Lucy Arnaz wanted to emphasize Chronicles of Austin that, contrary to an old Wikipedia error, Lucille Ball’s mother had nothing to do with Arnaz not starring as Rizzo in “Grease”. “She would never step in front of my career like that, never. Never!” Arnaz said. Lucy Arnaz was really up for the role of Rizzo and even passed the audition. But Arnaz believed that the real reason she wasn’t in the film was because “it was actually a dumber story and they should have included it, but I’m glad they didn’t.”
Arnaz explained that Grease’s director and co-producer guaranteed her the role of Rizzo. However, Michael Eisner, then Paramount executive, insisted on auditioning other actors first. Arnaz had already been cast in a Milwaukee production of Bye Bye Birdie and claimed that if she had pulled out of the play as it was approaching production, she would have had to pay the show’s producers $5,000. The clock continued to tick, but the Grease producers were still unwilling to sign the contract.