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Irene Kampen; Humorist Inspired 'Lucy Show'

February 04, 1998

Irene Kampen, 75, author and humorist whose autobiography generated a Lucille Ball television series. Born in Brooklyn and educated in journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Kampen worked briefly at the New York Journal-American and Levittown Tribune in Long Island. But after marriage and motherhood, she settled into the 1950s domestic life in Ridgefield, Conn. She divorced and invited another divorcee with a young son to move in with her and her daughter and wrote a book about her experiences, "Life Without George." When the 1961 book came to the attention of "I Love Lucy" producers, stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had divorced and "Lucy" wanted a new solo show. So the book sparked "The Lucy Show," which began in 1962. Kampen wrote several other humorous books including "The Ziegfeld's Girl" in 1964, "Europe Without George" in 1965, "Due to Lack of Interest Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled" in 1969 and "Nobody Calls at This Hour Just to Say Hello" in 1975. Her short stories and articles appeared in such magazines as McCall's, Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, Reader's Digest and Good Housekeeping. On Sunday in Oceanside, Calif., of breast cancer.

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