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Life after Lucy: Ballet Magnificat co-founder recalls path to God

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Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2014 2:14 pm

Louisiana-born Keith Thibodeaux was born to perform.

At the age of 2, he was considered a prodigy — a drummer with the beat in his heart.

His innate talent carried him to Los Angeles, where he was cast in “I Love Lucy,” considered to be one of the greatest TV sitcoms in history.

His role as the son of the fictional couple of Lucy and Desi Ricardo — played by real-life couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz — translated into real life, where he was treated like one of the Arnaz family.

He attended church with the family — Desi Arnaz was a Roman Catholic — and spent Christmases with them.

“I was part of their extended family. I was best friends with their children, and we spent many, many, many times together, including summers and holidays. I got to really know them,” Thibodeaux said. “It was a very interesting family and a very interesting dynamic.”

The former child actor wrote about his post-“I Love Lucy” life in his autobiography, “Life After Lucy: The True Story of Keith Thibodeaux: ‘I Love Lucy’s’ Little Ricky.”

The inspirational book recalls his relationship with Hollywood’s royal family, his life after the cameras stopped rolling, his struggles with fame and drugs — and how he found a new beginning in Jesus.

In retrospect, he said, “there was a sense of sadness in the family, because of the dynamic. There was lot of love, a lot of passion, anger, talent, and it was complicated,” said Thibodeaux, the father of a daughter, Tara, and grandfather to Bryson, 9 months. “Lucy and Desi loved each other very much, but they didn’t really have the Lord in their lives, and they didn’t have another source to go to with their feelings and frustrations. If they’d trusted in the Lord, they would have found faith and peace with each other, I know.”

But the memories of his time both on-set and off-set with the famous family are warm, and his affection for his on-screen parents and their real life children was genuine and deep.

“Desi was a wonderful, generous man. He gave to those in need, and he looked out for the little guy and the people who needed help. I remember him giving tithes and just reaching out. He did what he could do,” Thibodeaux said. “He was a God-loving man. Desi was a Roman Catholic by birth, and he took us to church, and he was as much of a believer as he could be, but he never really got to a point of really trusting God in his life. Lucy was an Episcopalian, and she sent her kids to Catholic school.”

Thibodeaux said when he was young, he had “a God-world view,” but it wasn’t until 1974, when “I really was introduced to Jesus Christ, that my life changed.”

Today, in addition to working with Ballet Maginficat, Thibodeaux tours with the Christian band David & the Giants, which has a performance in Houston on New Years Eve.

“I’d love it if the band performed in Kerrville,” he said.

The group’s latest album, “Still Rockin’,” was released in September and is available on iTune and Amazon.com.

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