Lucile Désirée Ball was a multifaceted woman who has worn many hats, including that of an actor, producer, comedian, model, and more. Born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, Lucy left her home at a young age to become an actress in New York. However, her dreams were not realized immediately and she had to settle for modeling jobs. On one of her modeling gigs, she landed the part of an Earl Carroll showgirl. She had to take a break from her career for two years due to continued illness and had to return to her hometown. Luckily, she was spotted by an agent during this time, and she finally landed a role in the movie, Roman Scandals in 1933.
She was an official Goldwyn girl now and appeared in many of their movies, including Kid Millions (1934). Lucille Ball did many other movies for production houses like RKO and Columbia. The year 1937 gave her a big break, Stage Door. Lucy met her future husband, Desi Arnaz, who was a newcomer in the industry, during the production of her next movie, Too Many Girls. They instantly fell in love and shortly thereafter, got married. However, the couple had to stay apart for much of the time that they were together. First, Desi was touring with his band while Lucy was working in movies. Later in 1943, Desi was drafted into the army. Lucy was signed with MGM and appeared on the Armed Forces Radio with none other than Mel Blanc. Technicolor cameras at MGM were the reason that she became a redhead, a look that would later become her signature. Her association with MGM was very successful, resulting in a trail of hit movies.
1944 was a tumultuous year for Lucy’s personal life, when she filed for divorce from Desi. Although the distance played its role, it was Desi’s alleged affairs that led to her decision. However, in a very Hollywood-like twist, the two met just the night before their court hearing and sorted things out. In fact, by 1950, Ball and Desi formed Desilu Productions that produced many theater acts in which the couple acted. Actually, the two went on this national tour to prove to the CBS executives that the public will accept an all-American girl married to a Latin man. The story is that with TV becoming more popular, CBS wanted Lucy’s hugely popular radio show, My Favorite Husband, to be broadcasted on television. Lucy wanted Desi to co-star the show, but the network executives were skeptical of the masses accepting them as a couple. Lucy admirably put her point through.
In 1951, the iconic ‘I Love Lucy’ was born. This show was groundbreaking not only in terms of its popularity, but also because she was the first woman head of a production house. The show ended in 1957 after winning 5 Emmys across its six seasons. Even after the show, the Desilu Studios kept going strong well into the sixties. Some other shows she starred in were The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.
After 20 eventful years and two children, Desi and Lucy decided to part ways in 1960. Ball continued to perform in Broadway shows, television and movies. In 1961, she married Gary Morton, who was a well-known comedian of the time.
Lucy Ball breathed her last in 1989 due to a ruptured aorta. She was a legendary actress, who appeared in over 80 movies and performed numerous hours on television and radio. She gave the good 50 years of her life to show business and on her death the sign outside CBS studios said it all – They needed a laugh in Heaven. Goodbye Lucy. You can watch lots of reruns of Lucy’s TV shows when you subscribe to one of the DIRECTV satellite TV packages.