In the ranking of old-timey TV families, it’s hard to put any one fam higher than the Ricardos. Lucy, Ricky and Little Ricky are staples in our minds to this day (anyone can close their eyes and see the trio), which is why we stopped in our tracks when we saw “Little Ricky” from I Love Lucy all grown up. For some reason, pics of stars we last heard of as kids is at once rewarding, fascinating and totally bizarre. They’re big like us, but should have somehow remained small, defying the laws of time and physics and life in general. The twins who played Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’ s TV son are 64 now! What we’d give for a stroll through those memory banks!
The Little Rickys are now Big Rickys, and it’s kind of a lot to handle. Click through a slideshow of then and now photos here.
The search for Little Ricky began after Lucy was seen pregnant in real life on episodes of the show. Lucy and Ricky preferred not to use their own son in the role on TV, so the search began, and ultimately ended, for 15-month-old Joe and Mike Mayer.
“In 1953, Arnaz realized one way to deal with limited camera time was to use identical twins,” mentions the Idaho Press-Tribune, who ran a story on the present day Mayer twins. Arnaz’ instinct to use two babies instead of one would become the industry norm for many, including the Olsen twins on Full House and Dylan and Cole Sprouse in Big Daddy in 1999.
“Neither Joe nor Mike’s names are listed on any of the episode credits; presumably to keep the illusion the child was Arnaz and Ball’s actual child.” says the article.
Can you believe it? While it still feels unnatural (we like to believe maybe the Ricardos are still out there in their 30s with a young son, Pleasantville-style), it’s nice to know the stars of something as huge as I Love Lucy are out there keeping the legacy alive. Now excuse us while we spend the next four to five hours Googling “child actors where they are now”.