to Eleanor Roosevelt's left, looking about 2 1/2" shorter. This photo is a little more instructive, but not as clear. On Roosevelt's right is 5'-1/2" Mary Pickford. To the other side of Lucy is 5'-7" Maria Montez. (Kneeling in front of Roosevelt and Ball are Red Skelton and John Garfield.) I wish I knew who the others were. It's a great photo, but terribly small in resolution.Click Here
Lucy looking every bit as tall as 5'-7" Shirley MacLaine in 1976 tv special. Lucy is about 65 years old, MacLaine is around 40. Click Here
Lucy with 5'-4 1/2" Ginger Rogers, 5'-8" Eve Arden and 5'-7" Katherine Hepburn (or was she a little shorter?) Lucy, Ginger and Kate are all wearing 3" heels, Eve is wearing about 1 1/2" heels. Lucy looks at least an inch taller than Eve and Katherine, and about 3" taller than Ginger.Click HereClick HereClick Here
I've got dozens more examples of Lucy standing next to celebrities - she featured dozens of them on her show. She costarred with dozens of them in her movies. I have most of them in my video archive. They give us living images, and evidence, of Lucy looking her stated height of 5'-7 1/2". This is particularly evident in the full-body shots, which are more compelling than the shots that just show the upper half of the people, which may have been adjusted.
Lucy probably shrunk about an inch or so by the time of her death - to around 5'-6 ish. But in her prime, she was over 5'-7".
If necessary, over time, I'll post more images to prove it.
said on 11/May/06
I am not convinced that in their shrinking years, Jack Benny and Bob Hope did not wear a bit of a lift. I know in "Facts of Life", 1960, Lucy wore flats in many scenes to look shorter than Bob Hope. She did this REGULARLY. She did not want to appear taller than her leading man - ever. It may have been a generational thing, or a female submissive thing. I kid you not. She was a bossy woman who liked when men took charge. But she was extremely smart and knew the business backwards and forwards, and few men could pull it off. She alienated many of her directors this way. (Perhaps your father has some stories, Frank...) That is why she preferred playing beside taller men, where she could wear high heels and stand up straight.
I have a tv special on video from the 60's where Bob Hope and Lucy come out, looking roughly the same height, and after a few seconds she appears to step out of her shoes and loses 3" in height. It's very strange. I wish I could watch it with you, Frank.
I sent Rob some excellent photos. They are not posted on line though. Hopefully Rob could post a few, or let me know how I could do it myself. I have many, many, many more. The ones I sent show Lucy with George Murphy, Barry Nelson, Edmond O'Brien, Lloyd Nolan, Lee Bowman, and Desi Arnaz. She's leaning significantly, and still looks nearly the same height as George Murphy, who Frank has acknowledged is 5'-10".
Sadly, I can't open the image with Dean Martin, maybe when I get home. It had better show footwear, because we know he wore lifts. The image with Victor Mature, from "Easy Living", 1948, is not convincing. I have the movie, and in no scene does she look that much shorter than Mature. It's possible she's taken off her shoes for that one. I'll send Rob some different images with Ball and Mature that show feet from "Seven Days Leave", 1942. Hopefully he'll post them, or tell me how I can do it myself.[Editor Rob: this link
you can use www.imageshack.us to upload any picture and get a link, pretty easy]
Frank2 said on 11/May/06
None of whatever you show me explains just one fact. I met her. I even knew her to some extent since my grandmother was good friends with her mother and Lucy was 5'6". That or I've been kidding myself all along and I've been six feet tall. I keep running into people who claim they're 5'11" who are much shorter than me and when I tell them I'm only 5'11" they usually balk saying that can't be true, that I have to be taller. Well, I just measured myself and I got 5'11" so I suspect most folks are just plain full of it when it comes to their height. Lucille Ball at 5'6" was relatively tall. Most actresses back then were under 5'4". Many were just over 5' tall. When Lucy wore high heels she was around 5'9" which is why she towered over many people. That's why Desi wore lifts. He was only 5'9".
