What happened to Little Ricky from I Love Lucy?

Richard Keith as Little Ricky on I Love Lucy
Little Ricky was a star on I Love Lucy. Pic credit: CBS

I Love Lucy was an iconic show filled with comedy ahead of its time. The show has been shown all over the world and ran from 1951 until 1957 when it came to an end. Even though it is an older show, it has been enjoyed for many, many years and by many generations of fans.

Little Ricky (Richard Keith) was definitely one of the most talked about actors on the show. The young boy was someone who garnered laughs from viewers and fit in well with the other cast members.

Now that it has been several decades since I Love Lucy ended, many wonder what happened to the spirited little boy.

Who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy?

Actually, while Richard Keith (whose birth name is Keith Thibodeaux) is known for the role, there was a set of twin boys who played Little Ricky for a few seasons as needed while he was still an infant and toddler.

Since the character was born during the second season, they needed a set of twins to fill the role. Joe and Mike Mayer were given the job. After it became necessary to hire an older child and no longer use the twins, that is when Richard Keith was given the job.

What happened to the actors who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy?

The twins, Joe and Mike Mayer who played Little Ricky when the character was an infant and toddler ended up leaving show business a little while after vacating the role. Both live in Idaho now, with no ties to the entertainment industry they were once a part of. Mike grew up to be a teacher and Joe ended up in the printing business.

Richard Keith also slid away from the television spotlight, but not right after playing Little Ricky on I Love Lucy.

He made several appearances on The Andy Griffith Show as Johnny Paul Jason, Opie’s (Ron Howard) friend. As a teen, he joined and played with a rock group called David and the Giants. While he remained with the band for a while, he eventually left.

David and the Giants eventually reunited and released several albums in the 1980s and 1990s. This band was a huge part of his life for 40 years and being honored for being a Mississippi artist was something special.

He went on to get married and have a child. Keith ended up in Mississippi, far away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special airs Friday, December 14 at 8/7c on CBS.

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