‘I Love Lucy’ star William Frawley allegedly called Vivian Vance a ‘c–t’
“I Love Lucy” star William Frawley was such a crass curmudgeon that he once allegedly called his on-screen wife, Vivian Vance, a “miserable c–t.”
Tim Considine exclusively tells Page Six that Frawley uttered the vulgar insult when a lieutenant general and his adjutant visited the set of the actors’ 1960s sitcom “My Three Sons” while Considine was in the Air Force Reserve.
After a pleasant lunch, the quartet walked back to work.
“I was thinking, ‘Hey, this is a great success. [Frawley] hasn’t said anything to put anyone off,'” Considine remembers. “I was pretty pleased with myself.”
Unfortunately, not even 30 yards from the entrance, the lieutenant general asked Frawley what Vance was really like — and that’s when Considine’s stomach dropped.
“I saw it coming,” he recalls.
According to Considine, Frawley succinctly responded, “That miserable c–t.”
It was no secret that Frawley disliked Vance, but Audrey Kupferberg — who co-wrote “Meet the Mertzes: The Life Stories of I Love Lucy’s Other Couple” with her late husband, Rob Edelman — says he was much worse than people know and that his character was sanitized in “Being the Ricardos.” (J.K. Simmons is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category of this year’s Oscars for his portrayal of Frawley.)
“I was very upset over the movie,” Kupferberg tells Page Six. “I thought J.K. Simmons, who’s a really good actor, his character was just not like Frawley was. They really warmed him up. The idea that he took a drink or two … he was really a very, very bad alcoholic.
“He drank all day. He would go across the street. He would go to a place called Nickodell,” she continues. “He would drink there, and then after work, he would drink more. He was also really cheap, and when Nickodell raised the price of their beer by 10 cents a glass, he stopped going there and went to Musso and Frank.”
The author describes Frawley as “a mean, rough man,” adding, “He was a woman-hater, known throughout Hollywood for very bad language and just antisocial behavior.”
Case in point: Kupferberg says that when Frawley was invited to the 1960 Quaker Oats convention as the keynote speaker, there were strict instructions to introduce him early before he got too drunk. But unfortunately, it was too late.
After staggering to the microphone, he said to a crowd of conservative Midwestern businessmen, “I gotta tell you this. I’ve been introduced in a lot of places by a lot of people, but never ever have I heard so much s–t piled up so high as this last guy who introduced me. I don’t know who the f–k you are, but you are really full of s-t. Thank you and goodnight.”
But not everyone disliked Frawley.
Considine calls him a “terrific guy” and says his job was to bring him back to set from Nickodell.
“Sometimes he’d fall asleep in the middle of a scene,” Considine remembers, saying the writers would make sure Frawley’s character, “Bub” O’Casey, was standing and doing something like sweeping a floor.
“He’d blow a line and say, ‘Who writes this crap?'” Considine says with a chuckle.
Frawley died in March 1966 at the age of 79 after suffering a heart attack. Vance lost her battle with breast cancer in August 1979 at age 70.