It’s Lucille Ball’s Birthday: She Supported Gay Rights and Had a Scary Statue
If sitcom comedienne Lucille Ball were alive today, the gay rights-supporter would be 106 years old (about half the lifespan of a tortoise) and able to see her hometown remove and replace a scary-ass sculpture of her in the town’s park.
The sculpture depicts Ball’s most famous I Love Lucy episode where she gradually got drunker while shooting a commercial a foul-tasting health-supplement called Vitameatavegamin. You can watch a clip from the episode below:
Regarding her gay rights support, she responded to the question, “How do you feel about gay rights?” by telling People magazine in 1980, “It’s perfectly alright with me. Some of the most gifted people I’ve ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?”
As for her scary statue, it once stood in her hometown of Celoron. Unveiled by sculptor Dave Poulin in 2009, the statue was so hated that it spawned a Facebook group and fundraiser entitled “We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue”. The group helped raise $250,000 through private donors to replace Poulin’s statue with a more glamorous one by sculptor Carolyn Palmer. Palmer’s replacement sculpture was unveiled today.
Poulin said he’s gotten death threats over his statue. He offered to do a replacement (an offer which the town rejected) and admits that his sculpture is “by far my most unsettling sculpture, not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor.”
But since Poulin’s ghastly artwork has its own frightening appeal, it will now reside in a different part of the park. Meanwhile, Palmer’s sculpture — which took nine months to complete — will take the original sculpture’s place.
Palmer said, “I not only wanted to portray the playful, animated and spontaneous Lucy, but also the glamorous Hollywood icon,” she said in a statement. In the past, Palmer made a sculpture of the homophobic and transphobic Pope Francis for his papal residence in New York City.
Here are Poulin’s and Palmer’s statues — happy birthday Lucille Ball!