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The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivian Vance
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The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivian Vance

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  204 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Here are little known facts and stories not only about the stormy relationship of Lucy and Ethel, but wonderfully funny vignettes about Vivian Vance
Published October 1st 1998 by Knowledge, Ideas & Trends
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Sep 14, 2016 Kim rated it it was ok
2.5 stars, I found it okay+. Had no idea she couldn't stand William Frawley aka Fred. What an interesting life though.
Lisa N
Jan 04, 2011 Lisa N rated it really liked it
Very well-researched and well-written biography of Vivian Vance, one of America’s best known side kicks.

She led a pretty colorful life. When she went to NY to break into stage, she had a reputation as a bimbo. While married to her second husband, she openly cavorted with anyone whom she though could further her career. She had an illicit affair with a married man, creating a public scandal that led to the break-up of his marriage. He later became her third husband.

Her fourth husband, who was 1
Apr 03, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it
""When I die, there will be people who send Ethel Mertz flowers,"" remarked Vivian Vance (1909-1979), Lucille Ball's neighbor and sidekick on the TV series I Love Lucy. Though the role of Ethel on the classic sitcom brought Vance fame if not fortune (she and stage hubby William ""Fred Mertz"" Frawley were not in on the deals that enriched others attached to the show), it also robbed her of her identity. In this candid, revealing first bio about Vance, fans will meet a vibrant woman who little re ...more
Stacey R
Apr 21, 2012 Stacey R rated it liked it
Vivian Vance had a sad life, in my opinion. She and Lucille Ball weren't friends before they met at Vivian's audition for Ethel Mertz, and that surprised me. I felt unsettled after I read her story, and wished that her life had been happier. The book was researched well, but since there weren't many of her contemporaries alive anymore, the primary sources for this book weren't really reliable. Still, a lot of interesting information about a woman who played a big part in popular culture and the ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Maryam rated it it was amazing
“If we were going into the unknown I would like to go with Vivian ‘cause she would be able to bluff her way through.” - Anne Denove Farleigh

Before reading this book, I did not know much about Vivian Vance’s personal life, nor her career other than the fact that she was on I Love Lucy. But then this book gave me a detailed insight into her life, and allowed me to build up a vivid image of her character and personality. The authors did a marvelous job at researching her life, and immortalising i
Jan 17, 2008 Skip rated it it was amazing
In the pantheon of books about Lucille Ball and the I Love Lucy/Desilu franchise, there have been many written about Lucy and one, specifically about Desi Arnaz (his autobiography, A Book, published in 1976).

