She assumed an aloof, cold and arrogant persona when being interviewed, and in her professional and private life, she was unforgiving, harsh, and her heart basically closed. Fans who are intimate with Lucy Ricardo will definitely be shocked: the just cannot connect that zany, lovable character with the other Lucille Ball that appeared on talk shows. That just shows you how damn talented she was as an actress because in actual fact, even though young Lucille was not either extreme, she certainly was a "hard-bitten show girl", who was warm and sweet to a specially selected few. Lucille didn't do that physical comedy act in real life (but she certainly had a great sense of humor). That was why Desi didn't want her to appear on talk shows; he knew that the audience would be shocked.
However, people should give her true character some credit. Lucille could display spontaneous humor if she wanted to! The fact that she was so humble and self-effacing and kept claiming that "I'm not funny, what I am is brave" created a self-fulfilling prophecy and she (and others) ultimately believed that she was void of humor. Watch candid videos of her, you'd be surprised that she would occasionally throw hilarious comments every now and then.
She really had no idea how much she was loved. Her fans loved her just as much, and more surprisingly, you'd realize from viewing YouTube videos of interviews with the post-divorce Miss Ball that everyone regarded her with such high esteem that even the most vicious talk show host would be careful in skirting this topic.
She must have intimidated her family and friends a lot, because no one managed to open up her heart again. I'd like to think that she finally did, 2 days before Desi's death, because she told him "I love you. I love you, Desi. I love you," over and over again as she wept. It was the saddest but most beautiful moment, sad that the two people who were meant to love each other were about to be separated by life and death, beautiful that she finally made the leap to express her love openly. Lucille really had an astounding capability to love, and this is evident if you would study pictures and videos of her, and come on, she endured a marriage full of alcohol and whores because she loved Desi so much, didn't she, but this capability for love was buried deep in her.
I really love her.