Here’s Lucy: (Somewhat) Happy Outcome for Gary Morton / Lucille Ball Auction

Lucille Ball familySome of Lucille Ball’s love letters, awards, photos, and a Rolls Royce were set to be auctioned off on Saturday. Heritage Auction Galleries was selling the items on behalf of Susie McCallister Morton, the widow of Gary Morton. He was Ball’s second husband and an executive producer on Here’s Lucy and Life with Lucy. Susie Morton married him after the death of Ball in 1989. They were married for three years. Gary Morton died in 1999 and his belongings went to his widow as part of his estate.

Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, the daughter of Ball and her first husband Desi Arnaz, sought to obtain the Morton/Ball love letters and Ball’s lifetime achievement awards after Susie Morton put them up for sale. Luckinbill said that she wanted to donate them to a museum.

Some of the items were reportedly left to Luckinbill after her mother’s death but Morton claims that she failed to collect them. Luckinbill threatened legal action over the auction. Morton sued Luckinbill earlier last week, seeking a judge’s order to allow the sale to go through. Luckinbill in turn sought a restraining order on Friday to stop the next day’s auction.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien agreed to block the sale. As part of that, he imposed a $250,000 bond that Luckinbill would have to pay to get a restraining order issued.

Luckinbill’s attorney, Ronald Palmieri, said the amount was too high to be met. He said, “We won on a legal basis, and the judge took it away from us on an economic basis. That is very sad.”

However, Heritage later said that, as part of a deal reached Saturday, the auction house would returning her mother’s lifetime achievement awards to Luckinbill. The rest of the items in dispute remained on the block.

According to Heritage, the auction of personal items and memorabilia brought $230,000. Items that were sold included a variety of purchased paintings, costume sketches, several backgammon sets, china, porcelain figures, and Morton’s trumpets. The highest grossing item was the 1984 Silver Spurs Rolls Royce which sold for just under $30,000.

What do you think? Was Luckinbill entitled to the her mother’s property? Do you agree with the outcome?

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14 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. SKJ says

    I have followed the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz story for years. I am a mom and grandma and not any fan of anyone but desiring of the truth be told about these two people and the real truth never has been told. I do admire Lucille Ball’s daughter for her perseverance in getting the things she wanted before they were auctioned. She and her brother had a horrible childhood proving that money does not buy happiness. I do remember seeing Desi Arnaz Jr on Carson years ago when his dad bought him a surf board for his birthday and gave it to him on the Carson show. This kid was so thankless and disrespectful of his dad on the show that night it was embarrassing to watch. Seems as if, through it all, they have turned out to have good lives and are not in the media for drugs and/or alcohol so they have apparently fought and won against their demons of which they have had many. Their mom could not have won mother of the year award nor their dad father of the year so their childhood was not full of greatness. I loved the comedian Lucille Ball was and the enjoyment and laughter she gave millions of people every week but that did not make her a good person. I saw and read an interview she gave around 10 years before she died and she was a terrible person and said some bad things in that interview. Lucille Ball just was not a nice person. Desi Arnaz was an astute business man and a better father than she was a mother but they both still horribly lacked parenthood skills. These kids have both still showed nothing but respect and admiration for both their parents and are both very good people and have been good parents. They have prevailed in spite of all they lacked in their childhood. Yes they had money but that does not leave good childhood memories. Their childhood lacked so much but they have both turned out to be wonderful kids and I am personally proud of them and the way they conduct themselves. Gary Morton was a selfish jerk who was well suited for Lucille Ball and they seemed to have done well together. All that “stuff” deserved to go to Lucille Ball’s children. It should never have been auctioned off and I cannot believe that these kids would not have wanted the legacy of their mother and daddy to be kept as they have so admirably done thus far. I admire them both. Lucie should never have had to take any of this into court to stop it from being sold. I have recently just gone through a mess my deceased mother left behind and if something is not specifically stated in your will, or even if it is , one can count on it being take, robbed, stolen or sold. Unfortunately nothing in this life is ever a “given” for any of us. Lucille Ball was no different than anyone else. She only had things that other people wanted. I would loved to have had some little something but I am an ordinary person living on limited funds each month ad have no money to buy things like that. People like us who supported and loved Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz have no monies to buy any of their memorabilia. These two adults have done well in their lives and us who watched them grow up are proud of them and what they have shown in respect to their parents and what they have done with their lives. She deserved any and all of her mother’s things and should never have had to go to get a court order to stop it all. Her mother left too many ends open and trusted Gary Morton too much. He was out for what he could get and he got it. All of us normal fans did not have money to buy any of that stuff. These are sales for only rich people.