Look. I'm finished with this thread. I've said and posted far too much already. I know what I know and that's good enough for me. You go with what you wish to believe. After all, showbiz is mostly make believe anyway.
said on 11/May/06
Here's Lucy looking about seven inches shorter than 6'1.5" Victor Mature: Click Here
Lucy with 5'10" Dean Martin (I'm now wondering if he was even that tall): Click Here
Lucy's 1965 white Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III "Chinese eyes" convertable: Click Here
She bought it used from Debbie Reynolds.
By the time of this photo taken in the early 1970's, Jack Benny had lost a couple of inches down from his original 5'7" frame and Hope was no more than about 5'8": Click Here
I'm sure Lucy was wearing high heels in the photo seeing that she's all dressed up. Later, Hope would shrink to about 5'6".
richinkle said on 10/May/06
I'm sending Rob a couple more images of Lucille Ball looking her full 5'-7 1/2". One image from 1940, on the set of "A Girl, A Guy and A Gob", shows actor Edmond O'Brien, Lucille Ball looking 5'-10 1/2" in heels next to George Murphy, who was a close family friend of Frank's, and whom he confirms absolutely was 5'-10" (5'-11" in shoes).
This second photo shows Lucy visiting Desi on the set of "Bataan" (1944). From left to right: Barry Nelson (6'-0", according to Frank), Lee Bowman gaining some height advantage by stepping on a hose, Lloyd Nolan (5'-8" to 5'-9" according to Frank - perhaps 5'-8 1/2"?), Lucille Ball in 3" heels but leaning on her front foot which is turned on its side, losing at least 1" of that heel advantage, George Murphy (5'-10"), and Desi Arnaz looking nearly as tall as George Murphy in a smaller heeled boot (same boot as Barry Nelson and Lee Bowman). This photo is extremely instructive to me. It shows Lucille Ball almost the same height as 5'-10" George Murphy, and just 2 1/2"-3" shorter than 6'-0" Barry Nelson, and proves absolutely that Lucille Ball is 5'-7 1/2", and that Desi Arnaz is probably closer to 5'-10" (and his official Army record) than Frank would like to believe. I would give Desi Arnaz 5'-9 1/2", Rob. I think you're right on target with that one. Perhaps the Army doesn't accept 1/2" increments, similar to Driver's licenses, and simply rounds up.
Frank, I really would've guessed Dick Martin was at least 6'-0" tall. Did you see him late in his life, or at his peak of height. If you were the same height at his peak, is it possible that you are not, in fact, slightly taller than 5'-11". Don't accept your doctor's record. I was measured at 5'-11 1/4" by the nurse practitioner, which completely rattled my cage. I went home, pulled out my steel angle, tape measure and pencil, and was relieved that I was, in fact, just over 6', as I suspected (6' -1/2" when I wake up, 6'-0" when I go to bed).
said on 10/May/06
Frank, why is your picture more accurate when it's smaller and doesn't show feet? It was the same scene as mine, except you can see Lucy is leaning in it. Again, I invite your readers to rent the movie and see for yourself - "Fuller Brush Girl". It's a very funny, lively and entertaining movie, and has some great pre-Lucy schtick.
In "Mame", Lucille Ball thought Robert Preston was too short to play opposite her, so she insisted he wear lifts - according to her biography by Kathleen Brady, probably the best book out there about Lucille Ball. See my March 18, 2006 entry under Desi Arnaz's listing.
Here's Lucille Ball with another 5'10" celebrity - Johnny Carson (or was he 5'-10 1/2"?) - who was NOT wearing lifts.Click Here
said on 10/May/06
Lucy next to 6'1" Red Skelton as well as others including 5'6" John Garfield and 5'10" Eleanor Roosevelt: Click Here
Lucy and 5'10" Robert Preston: Click Here
Lucy, Red Skelton and 5'7" Gene Kelly: Click Here
Dashboard of Lucy's 1971 Stutz Blackhawk: Click Here
said on 10/May/06
Here's a small, more accurate photo from that film: Click Here
Did you ever watch the dreadful film, Forever Darling? In it Lucy is several inches shorter than 5'11" James Mason and I'm talking about where she's wearing high heels. Mason is two inches taller than Desi and Desi is wearing lifts.
