Lucille Ball will always be hailed as one of the top comedians who paved the way for future female stars. Throughout the 1950s she was a household name who had millions of Americans tune in to the "I Love Lucy" sitcom to see what funny antics the redhead would get up to each week.
The world was fixated on this naturally talented comedian who had the uncanny ability to leave her audience in stitches, yet Ball did not consider herself to be especially funny — at least not compared to Judy Garland, who she said made her look like a "mortician."
The queen of comedy shared her sentiments to author John Fricke, who briefly worked as a theater publicist and was required to drive Ball around. The two found themselves in a car one day in 1977 and that was when Ball spilled her heart out to Fricke.
"Now, she didn’t know me or anything about me and it was just the two of us in the car, but at one point she was talking about how people always expected her to be funny," Fricke told Closer Weekly in an interview published Monday.
"She said that her daughter, Lucie, was funny on stage and off, but Lucille Ball herself felt she was only funny because the writers gave her funny things to do."
Fricke said he was shocked by the remarks but he nearly crashed the car after her next comment.
"I almost drove off the road when she told me, 'You know who was really funny?' I said, 'No, who?' and she said, 'Judy Garland,'" Fricke recalled.
"Then she said, 'Judy Garland was the most naturally funny woman in Hollywood. In fact, Judy Garland made me look like a mortician.' And that’s from Lucille Ball."
After contemplating the shocking revelation, Fricke said he had to agree with Ball. Garland had an undeniable wit that shone through in her concerts, movies and television appearances, he noted.
"There wasn’t an actor in Hollywood who wasn’t aware of the wit of Judy Garland. She had the ability to look at a situation, size it up and immediately find a bon mot or witticism," Fricke said.
"Miss Ball was a genius of acting, comedy or drama. It wasn’t that she had no sense of humor or didn’t know how to crack a joke, but she did not have the sharp personal wit that Judy possessed. And Miss Ball made no bones about it."
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