Lucille Ball's granddaughter is looking back on her fondest memories with the I Love Lucy star, whom she knew best as her Nana. Kate Luckinbill-Conner, the daughter of Lucie Arnaz, whose parents were Ball and Desi Arnaz, appeared on Monday's episode of the TODAY show, where she opened up to Hoda Kotb about her early memories of the late comedy legend.
Luckinbill-Conner was only four when Ball passed, but she remembers still her grandmother being very active in her life. "I guess she was really happy to have another little girl," she recalled to Kotb. "She would wrap my little tufts of hair in these curlers and put me in silk pajamas and I'd have these wonderful, luxurious bubble baths and I would sleep in her giant California King-sized bed and she would be there for all of that."
Ball's busy career left her with less time to mother her own kids, Lucie and Desi, but Luckinbill-Conner said with her granddaughter, "She finally had time to be the mom she really dreamed of being from the beginning. She wasn't so busy anymore." Even so many years later, Luckinbill-Conner said she remembers watching cartoons with her grandmother, who would give her cookies and milk, then sit behind her, "play backgammon and just keep me company."
It's important for Luckinbill-Conner to remind people that her grandparents were family people, first and foremost. "My grandparents didn't set out to change television," she said. "They wanted to have a family. They wanted to remain being a family. I think that's really important to remember as part of their history, because it allows us all to remember we can all have families and work if we support each other in that. If we are together in us all wanting that balance, then we can find it."
What made Ball such an icon is the comedian's "honesty," Luckinbill-Conner hypothesized. "She was honest to a fault. Some people took that as tough and feminism. It wasn't, really," she said. "She was a regular American girl who had big dreams and no idea how to accomplish them." Hearing from people who looked up to her grandparents is such a joy: "There are family generational connections now to watching this show together. That's the thing that really gets me. That's the thing that really makes me want to continue carrying the torch," she added.