For more than 50 years, Lucille Ball brought joy and laughter into the homes of millions of people, especially with her iconic comedy sitcom, I Love Lucy. But while we know the actress through all the legendary work she brought us, those who were close to her know how truly special she was.

“Her ability to make people laugh and the fact that the comedy she did was basically timeless. It was not politically motivated and it wasn’t tied into anything of the moment. It was tied into human foils if you will,” Tom Watson, a friend of the comedian, exclusively told Closer Weekly of what he believed her legacy is while at the Lucille Ball Lobby Tribute at The Hollywood Museum.

Lucille Ball
CBS Television Distribution

Another close friend who also worked with her, Michael Stern, had a similar take on Lucy’s legacy. “The nice thing is, she made people laugh. No matter what generation you were. You could have been five years old or 105. I loved when I used to watch TV with my grandfather. He didn’t speak a word of English, but we could laugh together watching Lucy,” he said

However, while Lucy was extremely famous, she wasn’t exactly aware of it. “She never knew how big of a star she was. Everyone knew who she was and it was hard for her to comprehend all that,” Michael explained. “Fans would come up to her all the time, but she knew how to have privacy even in a large crowd of a thousand people.”

Michael added, “She would know to go in a corner and have the back toward everybody. But, with that red flaming hair, people knew who she was. “I mean, she walked into a place and the audience went crazy. We would go into a theater and everybody knew it was Lucy. People would stand and give her an ovation and she would turn around and go, ‘Who’s that for? Who’s that for?’ It’s like, ‘It’s for you, Lucy.'”

Lucille Ball
Getty Images

While Lucy will always be known for numerous accomplishments in the industry, Tom believes she was most proud of her “work” and “family.” “She used to say, ‘Don’t build any monuments to me. Either my work will speak for itself or it won’t,'” Tom revealed.

Lucy died at the age of 77. She left behind two children — Lucie and Desi Jr. — that she shared with her I Love Lucy costar and husband, Desi Arnaz, who passed away three years prior to her.

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