Actress Lucille Ball touched so many souls before she died at age 77 in 1989 of an acute aortic aneurysm. “My grandmother was a regular girl from upstate New York,” Lucille’s granddaughter, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, exclusively recalled to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “She didn’t set out to be anyone’s icon.”

Kate especially remembered Lucille being “a really good grandma” to her because she wasn’t around that much for her mother, Lucie Arnaz, when she was a little girl. “She was just so busy,” Kate explained, but that didn’t stop her from loving her grandma with all of her heart.

Lucille Ball
Getty Images

“I remember her giving me these incredible bubble baths. She loved to wrap me up in towels and do my hair and makeup,” Kate gushed. “She’d dress me in these silk pajamas and let me take a nap on her California king-size bed — it was just the most expansive, largest thing I’d ever seen in my life!”

This spring, Kate is set to give birth to Lucy’s first great-grandchild. Though she wishes her grandma could be alive to meet her baby, she knows she’ll take of her child the same way Lucy took care of her as a kid.

“She would make a whole adventure happen for me. “Did I want to go out and swim? Did I want to play in the playhouse outside? Did I want to eat?” she recalled about the activities she and Lucy would do when she visited her at home. “It felt like my world and she was just living in it.”

Kate Luckinbill-Conner
Getty Images

Having Lucy as a grandma was one of the best experiences that Kate has ever had. The I Love Lucy star taught her granddaughter a lot about what it means to be a woman. “She wanted to be a mom, and she wanted to be a wife. She also wanted to be an actress and a comedian, and she was determined to do it all,” Kate said. “She was humble, and she was a real person who just didn’t take no for an answer.”

Be sure to check out and subscribe to our Classic TV & Film Podcast for interviews with your favorite stars! 

For more on your favorite stars, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!

Closer Weekly