Lucy in high heels next to Desi: Click Here
Lucy next to 5'11" Dick Martin who I've met and is exactly my height: Click Here
richinkle said on 10/May/06
The images to the right are of Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert. I intended to note that in the movie "Fuller Brush Girl", 1950, Lucille Ball in heels stood about 1" to 1 1/2" shorter than 5'-11" (according to Frank) Eddie Albert in shoes. Therefore, in heels, Lucille Ball was about 5'-10 1/2", or 5'-7 1/2" in stocking feet. (I probably pressed the "clear form" button by mistake.)
Frank2 said on 10/May/06
I fail to see what the photos prove. The far left shot is obviously tilted making both Desi and Lucy look taller. On the two right photos, Lucy doesn't look that much taller than Eddie Canter. I take it that's Canter. And in those two blurred photos, Lucy is wearing heels.
said on 10/May/06Click Here
richinkle wanted to show that.
Frank2 said on 10/May/06
I think you're just as obsessive in pushing that Lucy was at least 5'7". I met her many times and unless I'm taller than I think I am, she was at least five inches shorter than me when she was wearing flat shoes. With heels she was still at least three inches shorter. One problem as I see it is that when I'm measured I stand somewhat relaxed and don't strain to gain as much height whereas most people do exactly the opposite which is to make themselves as tall as possible. I suppose If I did that I could claim I'm 6'. But that's not the way a doctor is supposed to accurately measure someone. But in reality I just think most folks lie about how tall they are. This is especially true with celebs, male as well as female.
richinkle said on 9/May/06
Frank, I'm just using your own observations as a reference. According to you, by 1960, Bob Hope and your father both stood about exactly the same height - 5'-9 1/2". I would've thought Hope was about 5'-10", but you have pictures with him and your father, and I'll take your word for it.
As for your obsessive insistence that Lucille Ball was only 5'-6", despite all MY evidence that she was at least 5'-7".....
* No 3" difference in that pic with Lucy and Desi. 2" max, and she's wearing slippers, he's wearing shoes. I've seen WAY too many images of Lucy and Desi side by side where you can see their feet to convince me that they are less than 2" apart in height.
* Lucy looks no more than 5" shorter than Richard Denning, but it's a strange angle, so can't really tell.
* The Cyd Charrisse shot with Lucy, Gene Kelly and company is fascinating. Doesn't show shoes (and by your own account, Cyd Charrisse wore very high heels) or posture. There appears to be some leaning. I can only conclude that they are CLOSE in height.
* The Eddie Cantor picture is bizarre. The image is so small, and she's holding her head back so far you can barely tell it's her (I had to read the caption to find out which one was Lucy). I am enclosing a much clearer image of Lucy and Eddie Cantor where, likely in heels, she hovers about 3 1/2" to 4" above him. I hope Rob will kindly display it :-) Now explain that one. I can hardly wait. ;-)
said on 9/May/06
Heres' an early shot of Lucy next to Eddie Canter: Click Here
Eddie was short, no more than 5'7", possibly even 5'6". Lucy is obviously wearing high heels and is no more more than about two inches taller. Now explain that one. I can hardly wait.
Here's Lucy behind 5'6" Cyd Charisse who I met on the set of The Fall Guy back in 1982: Click Here
Lucy doesn't look any taller. By the time of this photo, Gene Kelly had lost about an inch and was 5'6".
Lucy probably wearing flats next to 6' tall Richard Denning: Click Here
She's obviously not over 5'6".
