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1950s / William Frawley-Vivian Vance Feud
As any good sitcom fan knows, from 1951 to 1960 William Frawley and Vivian Vance played Fred and Ethel and Mertz--Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's landlords and best friends on I Love Lucy and the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Frawley and Vance performed comedy magic on the set, but they truly detested each other. Problems began on the first day of shooting when Vance commented that no one would believe her character would be married to 'that old coot.' (Vance, who was 42 in 1951, was 22 years younger than Frawley.) Frawley overheard the remark and never forgave Vance for that barb. Often when Vance suggested even the smallest change in dialogue in the script, Frawley would storm off the set--solely because it was Vance who made the suggestion. Long before I Love Lucy began, Frawley had a reputation for being a difficult actor to work with due to his mercurial temperament and love of the bottle. Perhaps his hatred of Vance gave the exchanges between the two co-stars some extra zing. When The Lucy Desi-Comedy Hour ended, CBS proffered the idea of Vance and Frawley co-starring in a spinoff titled Fred and Ethel. Apparently Frawley liked the idea because of the potential money in it, but Vance swiftly quashed the idea, saying she wanted nothing to do with Frawley ever again. Frawley's next TV role was Bub O'Casey on My Three Sons. Tim Considine, who played eldest son Mike Douglas, recalled Frawley exploding into profanity-laced rages whenever someone innocently asked him about Vance. Considine further recalled that Frawley would occasionally disrupt the shooting of The Lucy Show by tossing noisy objects near the sound stage if Vance was trying to do a scene. Frawley suddenly died of a heart attack in 1966. Upon hearing the news, Vance reputedly shouted, 'Champagne for everyone!'