Professional Name: Lucille Ball
Birth Name: Lucille Désirée Ball
Birth Date: 6 August 1911
Birth Place: Jamestown, New York, USA
Date of Death: 26 April 1989
Place of Death: Beverly Hills, California, USA (acute heart attack)
Profession: Actress, Producer
Notable Works: TV show "I Love Lucy"
In New York, after returning to Jamestown for two years because of illness, Lucy was spotted by an agent for Samuel Goldwyn. The year was 1933, Lucy had been chosen as a Goldwyn girl and left for Hollywood to appear in her first movie ("Roman Scandals" with Eddie Cantor).
Lucy appeared in a score of Goldwyn films including "Kid Millions" in 1934, she soon moved on to Columbia and RKO Studios. She had bit roles in many movies including "Top Hat" and in 1936 appeared in the comedy short "So & Sew".
Radio and more movies followed, including "Stage Door" in 1937, Lucy considered it her big break. She co-starred with Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. The next year, Lucy appeared in the Marx Brothers farce, "Room Service". While filming "Room Service" Lucy tested unsuccessfully for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind".
As 1940 rolled in, a newcomer was signed to RKO Studios that would eventually change Lucy's life around. Desi Arnaz, a Cuban conga player and singer, had just joined the cast of Lucy's latest film, "Too Many Girls". One night when the cast went out dancing at a club, Desi asked Lucy to join him. It was love at first sight.
After a whirlwind courtship, Lucy, 29, wed Desi, 23, in a civil ceremony on November 30, 1940. The newlyweds lived apart most of the time, with Desi touring with his band, and Lucy starring in movies. Finally, during the war, in 1942, they appeared together in a Vaudeville style stage revue in New York. The show that would later inspire "I Love Lucy".
In early 1943, with Desi now in the army, and Lucy just recently signed with MGM, she appeared on Armed Forces Radio with Mel Blanc among others.
Lucy became a redhead for the technicolor cameras at MGM, and it became her permanent trademark.
In 1944, after scoring big with her first few MGM movies, Lucy appeared in "Ziegfeld Follies," it was released in 1946.
It was also in 1944, that Lucy had filed for divorce. Constantly apart because of their careers, combined with consistent rumors of Desi's womanizing, caused the decision. However, the night before the court date, Desi met Lucy and worked things out, Lucy dropped the suit, and for future fans as well as the Arnazes, the best was yet to come!
In 1945, she appeared in a small role as herself in "Abbott & Costello in Hollywood". In 1947 while continuing in movies, Lucy began a successful radio comedy with Richard Denning called "My Favorite Husband".
On June 19, 1949, the marriage going strong, Lucy and Desi married again in a Cathloic ceremony. The same year saw the release of "Fancy Pants," her second film co-starred with Bob Hope.
By 1950, TV was getting more and more popular. CBS wanted to transfer "My Favorite Husband" to television. Lucy wanted Desi to co-star, but the network refused, saying "The public won't go for an All-American girl like Lucy married to a Latin." Lucy set out to prove them wrong. She started by successfully touring with Desi in theaters all over the country. The couple also appeared together on TV for the first time ever, on "The Ed Wynn Show".
By 1951, a pilot had been shot starring the couple as man and wife. Two days after receiving it CBS got Philip Morris Co. to act as sponsor and "I Love Lucy" was born. "I Love Lucy" won 5 Emmy Awards with over 20 nominations during its original run.
Lucy had given birth to a daughter, Lucie, in 1951. On January 19, 1953, she had Desi Jr. Born to her the same day little Ricky was on TV. "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" was the most watched show in TV history at the time.
Early 1956 found the relase of another movie starring Lucy & Desi (following "The Long, Long Trailor" in 1954), "Forever Darling".
At the end of the 1957 season, "I Love Lucy" stopped production. Lucy and Desi tired of a weekly series, and were getting more involved with other productions through their company Desilu. In fact, by 1958, Desilu had bought RKO Studios and now owned the very lot where they once worked.
The "I Love Lucy" cast continued now in occasional "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours" as part of "Desilu Playhouse," a weekly anthology series. Thirteen of them were produced by 1960. However, the intense friction grew between the couple. By now, with personal problems and business pressures plaguing the couple, Lucy files for divorce, this time for keeps. The divorce was filed after the final show wrapped.
Following dicorce proceedings, Lucy decided to continue her career. She filmed "Facts of Life" with Bob Hope, and then by late 1960, did "Wildcat" on Broadway. While in New York, Lucy was introduced to nightclub comedian Gary Morton. The two fell in love and were married on November 19, 1961. She then appeared in a segment of the "Victor Borge Comedy Theater" with Gale Gordon. The segment was directed by Desi Arnaz.
