Vivian Vance Net Worth, Early Life, Career Highlights, Awards, Personal Life, Marriages and Death

Published Date   10th Sep. 2017, 23:00 pm
Vivian Vance Net Worth, Early Life, Career Highlights, Awards, Personal Life, Marriages and Death
Quick Info
Birth Name: Vivian Roberta Jones
Nationality: American
Net Worth: $10 million

American television theatre actress and singer Vivian Vance net worth accelerated through her astounding performances during 1900s.


Born in 1909, Vivian Vance was an American theatre and television actress. In addition, she made her prominence through singing as well. Vivian Vance net worth grew through her popular roles as Ethel Mertz on the television sitcom I Love Lucy and as Vivian Bagley on The Lucy Show.

Early Life and Background

Vivian Vance was born Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas. She was born as the second child of Robert and Euphemia Jones. Vance grew up with her five siblings in Independence, Kansas. She went to Independence High School where she began her drama studies.

Since her mother’s belief and her passion for actin conflicted, Vance grew to be more rebellious. She would often sneak out of her bedroom and stay out after curfew hours. Eventually, she changed her surname and then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. She went there with an ambition to become an actress.

When she was a teenager, she first performed at the Albuquerque Little Theatre in 1930. In the theatre, she gradually got a number of roles. As a result, she appeared in plays including This Thing Called Love and The Cradle Song.

Vance later moved to New York City. The local theatre helped her to get there to study acting under Eva Le Gallienne.

Professional Career Highlights

Vivian Vance net worth started to increase with her Broadway appearances. She first appeared in Broadway in 1932 where she did a number of shows. Vance usually worked as a member of chorus. However, she later replaced Kay Thompson in Hooray for What! (1937). In 1941 popular musical show Let’s Face It! Vance starred with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden.

Vance’s appearances gained wide recognition as a result of which she landed film roles. Vivian Vance net worth increased as she first appeared in revival of The Cradle Will Rock (1947). After this, she moved to California and stayed in Los Angeles. While her stay there, she appeared in The Secret Fury (1950) and The Blue Veil (1951). Through these appearances, she earned positive notices.

Vance had before worked with director Marc Daniels. Therefore, Daniels suggested her for the role of Ethel Mertz in new television sitcom, I Love Lucy (1951). He not only suggested her for the role, but also took the producer Jess Oppenheimer to La Jolla Playhouse to show Vance’s performance in the play The Voice of the Turtle.

Her performance grabbed their attention due to which she earned the role as the ideal actress to play Ethel Mertz. She was 42 when she won the role of the show, I Love Lucy, which first aired on October 15, 1951 on CBS. She continued to play Ethel Mertz on The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show during late-1950s.

In The Lucy Show, Vivian Vance appeared as “Vivian” since she was tired of people calling her “Ethel” instead of Vivian. She played Vivian Bagley in the show that aired from 196; however, she decided to leave the show in 1965.  Therefore, the name of the show changed to “Lucy” after she left the show.

After leaving the show, Vance got an offer from Desilu Studios, which gave her an opportunity to direct. However, this contract never got successful as they did reach an agreement on salary. She later made a few guest appearances in then ongoing The Lucy Show.

After The Lucy Show, Vivian Vance net worth continued to grow as she signed to appear in The Great Race. She took this as an opportunity to restart career in films. Even though the film earned moderate success and several Academy Awards nominations, it did not turn to be a fruitful one for Vance as a movie actress.

Consequently, Vance returned to Broadway through Woody Allen’s Don’t Drink Water. She has also appeared in 1963 comedy My Daughter, Your Son which didn’t last long due to its lack of success. Later, Vance made a number of guest appearances. She guest appeared in Here’s Lucy (1968-73), Rhoda (1975), The Front Page (1970), Getting Away From It All (1972) and The Great Houdini (1976).

Her last appearance was in Lucy Calls the President, which aired on November 21, 1977. The same year,  she got paralyzed due to stroke.

Awards and Honors

Through the role of Ethel Mertz, Vivian Vance net worth grew as she received Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. The award turned to be more honorable as she was the first actress to win Emmy in 1954. Moreover, she earned three more Emmy Award nominations before the series ended.

Personal Life and Marriages

Vivian Vance married literary agent/editor/publisher, John Dodds in January, 1961. They owned a home in Stamford, Connecticut. However, the couple moved to California in 1974. They remained married until Vance’s death in 1979.

Before marrying Dodds, she had married three times which all ended up in divorce. Her first marriage was with Joseph Shearer Danneck, Jr. in 1928 which ended with divorce in 1931. Similarly, her second and third husbands are George Koch and Philip Ober. She was married to George Koch from 1933 to 1940 while to Ober from 1941 to 1959. Ober used to abuse her physically.

Death and Cause of It

Vance got diagnosed with breast cancer in 1973. Therefore, she and her husband moved to California so that she could be near to her sister. On August 17, 1979, Vance died of bone cancer.

After her death, her family members donated her Emmy Award to Albuquerque Little Theatre. After 12 years of her death, she was honored with Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7030 Hollywood Boulevard. She is memorialized in the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz enter in New York.

Salary and Net Worth

One of the remarkable actresses of American acting industry, Vivian Vance net worth is $10 million which she accumulated through her spellbinding performance.

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