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Keith Thibodeaux
Born December 1, 1950 (1950-12-01) (age 59)
Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.
Other name(s) Richard Keith
Occupation Actor, musician
Years active 1956 – present
Spouse(s) Kathy Denton (1976 – present)
For the football player, see Keith Thibodeaux (American football).

Keith Thibodeaux (born December 1, 1950) is a former child actor and musician, best known for playing "Little Ricky" in the popular I Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour television shows. He is credited for those series as Richard Keith. His last name is Cajun French and was changed by Desi Arnaz for the show since "Thibodeaux" is somewhat difficult to pronounce for the average American viewer. As a child Thibodeaux also made numerous appearances on The Andy Griffith Show, between 1962 and 1966, as Opie's friend "Johnny Paul Jason". He also accepted small roles on other popular television shows.

Thibodeaux is also a musician who showed skill on the drums at a young age. Thibodeaux was making $500 a week at the age of 3, touring with the Horace Heidt Orchestra, when he was "discovered" by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, who hired him for the role of "Little Ricky" because he looked so much like Desi. He frequently played the drums on the show.

In 1969, Thibodeaux joined a rock group called David and the Giants. The group primarily toured throughout southern states and enjoyed a few regional hits. In 1971, when he reached the age of 21, he received the final payment of $8,000 from a trust fund set up during his days on I Love Lucy. He spent half of that payment on a sports car and the rest on sound equipment for the band.

In 1976, Thibodeaux married a ballet dancer named Kathy Denton. The couple then moved to Southern California. It was around this time that Thibodeaux converted to Protestant Christianity.

Thibodeaux returned to the southern United States in 1979, where he and his wife settled in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1979, Thibodeaux decided to return to his band David and the Giants only to learn that the other band members had also become Christians. The band released nearly ten albums in the 1980s and 1990s for Epic Records and the band's own label Giant Records.

In 1990, he became the manager for his wife’s company, Ballet Magnificat.

Thibodeaux's role in I Love Lucy is featured in the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York.


  • Bernard, Shane (2003). The Cajuns: Americanization of a People. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-523-2.  

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