In 1962, she came back with Vivian Vance in a new TV series on CBS, "The Lucy Show". By the mid-60s she was continuing the series as well as finding time for numerous guest appearances. By 1968 the show became "Here's Lucy" and her children Lucie and Desi Jr. were regular cast members.
In 1974, Lucy starred in her last movie, "Mame". With her weekly series now ended, Lucy had logged 23 years on TV.
From 1974 through 1985, Lucy kept herself busy with occasional guest appearances and TV specials. After appearing in the TV movie "Stone Pillow" in 1985, Lucy made her return to a weekly sitcom in 1986. The show co-starred Gale Gordon. However, with surprisingly low ratings, "Life with Lucy" had only run several weeks before being pulled from the network schedule.
Lucy had been honored dozens of time through the years. She was the first woman inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, an honoree of the Museum of Broadcasting and an Emmy Award winner.
In March 1989, Lucy appeared on the annual Academy Awards telecast to a standing ovation. It turned out to be her last public performance. Lucy passed away the next month after undergoing heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 77 years young.
After her death the sign next to CBS Studios at Television City in California read: "They needed a laugh in Heaven. Goodbye Lucy".
Aside from numerous guest spots and TV specials, Lucy appeared in over 80 movies, 180 "I Love Lucy"'s, 13 "Lucy-Desi Hours", 156 "Lucy Show"'s and 144 "Here's Lucy"'s in a career that spanned over 50 years.
- Mother of Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr..
-Was the first woman to own her own film studio.
-Born a brunette, but later red hair became her trademark.
-Once registered as a voter for the Communist party as a favor to her grandfather.
-Lucy and her son, Desi Arnaz Jr., appeared together on the very first cover of "TV Guide" magazine in 1953.
-Died the morning of April 26, 1989, the fifty-sixth birthday of her friend Carol Burnett. That afternoon Burnett received the flowers that Ball had ordered for her birthday.
-During the 1933 filming of Roman Scandals (1933), young Lucille Ball, portraying a slave girl, needed to have her eyebrows entirely shaved off. They never grew back.
-Lucy and Desi Arnaz began "I Love Lucy" (1951) in the hopes of saving their crumbling marriage.
-She was fired from working at an ice cream store because she kept forgetting to put bananas in banana splits.
-She put her Chesterfield cigarettes in a Phillip Morris package to please her sponsor (of the "I Love Lucy" (1951) show).
-Was one of the 20 original 'Goldwyn Girls', along with Virginia Bruce, Ann Dvorak, Paulette Goddard and Betty Grable.
-For many years durring their marriage Lucy and Desi hid the fact that she was six years older then him by splitting the difference in their ages. She (born in 1911) said she was born in 1914 and he (born in 1917) also said he was born in 1914.
-Was known for a while as Dianne Belmont back when she was a model.
-Her favorite movie she made was The Big Street (1942). She always resented AMPAS for not recognizing her performance in the movie by including her for an Academy Award nomination.
-Stricken by rheumatoid arthritis early in her modeling career and spent 2 years re-learning how to walk.
-Felt that she did not deserve the title of "Queen of Comedy" and that it belonged to her idol, Carole Lombard.
-Lucy and Desi were married at the Byram River Beagle Club in Connecticut in 1940.
-Lucy and Desi were married a second time in 1946 in a church because his mother believed that the reason they didn't have children yet was because they were never married in the Catholic Church.
-Lucy filed for divorce from Desi in the 1940s, but didn't go through with it because they reconciled.
-The day she first met Desi Arnaz, she had a black eye and a torn dress from filming a fight scene from the movie "Dance, Girl, Dance" and he didn't find her at all attractive until they met again later in the day when she had changed into her own clothes and makeup.
-The original Desilu was Lucy and Desi's ranch in Chatsworth, CA. They were inspired by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford's estate "Pickfair."
-When they were first married in 1940, Desi had to give Lucy a ring from a drugstore because all jewelry stores were closed. She wore it for the rest of their marriage.
"I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that's good taste."
"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
"I'm not funny. What I am is brave."
"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
"A man who correctly guesses a woman's age may be smart, but he's not very bright"
(About her meeting Desi Arnaz for the first time): "It wasn't love at first sight. It took a full five minutes."
"Desi was the great love of my life. I will miss him until the day
I die. But I don't regret divorcing him. I just couldn't take it anymore."