Here she is with husband Desi: Click Here
Desi isn't wearing lifts and he's taller by at least three inches. Desi was no more than 5'9" which is why he usually wore lifts.
said on 9/May/06
Here's Arnold, Nixon and an even shorter Hope: Click Here
said on 9/May/06
Here's Hope obviously shorter than 5'10" Richard Nixon who by the time of this photo had lost some height as well: Click Here
Frank2 said on 9/May/06
Nope. The photo taken of my dad with Hope on his thread was shot circa 1950 when Hope was 5'10". My father directed Hope in those commercials more than ten years later. By 1960 Hope was no taller than 5'9". You admitted you saw a three inch difference in the shot of Ball and Hope dressed as Santa shot around 1960 so she was 5'6".
said on 9/May/06
As you can see from this shot, Hope was no longer 5'10" by 1958: Click Here
Rhonda Fleming was 5'6" and in heels was about 5'9". She's as tall as Hope. And look how much taller Jimmy Stewart is. The man mostly blocked behind Jack Benny is Danny Kaye. And for those who keep insisting that Marilyn Monroe was only a half an inch shorter than Fleming, take a good look at Fleming in this shot as well as in all of her many films. Marilyn was never that tall.
richinkle said on 9/May/06
The incredible shrinking Hope. Frank, you indicated he was 5'-10" in the picture taken just 5 years earlier. Five years later, you think he's "no more than 5'-9". In the Hope forum, you say "My father even directed Hope in some TV commercials he did to promote some vitamins. That was around 1960. At the time they shot it at a neighbor's home. My father was about 5'9 1/2" so you can see that when the photo was taken which was about 1950, Hope was a little taller. But I have other photos where they appear to be the exact, same height...". So, according to you, Hope was about 5'-9 1/2" in 1960. Ball was about 2 1/2" shorter, or about 5'-7". I still believe at her peak she was closer to 5'-7 1/2". In her films and tv shows, she often towers over her female costars....in a more-than-5'-6" way. She's at least an inch taller than Ann Miller, Katharine Hepburn, Carol Burnett, and Vivian Vance, all of whom claim to be 5'-7".
richinkle said on 8/May/06
That anonymous quote was mine....sorry for the confusion.
Frank2 said on 8/May/06
By the time of the photo with Hope he was no more than 5'9" so if she was as you admit about three inches shorter then she was 5'6". I saw Hope over the years almost once a year and could see how he shrank. My dad directed him in a TV commercial and by then Hope was slightly shorter than my just under 5'10" father. Somewhere I have a photo of them taken at that time which was around 1961. In earlier photos, Hope was slightly taller. By the late 1960's Hope had lost at least a couple of inches. There's a shot of Hope and Ball taken in the late 1970's where Ball almost is his height. But no matter what photos I publish on this website there will be people who will disregard them and go with what they believe to be true.
Anonymous said on 8/May/06
Congratulations, Frank. That Santa Claus photo is a great image, and is actually very helpful in determining relative height. It was probably around 1960 (when "Facts of Life" was being promoted). It shows feet, shows stance. Ball is leaning slightly, and Hope is standing perfectly erect. By my reckoning, Hope is about 3" taller. If you account for Lucy's leaning, he's about 2 1/2" taller. Hope = 5'-9 1/2" to 5'-10", Lucy 5'-7" to 5'-7 1/2". The other two images are interesting, and I love looking at them, but don't really add to the height debate. In the more recent one, you can't even tell if Lucy is standing.
I saw Lucille Ball in Feb, 1988. She was standing straight, and walking without difficulty, and looking lean, tall and elegant. In May of that year, she had a stroke and was partially paralyzed. That's probably when you saw her. Probably not standing very straight, by the sound of it. Hard to base a height estimate under those circumstances. However, she did present at the Academy Awards in March, 1989 with Bob Hope. She had recovered her walking skills somewhat, and was wearing a long gown with a long slit to show off her still-shapely legs. She was also taller than Hope in her heels. I have an image somewhere that I'll send to Rob.
PS - the Teddy Bear is not wearing lifts, but he is being lifted ;-)
said on 8/May/06
Maybe the Teddy Bear is wearing lifts: Click Here[Editor Rob: sheesh, talk about a 'grin and bear it' photo op ;-)]
said on 8/May/06
Another "carefully staged" shot: Click Here
said on 8/May/06
Well, this photo isn't carefully staged: Click Here
Both Bob Hope and Lucty are wearing the same kind of boots with similar heels. And by the time of this photo Hope was no longer 5'10".