Monumental in their omissions have been books about Bill Frawley and Vivian Vance. I don't believe the Frawley omission has ever been corrected. And, until 1998, when authors Frank Castelluccio and former Memphian Alvin Walker published The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivia
Dec 27, 2012 Krissy rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is the only book written about Vivian Vance and it's out of print. I find that very sad. How many books are there about Lucille Ball? I love Lucy, totally, but I love Vivian, too. "I Love Lucy" would never have been the perfect comedy it was without Vance and her solid acting and comic skills. I've been recently re-watching the "I Love Lucy" episodes (hence my I Love Lucy obsession) and I find myself watching Vivian Vance now more. She is so funny and so great at her character - a character ...more
Jo Anne
Mar 27, 2016 Jo Anne rated it liked it
Having been born in 1959, I did not experience first hand the I Love Lucy TV series. It ended in 1957. I got my start watching the Lucy Show, which ran from 1962 to 1968. Of course, thanks to cable, afternoon television and DVDs, I've been able to fall in love with two of the funniest women in television, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance. Why am I making such a big fuss about Lucy's shows when the book is about Vivian Vance? Because it was Desi (who hired Vivian) and Lucy, who recognized Vivian's s ...more
Sep 10, 2009 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was an interesting view into the life of Ms. Vance. She did a lot of theater work before and after her famous stint on TV and I was surprised to find the Broadway shows she was in, like "Anything Goes!" with Ethel Merman. She struggled with anxiety and depression and overcame them to be a successful and happy woman.
Jul 01, 2011 Mariela rated it it was amazing
I never knew this side of Vivian Vance. I loved watching I Love Lucy and could not have wanted anyone else to play the characters. I feel that everything Vivian suffered could have been avoided. She is a great actress and I deeply respect her. Even more after reading her book. Don't worry Viv, you will always be Vivian Vance and not Ethel Mertz.
Emily Cole
Mar 06, 2016 Emily Cole rated it really liked it
As an avid I love Lucy fan, I found this story of Vivian Vance aka Ethel Mertz very interesting and somewhat sad too because of her life being very difficult before and after Lucy show. I enjoyed learning about the truth about Vivian and would recommend it if your a huge fan like me! Its a must read for fans!
May 01, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
A fascinating read! Anyone interested in Vivian Vance's life outside of "I Love Lucy" will be thrilled to read this. Lots of insight into her life and it will make you feel sympathy for the woman who wanted to be remembered as herself but will always be known as Lucy Ricardo's side kick, Ethel Mertz.
Jan 06, 2009 Jinann rated it really liked it
Wow! I never realized that Vivian was an accomplished stage actress. I was also amazed at the "behind the scenes" issues that occurred with the "I Love Lucy" show. For a comedy show, there was a lot of drama!
Sep 09, 2007 Kathleen rated it it was ok
written by fans instead or writers, factual but not riveting --- good for a day when you want to be entertained but not challenged. great portrait of how far women have actually come.
Feb 26, 2014 Kevinbozzi rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography. She was a really interesting person, even though she was Lucille Ball's side-kick
Laurie Furness
Aug 09, 2012 Laurie Furness rated it it was amazing
Loved this book , miss viv was quite a naughty lady and had quite an interesting and complicated life
Kimberly Mussell
May 22, 2016 Kimberly Mussell rated it it was amazing
Vivian Roberta Jones was a beautiful woman! I am so glad this book was written. I wish there was more out there on Vivian... One classy lady.
Dec 04, 2008 Miranda rated it liked it
Yes I finally finished it! It was OK, gave you basic info about her life.
Mike Gabor
Mar 03, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I found this book on a cart at the library and being a fan of I Love Lucy picked it up. I was surprised to learn that this is the only book ever written on the life of Vivian Vance. The authors trace her life from her childhood in Kansas, her beginning career in New Mexico, her move to New York and of course her association with Lucy Ball and the I Love Lucy show. Vivian's life wasn't a real happy one. She went thru a few marriages and earned a reputation as a sort of loose woman. he relationshi ...more
May 18, 2015 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: show-biz-bio
For a fan-driven book, this biography of Vivian Vance is impressively honest. It could use a little more depth, particularly in dealing with the television years. Some of her credits aside from the two shows with Lucille Ball are barely mentioned, if at all. But at least they deal with her reputation during her stage years. Comparing their account of Vance's taking over the female lead in "Hooray for What!" makes an interesting account compared to what's written in "Kay Kendall: From Funny Face ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: have-hardcover
Had a hard time getting into this; the first half of the book is very dry and plodding, perhaps because the author couldn't find much material beyond real estate, employment and other such statistical records. There wasn't much "life" in the account of her life until the early 1950's. A lot of names and play titles were dropped, apparently just to take up space.
The Lucy years were meatier, and much more colorful, although a bit jumbled. Altogether could benefit from some hard edged editing.
Lee Weiser
Jan 08, 2013 Lee Weiser rated it really liked it
Alas, it's out if print but a used copy can be found. Glad that something was written about her. Wonderful knowing her background since there's so much not known about her private life and her varied stage career both on Broadway and off
Michelle (Champ)
Oct 25, 2012 Michelle (Champ) rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Ethel this is a must read. I could not stop reading it and when I had to for work purposes I often wondered what happened to her next.
Nov 03, 2011 Bridget rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
A well researched biography about Vivian Vance. I just prefer to think of her as Ethel Mertz instead of Vivian Vance. I like Ethel's personality in TV land better than Vivian's in real life.
Mike rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2008
Alexis Chapman
Alexis Chapman rated it it was ok
Apr 28, 2014
G Gneiser
G Gneiser rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2015
Joe rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2008
Michelle rated it liked it
Nov 02, 2012
Melanie Faith
Melanie Faith rated it really liked it
May 30, 2012
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