Entertainment

'I Love Lucy's' Little Ricky Had a Future in Christian Rock and Ballet

As child actor Richard Keith, Keith Thibodeaux appeared in two foundational TV shows, I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show, before becoming a member of a Christian rock band and the executive director of a globetrotting ballet company.

To call Thibodeax (born Dec. 1, 1950 in Lafayette, Louisiana) a child prodigy would be an understatement. He was professionally playing drums for bandleader Horace Heidt by age 3.

In 1955, Thibodeaux's dad took him to audition for Little Ricky, the son of Lucille (Lucille Ball) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz). Thibodeaux's drumming skills won him the part. His dad, meanwhile, scored a job as a publicist for Desilu Productions.

As Richard Keith (a stage name Arnaz felt was easier to pronounce), the youngster became a cast member of CBS' I Love Lucy and spin-off sitcom The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

He also makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo, billed simply as a little boy, in his former on-screen mom's '60s series The Lucy Show

From 1962 to 1966, Keith appeared on The Andy Griffith Show as one of Opie's friends, Johnny Paul Jason.

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After his parent's divorce, Thibodeaux moved back home from Los Angeles and attended Lafayette High School.

Though he's still known for his TV filmography, Thibodeaux has quite the discography, as well. His musical talent landed him a gig in 1969 with Mississippi-formed Christian rock band David and the Giants. His final stint with the band ended after its 1989 RU Gonna Stand Up tour.

Thibodeaux met and married ballet dancer Kathy Denton in 1976. In 1990, he became the Executive Director for his wife's company, the Mississippi-based Ballet Magnificat! The company appeared in the 2009 film C Me Dance.

Thibodeaux's autobiography Life After Lucy was published in 1994. He's the final living member of the I Love Lucy cast.

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'I Love Lucy's' Little Ricky Had a Future in Christian Rock and Ballet