Frank2 said on 8/May/06
And when I saw her late in her life she wasn't 5'7". More like 5'5". She was walking in slow steps and was being helped along by her husband Gary Morton who she was holding onto or otherwise she'd had most likely fallen. That was only a year or so before she died.
richinkle said on 7/May/06
That is a carefully staged still from a scene in which Lucy was playing a boy selling "red hots" at a baseball game. She is posed to look much shorter. If she had been standing straight, on the same level as Bob Hope, she would have been much taller. Frank's in the business, and he knows this. He knows that crates are carefully used to stage images as well. It's a convenient fact that he uses to make his point, but forgets when it doesn't suit his argument. The only certifiable evidence are images that show feet and heels. Not staged stills, not "a biography I read", and not someone's 40 year old recollections. If Lucille Ball is 5'-6", then Katharine Hepburn, Carole Burnett, Vivian Vance, Maureen O'Hara and Ann Miller were no taller than 5'-5". Watch the movies for yourself, don't go by questionable recollections and cherry-picked images.
And, by the way, I saw Lucille Ball in person too. It was right before she died. I was a grad student at Harvard and she was named the "Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year". I waited at the back door for her to emerge along with a small crowd of about 10 people. She stood right next to me for about 20 seconds while people around me told her how much they loved her. She appeared to be about 5'-6 1/2" to 5'-7". She was also 76 years old and had probably shrunk about a inch. I was actually surprised by how tall she looked. But, to be honest, while I believe myself a good judge of height, I don't think my observation is proof of anything, since it's easy to be off by an inch or so in these matters.
said on 7/May/06
Here's 5'9" Desi (without lifts), 5'6" Lucy and 5'10" Bob Hope: Click Here
As you can clearly see, Lucy whose obviously wearing flats is nowhere near being close to 5'8". Had she been that tall she'd have been almost as tall as Desi and just a little more than a couple of inches shorter than Hope. Unlike Desi, Hope never wore lifts.
I'm telling you, I met her numerous times and she was exactly 5'6" which was most certainly tall for a female celebrity to be back in theose days. Wearing three inch heels she was close to 5'9". Back then many leading men were barley 5'10".[Editor Rob: you know, the more I've been looking at these two against other folk the more I think they could be shorter...]
Frank2 said on 5/May/06
Turner Classic Movies ran two Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz films tonight. The Long, Long Trailer and Forever Darling. In both films Desi wore huge lifts. In Forever Darling, Lucy was at least four inches shorter than 5'11" James Mason. In those scenes she was wearing at least three inch high heels. When Desi was in a full shot with Mason he was about two inches shorter and that's with his lifts. So this proves to me that Desi was no more than 5'9" and Lucy was no more than 5'6". Forget that I saw them both in person. Just go by their films.
[Editor Rob: actually I've seen 5ft 6 listing for her in the past. Maybe they were right!]
richinkle said on 1/Apr/06
ps..Burnett was in her 30's, and Lucy around 60 years old at the time of this photo.
said on 1/Apr/06
Here's a photo of Lucy looking over an inch taller than Carole Burnett, who was 5'-6" to 5'-7" in her prime. Click Here
richinkle said on 28/Mar/06
Here is a photo showing 64 year old Lucille Ball looking every bit as tall as 41 year old Shirley MacLaine, who is estimated by Frank2 to be 5'-7" in her prime.
richinkle said on 19/Mar/06
Lucille Ball was originally a brunette.
Matheson, who was 19 in the summer of 1967 when Yours, Mine and Ours was filmed, appeared to be the same height as Fonda, at 6'-1". (Matheson ended up marrying his costar in the movie, Jennifer Leak, who played Lucy's daughter Colleen, his step-sister in the movie. They divorced after 3 years.)
But, even in 3/8" house shoes, Lucy never looks more than 6" shorter than Fonda or Matheson in 1" shoes or sneakers. Perhaps we need an independent arbitrator to estimate the difference in height. Someone care to watch the movie and give their estimation of the height difference? It's an excellent flick.
Tiger said on 19/Mar/06
Rob: speaking of Henry Fonda. He is one of the all-time greats and of that golden group like Wayne, Heston, Peck, Stewart, etc. Are you going to add him to the site? He would be a great one to add. He sort of completes that heavyweight group that dominated for so many years, from the 30s/40s on. Everything that I have researched (web or written) says 6-1 1/2.
