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Vivian Vance once vowed to never work in television again

"I'll never be caught dead in another television series as long as I live."

Now, that doesn't sound like someone who worked more than 40 years as an actress on some of the most iconic series to date.

Yet, Vivian Vance said it in a previous interview with The Register during her time on I Love Lucy (1951).

Her viewpoints towards television started with her loud, loving and sometimes sassy role as Lucy's best friend, Ethel Mertz. Although Vance loved Lucy just as much as the average viewer, she had a love-hate relationship with her character.

Vance couldn't go anywhere without Ethel getting in the way. As much as Vance tried to separate herself from the role in real life, she was losing her identity to the fictional character. This led to Vance saying that TV was "for the birds."

"I am eating crow and liking it," Vance said in a 1952 interview with The Register. "I suppose I blasted TV because I'd had nine years of playing the same character and I was tired of the role."

She wasn't just tired of playing the character, she grew weary of being identified on the street as Ethel Mertz.

According to the interview, many fans would even ask how her husband was doing. A great question if they weren't talking about her fictional husband, Fred Mertz, played by William Frawley.

Almost five years after I Love Lucy came to end, Vance decided she was ready for a new role. This time she played Vivian Bagley alongside Lucille Ball in the role of Lucy Carmichael on The Lucy Show (1962).

In the interview, Vance swore not to live the double life she led during her time on I Love Lucy

"It's not the last name I'm worried about, silly," Vance said. "I put the name Vivian in my contract so people would stop calling me Ethel."

"Right after I left the old show I went on as many live programs as possible to re-establish my identity in the minds of the public," Vance continued. "But a lot of people still call me Ethel. I think that after this series get started I'll finally be on the right track."

Together Lucille Ball and Vance comprised the funniest female team in television and in comedy. Ball and Vance even joined forces without their husbands from I Love Lucy. They were able to establish a new kind of Lucy, one that included Vivian's name too. 

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