Tropicana Room Lunch with Gregg Oppenheimer
2 West Third Street
Jamestown, NY, 14701
Gregg Oppenheimer, son of "I Love Lucy" creator-producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer, began his "comedy career" at the age of four, when his father introduced him to Lucille Ball on the set of I LOVE LUCY. Kneeling down, a smiling Lucy asked Gregg, "Where did you get those big brown eyes?" Gregg's deadpan reply: "They came with the face." Lucy nearly fell over laughing.
After a brief stint as a rehearsal cameraman on "The Debbie Reynolds Show," Gregg left Hollywood for M.I.T., where he received a degree in Art and Design, then a law degree in 1977 from U.C. Berkeley. In 1986 Gregg became a partner in the international law firm of O'Melveny & Myers (headed by Clinton Secretary of State Warren Christopher).
After Jess Oppenheimer's death in 1988, Gregg spent several years doing research in his spare time to complete his father's unfinished memoirs. In the process he became one of the world's foremost authorities on "I Love Lucy," renewing old friendships with many who had worked on the show. Ultimately, Gregg decided to give up practicing law to pursue a writing career.
"Laughs, Luck...and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time," by Jess Oppenheimer with Gregg Oppenheimer, was published in 1996 by Syracuse University Press and went through seven hardcover printings before its 1999 paperback release.
In 1998, Gregg adapted "Laughs, Luck...and Lucy" into the audiobook "I Love Lucy: Behind the Scenes." Narrated by three-time "I Love Lucy" veteran Larry Dobkin, the audiobook broke new ground with its integration of Lucy's actual radio and TV performances into the narrative. "Publisher's Weekly" gave it a "Listen Up Award," naming it "Pop Culture Audiobook of the Year."
Gregg has appeared on the CBS News, 20/20, Entertainment Tonight, A&E's Biography, Donnie & Marie, CNN, E! Entertainment Television, MSNBC, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, Granada Television (U.K.), and NHK (Japan), among others.
Gregg has directed scores of radio plays starring such talented performers as Lucie Arnaz, Laurence Luckinbill, Dick Van Patten, Simon Jones, Harold Gould, Charlotte Rae, Marilu Henner, Will Hutchins, and Diana Canova.
For most of the last decade Gregg worked with CBS as producer of the "I Love Lucy" DVDs, a project for which Gregg has received two TV DVD Awards.
On August 6, 2011, Lucille Ball's 100th birthday, Gregg's humorous play, "I Love Lucy: The Untold Story" - based on his father's memoir - was broadcast nationwide on SiriusXM Satellite Radio from the stage of the Reg Lenna Theatre in Jamestown, New York - Lucy's birthplace. On October 15, 2011, the 60th anniversary of the TV debut of "I Love Lucy", Gregg directed a benefit performance of the play at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's Country House, featuring such actors as Dick Van Patten ("Eight Is Enough"), Phil Proctor (founder of the legendary Firesign Theatre comedy troupe), Amy Pietz ("Caroline in the City"), Richard Herd ("Seinfeld"), and "I Love Lucy" veterans Janet Waldo ("Peggy Dawson," the bobby-soxer who had a crush on Ricky Ricardo) and Shirley Mitchell (Lucy Ricardo's girlfriend "Marion Strong"). Gregg's new audiobook compilation, "I Love Lucy: The Untold Story", features that entire benefit performance, together with the award-winning "I Love Lucy: Behind the Scenes," plus a 15-minute Bonus Track: a never-before-released 1961 interview with Jess Oppenheimer about the creation of "I Love Lucy." All royalties from the audiobook benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund - caring for those in the entertainment community who are in need. Available on iTunes and at Amazon.com, Audible.com, and Audiobooks.com.
Gregg lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Debbie.
The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center
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