Frank2 said on 19/Mar/06
Lucy's red hair was not her own color, that's correct. Lloyd Nolan was 5'8" and sometimes wore lifts. He was shorter than Tyrone Power in Johnny Appolo by at least two inches and Ty was supposedly 5'10". And Ty never wore lifts except in his costume pictures.
Frank2 said on 19/Mar/06
The scene where she's given too much to drink is still hilarious. Did you notice that a still teenage Tim Matheson was already as tall or taller than Henry Fonda?
I noticed that in close up's, Lucy looks taller than in the long shots. In the widest shots such as when she's standing next to Fonda and especially Matheson and Van Johnson she looks to be at least 7 inches shorter.
You still haven't answered why with his lifts on that Desi was the same height as 5'10" Richard Widmark. If he was even 5'10" he'd have looked taller. No, I'm sticking with 5'9" max and no more. No way was he any taller. If anything he could have even been shorter. Those lifts looked like they boosted him by at least two and a half inches. Watch him in Bataan and see how short he is next to 5'10" Robert Taylor. In that film he doesn't even look like he's 5'9". And in that film he doesn't appear to be wearing lifts.
larry said on 18/Mar/06
richinkle & frank2 - Speaking of Lucille Ball: a special about her (DON'T recall the channel) said her original hair color was blond, not the famous red. Ever hear that? SOOO, Lucy was 5'6" to 5'7". :-) Sounds good to me.
I watched BATAAN the other day on TCM (AMC started showing commercials!) and Desi did look Llotd Nolan's height. There were rumors at one time that Robert Taylor was actually short. He always looked ~ 5'10" to me.
richinkle said on 18/Mar/06
Frank, I love that you were watching Yours, Mine and Ours. I think it's one of Lucy's best - if not her absolute best - movie. It was filmed in 1967, around the time of Lucy's 56th birthday). I've just popped in my copy. My perceptions are very slightly different from yours, which underscores the tricky "science" of height estimation.
It's especially tricky in this movie because Lucy's hair is so big - you don't know what's head and what's just hair. (I'm not sure if she wore a wig in this film - she did on most episodes of her later shows to hide the surgical tape she used to smooth out her lines. Because her skin bruised very easily, she never had cosmetic surgery, according to her biographies.) I just assume her eyes are in the center of her head, and estimate accordingly.
In the scenes where she wears her highest heels (2 1/2" - 3") she comes to just above Henry Fonda's eye brow - which at least on my head is about 4" from the top, and I'm similar height and proportions to Fonda. Assuming Fonda is 6'-1", plus 1" for shoes, that puts Lucy somewhere between 5'-7 and 5'-7 1/2", about right for her at that age. Those scenes include their first date, her first visit to meet his family and the wedding. Even in the scenes where she is wearing 3/8" (+/-) house slippers, she comes up to about his nose, which on my head is about 6" from the top. Those scenes include their first night in their new (old) house and Christmas morning). In the long shot scenes, where her shoes are between 1 1/2" to 2" heels, she consistently comes up to his eye level - within 5" of the top of Fonda's 6'-1" + 1" shoes head. (I think you're subtracting too much for her hair).
Frank, please don't take it personally that I am skeptical of your 30 or 40 year old estimates of Lucy's or Desi's or anyone else's exact height. I am seeing the same things as you, and reaching a different conclusion. But, I don't know how you can walk away from that movie, knowing the heights of Fonda and Van Johnson, and observing her clearly tall stature, thinking Lucille Ball is at all under 5'-7".
