There have been a multitude of tributes this week remembering comedy icon Lucille Ball who was born 100 years ago today, but a vintage interview with People magazine reveals the late entertainer was in favor of gay rights.
In a candid interview from 1980, Ball was asked her thoughts on a number of subjects, including gay rights. "It's perfectly all right with me," she replied. "Some of the most gifted people I've ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?"
As an entertainer, Ball obviously had many gay coworkers and friends. In 2001, one of her gay friends, Lee Tannen, wrote a book about his relationship with her. In it he recalls a mutual friend telling Ball how gay men adored her and how her curiosity was piqued when she heard about a gay bar in West Hollywood that played marathons of I Love Lucy episodes.
Tannen later told Out magazine, "Lucy Ricardo was the true gay icon, as "Lucy Ricardo was the underdog who was always trying to prove herself, and I think many gay men can identify with that."
He went on to say that "Ricardo was the perfect gay icon for the post-Stonewall generation. She wasn't a tragic victim like Judy Garland."