People can make all kinds of crazy claims about who their ancestors were, especially if they were celebrities. Bill Clinton apparently has a biracial son who is adamant that the former president is his true father, but the Clintons have denied it along with DNA proof. And did you know that Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy also has a granddaughter who claims that the iconic actress is her grandmother? And that it has not yet proven true or false with a DNA sample yet?
Meet Cassandria Lucianna Carlson, a woman in her early 50s who firmly believes that she is the granddaughter of Lucille Ball and her husband/ co-star Desi Arnaz. The mystery behind the Illinois woman arose from the evidence that featured an emailed document that was a copy of a statement from a notary public, John Papp, for Los Angeles, California, filed on April 5, 1951, right around the time that the first episodes of the I Love Lucy sitcom went into production. It was sent to Carlson while she was visiting Stamford, Connecticut.
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Papp, on June 24, 1947, had stated that Lucille Ball-Arnaz had appeared before him and that he knew her to be the “one and the same person as the mother of the child born (date missing) 1947,” where the month and day seem to be covered by a piece of tape. He then states that Ball, in front of him and a woman named Ruth Griffith Smith, declared that Smith was “to take and care of her daughter, Madeline Jane Dee Ball-Arnaz, for an undisclosed time.” However, above the typed names of Lucille Ball-Arnaz, Ruth Griffith Smith, and John Papp are where their signatures are supposed to be but are also seemingly covered by pieces of tape.
However, despite what the document says, history had recorded that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had two children: daughter Lucie Arnaz and son Desi Arnaz Jr. So who is Madeline “Linda” Jane Dee, Carlson’s mother?
According to Carlson, she had quite the odd upbringing, as stories of her childhood revolved around the mystery. Her father had once told her that Lucille Ball was in the room when she was born and that her grandmother (Ruth Smith) was “a nurse who didn’t work and lived in a posh house. Ruth was nice and had kids of her own, but they were raised by their grandmother while Ruth concentrated on [her] mother.”
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Carlson also remembers visits from a red-headed woman whom she called Mrs. Morton. Back in 1960, Lucille Ball had divorced Desi Arnaz and married comedian Gary Morton a year later. She said, “I remember one day when I was about 7, Mrs. Morton picked me up at ballet class.”
However, Carlson’s questions are still on-going, especially since her mother, at 56-years-old, was struck and killed by a bus while riding her bike down a California street. When Carlson called Smith from the funeral home to ask where her mother’s birth records were, Smith told her that the Hollywood couple was her parents, but that Carlson won’t find the paperwork to back it up.
Carlson, in searching for answers, had asked the Arnaz family for help in confirming her genealogy. She initially had contacted them when she started suffering from heart problems, knowing the “Dream Girl” star had died from an aortic dissection in 1989. And she mainly was curious in figuring this out because she’s concerned about the health of her son, Daniel, who has been diagnosed with borderline cystic fibrosis, a gastrointestinal condition, and a bone disorder involving his hip.
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Julia Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr.’s out-of-wedlock daughter, had once offered to provide a DNA sample, but abruptly withdrew the offer. And suddenly the Arnaz family publicly acknowledged Julia’s paternity for the first time, after her known deep alienation from the famed clan. And Lucie and Desi Jr. have both acknowledged that their parents were actually trying to have children around the time that Lucille Ball would’ve given up her “daughter” for adoption, so it wouldn’t make sense for her to do so.
Plenty of suspicious things going on here when it comes to tv show stardom. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that people are still dealing with real-life situations outside of their acting careers. And with the rise of social media over the last decade, maybe Carlson would’ve really gotten the answers she needed.