Frank2 said on 17/Mar/06
I had an aunt who looked like Harpo Marx. But unlike Harpo, my aunt never stopped talking!
larry said on 17/Mar/06
I have an Aunt that looked a lot like Lucille Ball! In fact I thought she WAS Lucy when I was about 5! :-) Don't know about the actual height of either her OR Desi, but I did do army induction physicals in San Antonio, Texas during the Vietnam "ho-down" (as I've boringly mentioned before). The height that went down on the IPEF (inductee physical examination form) was the height you were measured at (in this case, for several months - by yours truly). We kept meticulous records, because that's what the US army does: EVERYTHING gets recorded. A couple of (relatively) big time athletes passed through our cheerful halls at Fort Sam Houston while I was there and one 5'10" baseball player THOUGHT he was 6 foot (even, as he put it). But my sergeant always said; "ACCURATE PRIVATE! YOU WRITE DOWN WHAT THE DAMN STADIOMETER SAYS, YOU DUMB JACKASS!" So, 5'10" went on the form. I'm not sure how a guy in his privys would bribe you, but I knew about the penalty for upsetting Sergeant Williamson! :-) Could a military examination be fudged? Theoretically, but quite a few "grunts" would know and "We Grunts" loved to talk! Elvis Pressley was evidently measured at 6'0.5" (not the 6'2" he was stated to have been) and 6'0.5" was what went in his record (at least according to several folks on this site).
These PARTICULAR cases I don't know about, but I never heard of the US army taking anyone's word for anything. Are mistakes possible? Of course, but always up and by as much as 2-3"? Maybe, but not on my watch. I can see being off by a cm, but after a couple of months of measuring guys, I could accurately judge standing height to within +/- 1 cm.
Now, having watched the I LOVE LUCY show many times, Lucy always looked about 5'7-7.5" to me and Desi seemed to be about 5'9-9.5". But then I don't recall them showing footware. Wasn't William Frawley shorter than Lucy? Comparing them with famous co-stars, that seems about right. Gee: Lucy was 6'!? :-) Then my fibbing daughter is ACTUALLY 6'4.5 - 6'5"! Funny, when I've been in LA the folks there didn't LOOK shorter than the ones in Austin, Texas. In fact, on average, they seemed a bit taller. Is everyone in LA wearing elevator shoes!? How sneaky is that? (just pulling your legs, folks).
Frank said on 17/Mar/06
I'm watching Lucy with 6'1" Henry Fonda in Yours Mine and Ours and Lucy standing next to Fonda in long shots while wearing nurses shoes with approx. two inch heels looks to be about seven inches shorter. She barely comes up to Fonda's nose if you subtract all her hair. When she's wearing heels and they place her in close up's she's about five inches shorter. She comes up to his eye level. Next to 6'2" Van Johnson she really looks short.
said on 16/Mar/06
So when I say I saw her and Desi in the flesh on several occasions it means nothing? Hmmmmmmm......Maybe I should just give up. Hell! I lied all along. Lucy was an Amazon! About six feet tall barefoot! Desi was 6'3" and Bill Frawley was 5'10". Oh, and Billy Barty...he wasn't a little person. Barty was actually 5'8". Here's a photo to prove it: Click Here
And remember little Topo Gigo who appeared with Senõr Wencez on the Ed Sullivan Show? Well, Topo was actually a giant of a mouse! Didn't you notice he was taller than Ed Sullivan?
richinkle said on 16/Mar/06
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, Rob was nice enough to post them, but 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.
said on 15/Mar/06
Here's Lucy with 5'10" Richard Burton and 5'2" Elizabeth Taylor: Click Here
Lucy with 5'10" Bob Hope: Click Here
Frank2 said on 14/Mar/06
Oh what's the use. You people believe what you want. Desi was six feet and Lucy was almost five ten. No Hollywood male star was under five ten. There! Happy?
richinkle said on 14/Mar/06
Frank, while I don't believe a word the President says, I do believe certain government records - particularly the height on a military discharge certificate. If Desi was going to pay to change the record on his height, why choose 5'-10", when his Certificate of Naturalization, which is dated two years earlier, shows 5'-11"? Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. Or, the Army actually does a physical when you're inducted and keeps records of it for when you're discharged. Whereas, a naturalization form or a passport uses an estimated height, or takes the applicant's word for it.
Lucy, I believe, downplayed her height. She may have worn heels when she got dressed up, but she usually wore flats on her shows. She also seldom stood up straight or flaunted her height. She often slouched and hunched and leaned and made herself seem smaller and more child-like. It was part of her character and her comedy.