  2. linda says

    I can see why Lucy Arnaz would want her Mothers things and not want to see them auctioned off. That does not make her a control freak! At the same time, I think its nice that some fans got to own some of Lucille Ball’s things. Fans are responsible for her amazing career as much as anyone, and I am sure in her lifetime she adored her fans and appreciated them. Still..if those items were in a museum they would be protected and many more people could enjoy them. So personally, I wish Gary’s widow had just given the things to Lucy Arnaz that she wanted, or donated them herself to a worthy museum such as the Smithsonian. Tacky of his widow, and sad, and unworthy of Lucille Ball’s legacy.

  3. Anonymous says

    Lucie couldn’t or wouldn’t cough up the $250,000? Big difference…sad if she doesn’t have the money considering the Desilu money she and her brother must have.

  4. Faith Zamek says

    She had no right to the property.She was only married to Gary 3 years and they were Lucy’s personal things and her daughter should have them back.Garys fault for not giving them to her in his will,he should have.I am probably more entitled than she is.Gary Morton was my cousin for my whole life,and if they were mine I would have given them back to her daughter.
    Gary Morton aka Morton Goldappers cousin Cookie

    • Anonymous says

      So right cookie! Strange how people become so self centered! Those items should of went back to Lucy’s children to be handed down to her grandchildren! Thank you for standing up for right and wrong!

  5. Responder says

    Whatever intentions Luckinbill had in wanting her mother’s love letter’s, awards, photos, etc. She has more rights than anybody else, even her fans in keeping those items. They may have a money value for her fans, but no matter what, I am sure, they have a family value.
    I respect others opinios, and at the same time, I would like to ask: Is it just because Lucy was famous, that her “personal” items have to be sold?
    If Luckinbill intentions were to give the items to the Museum and believe that act is less selfish than selling them to just who can buy those. In a Museum, anybody, and I repeat, anybody can see them.
    I think that Morton’s wife was not respectful at all in giving what does not belong to her away for an auction. Even she may have legal rights to do so. We can see peoples heart…
    Rest in Peace Mrs. Lucille Ball and Mr. Desi Arnaz

  6. Frank Controne says

    RED SAM-

    Yeah, Lucie Arnaz is chocked full of talent……..

    If it wasn’t for her mother, she’d be a school bus driver.

  7. Red Sam Rackham says

    Lucie Arnaz has in the past shown herself to be a talented actress in her own right. Too bad that instead of pursuing her own career she’s capitalizing on being Lucy’s and Desi’s daughter.

  8. beeker says

    @FreddyFillmore: Let’s see… Lucie wants her Mother’s awards in a museum, and you find that freaky and controlling? You would rather defend Morton’s ex for profitting off of a television legend that she has no tie to.

  9. sarah says

    And by the way….if Lucy Arnez is a control freak then good for her! Obviously the people auctioning it off didnt appreciate Lucy. They will see their foolish choices when they realize when they’re old that the stuff they sold so cheap is going for millionsa.

  10. sarah says

    This is incredible to me. Lucille Ball’ was a legend. She created entertainment that enriched the silly imaginations of young people especially. Everybody laughed till they hurt over her stuff. The people writing the submissionsions obviously did not have a clue about who they are talking about, the most respected and first comedianne , a pioneer in comedy and television entertainment. This is stuff that belonged t american icon that will be remebered in history books about the United Stated It needs to be in the blood relatives hands. It should where Lucy herself would want it to go.

  11. Freddy Fillmore says

    Look, if Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill had her way, I’d have to get her approval first before even typing a comment about Lucille Ball on a message board – or rather, I’d have to pay a licensing fee for typing the name “Lucy.” She’s an absolute and notorious control freak when it comes to her mother’s estate. Bottom line, whatever Lucy left for Gary Morton when she died was then owned by Morton. When he died, it belonged to whoever he left it to, regardless of whether or not Lucie approves. This nutty daughter is desperately clinging to a dying franchise. “I Love Lucy” will probably always be beloved by TV viewers and TV historians alike for all it brought to the medium. Like it or not, that will be Lucy’s only lasting legacy as the years go by and her other sitcoms and the rest of her career is largely forgotten. Every year there are fewer and fewer people who care about this stuff. But Lucie’s insistence that she be the sole gatekeeper for all things Lucy borders on creepy. You don’t hear Desi, Jr. acting this way. Bottom line, anyone who bought any of the Lucy memorabilia at the auction is a fan. Isn’t that enough? That this stuff was going to fans? If she wanted everything, she could have easily bid on and purchased it all.

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