I Love Lucy actress Vivian Vance had a successful career in Hollywood playing Ethel Mertz on the beloved ’50s sitcom and subsequent spin-offs. As for her family life, Vivian, who died of cancer in August 1979, was married four times over the years, but never had any children. To learn more, keep reading.

Vivian Vance was married four times:

The Kansas native married her first husband, Joseph Shearer Danneck Jr., in 1928. The pair later split in 1931. Come 1933, Vivian married her second husband, George Koch. After calling it quits with George in 1940, Vivian married her third husband, Philip Ober, in 1941. The two went on to divorce in 1959. 

Vivian and her fourth husband, John Dodds, tied the knot in 1961 and remained married until her death in 1979. 

Did Vivian Vance have kids?

During her time in the spotlight, Vivian never addressed her decision not to have children. However, she was the godmother to John Sebastian, the frontman of the band The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Ultimately, it appears as though Vivian regarded her I Love Lucy costar Lucille Ball as her family. “[We] were just like sisters,” Vivian once gushed. “We adored each other’s company.”

Toward the end of Vivian’s life, Lucy remained by her side. “They spent the afternoon telling stories, hugging and loving each other. When Lucy left, you could tell it was an extraordinarily painful goodbye,” Paige Peterson, a close friend of Vivian, recalled to Closer of the pair’s last time together. 

After Vivian’s death, Lucy said: “No one could take the place of Vivian Vance in my life. She was the greatest partner anyone could ever have.”

In fact, many argue that Lucy and Vivian were a greater pair than Lucille and costar Desi Arnaz.

“It took several months of filming for Ms. Ball to realize what she had with Vivian,” Geoffrey Mark, author of The Lucy Book and Ella: A Biography of the Legendary Ella Fitzgerald, penned “which is why, as the show goes on, the Ethel Mertz character gets more and more prominent, because she realized that as well as she and Desi worked together, actually the better team was Lucy and Ethel.”