Paul said on 13/Mar/06
Frank2, I've enjoyed reading your various posts and think there is merit to some of what you say, but to be honest, I question some of your statements. When you say (rather emphatically) to believe you but not government records or other reliable sources, that's a bit hard to swallow. Some of these heights you cite are based on other people's recollections from 40, 50, even 60 years ago. Not the best evidence IMHO.
Please don't take this as a personal attack. It's not. I just think there's room for the possibility that maybe all these sources that say Desi was 5'10" (or Dino was close to 6 foot) might actually have some validity. In the end, does it really matter if Dino was 5'11" or 6'0" or even 5'10" as you claim? Bottom line is that he was a great entertainer who will be remembered for his talents more than his height.
Frank2 said on 13/Mar/06
Desi was not 5'11 1/2" nor 5'11" nor 5'10". He was shorter. I'd put him at around 5'9" max and that was when he was young. He wore lifts on I Love Lucy. And Lucy did wear flats, but each time she was dressed up she wore heels. And stop believing the damned government records! They have Robert Taylor at 6'. He was 5'10". They have Ty Power at 6'. He was 5'10". The police claimed Michael Jackson was 5'11"! It's all nonsense. Money goes into one's hand and then the records are changed. Look, unlike most of you I've actully seen many of these people, talked with them, even gotten to know them on a first-name bases. Lucy was about 5'6", Desi was 5'9". Billy Barty was 3' tall! Or perhaps he was 6'5" and tried to hide it!
richinkle said on 13/Mar/06
I've seen bio data that has put her height anywhere from 5'-6" to 5'-9" ("Ball of Fire" the latest book out about her, puts her at the taller height.) Her autobiography puts her right in the middle at 5'-7 1/2", a height her daughter confirms.
I have watched every I Love Lucy episode dozens of times - and she only occasionally wore high heels on the show. Usually she wore no-heel house slippers. (She had a foot condition that made heels painful, and wore them only when she had to.) In early episodes when she wore high heels she stood the same height as Desi Arnaz. Barefoot, there appeared to be no more than 2" difference between them. After the first season or so, he began to wear lifts to maintain a greater difference in height.
According to his US Army discharge papers, Desi stood 5'-10". I imagine his induction probably included a physical, and that this was his measured height. His Certificate of Naturalization puts him at 5'-11", and his passport and daughter state his height at 5'-11 1/2". (Copies of these documents are part of a Lucy-Desi scrapbook you can buy at any book-store). If Desi if 5'-10", Lucy is clearly taller than 5'-7". She's also clearly taller than Katherine Hepburn and Carole Burnett, both of whom claimed to be 5'-7".
[Editor Rob: Arnaz was listed 5ft 10 in the army?
I think Frank2 mentioned he was this height aswell...]
Frank2 said on 9/Mar/06
Oh, I first time I saw and met with her was back in the mid-1960's when she attended a party thrown by the Motion Picture Mother's Club of which her mom and my grandmother were members. In a bio I read on Lucy it clearly stated she was 5'6". She almost always wore high heels on camera, mostly three-inch so being 5'9" was quite tall for her day, tall-enough to force Desi to wear lifts. And if anyone can't spot his obvious elevators on I Love Lucy, they do need glasses! The last time I saw Lucy was when she visited her husband Gary Morton at Fox Studios. That was about a year before she died. By then she had lost about an inch. In person she had a deeper voice than most men do! I think only Suzanne Pleshette has a deeper one.
[Editor Rob: Lucie Arnaz has said Desi was 5ft 11.5...]
richinkle said on 8/Mar/06
How late in her life did you see her as exactly 5'-6"? I suspect she shrunk to that height by the time of her death.
Frank2 said on 6/Mar/06
"Big Red" as Desi used to call her was exactly 5'6". I saw her many times. Desi was 5'9" and always wore hug lifts on I Love Lucy.
Rick Hinkle said on 16/Aug/05
I just saw a website that Lucie Arnaz has called "Ask Lucie", where she confirms her mother's 5'-7 1/2" height. http://www.luciearnaz.com/Set4.html