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I Love Lucy

Keith Thibodeaux

Little Ricky Ricardo

Born on December 1, 1950, in Lafayette, La., Keith Thibodeaux is arguably the most famous child actor in television history. A prodigy drummer, he was discovered at age 3 by bandleader Horace Heidt and was cast as Little Ricky Ricardo in 1956.

Thibodeaux continued to act after I Love Lucy went off the air, appearing in other sitcoms and playing Opie's friend Johnny Paul Jason on The Andy Griffith Show. In 1966 Thibodeaux's parents divorced and the young drummer-actor moved back to Louisiana with his mother and siblings. He graduated from Lafayette High School in 1968 and attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

As many former child actors seem to, Thibodeaux struggled with alcohol and drugs, and his abuse escalated when he joined David and the Giants -- a popular rock band that played mostly in the South. Two events eventually turned his life around: In 1976 he met Kathy Denton at a concert in Jackson, Miss. The couple married after a short whirlwind courtship, and Thibodeaux left the band. In 1978, Thibodeaux was baptized as a Christian. Separately, the leader of David and the Giants, David Huff, and his twin brothers, Clayborn and Rayborn, also became Christians. In 1979, David and the Giants reformed and went on to become one of the nation's top contemporary Christian music groups.

Thibodeaux has been the executive director of Ballet Magnificat!, a Christian ballet company, since 1993. His wife, Kathy, a ballet dancer, is the founder and artistic director of the company. They have a daughter named Tara. In 1994, Thibodeaux published his autobiography, Life After Lucy.

Character Bio

The son of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Little Ricky is an accomplished drummer like his father. He occasionally performs in his dad's club act, and of course, stars in a school play. He also has a dog named Fred after his landlord, Fred Mertz.