Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Louise Brooks' childhood friend, Vivian Vance

If you wondering who the sultry women in the above picture might be, wonder no longer. . . . It's Vivian Vance, the television and theater actress best known for her role as Ethel Mertz, sidekick to Lucille Ball, on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy.

Before she got into television comedy, Vance (born Vivian Jones in 1909) was an accomplished stage actress who also had something of a career as torch singer in the 1930s, as the clipping below suggests. Vance is mentioned here because she, like Louise Brooks, was born in Cherryvale, Kansas. The two were childhood friends. Both of their families would relocate to Independence, Kansas (with Brooks' family then moving to Wichita). I wonder if Brooks was aware of Vance's early stage and music career? Does anyone know if there are recordings from Vance's time as singer?


  1. Louise was absolutely aware of the career of Vivian Vance and vice versa. I believe Vivian was younger than Louise and it was Vivian's older sister, as I recall, who was closer to Louise. Cherryvale and Independence are both very small towns and everyone knew everyone else's business. Tom Graves (author of My Afternoon With Louise Brooks)

  2. Anonymous...you are correct. They were toddlers when they both lived in Cherryvale. Vivian moved to Independence in grade school.
    Tina M. Cherryvale Ks.


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