August 6: Lucille Ball- "I Love Lucy" - was born on this date in 1911 - 100 years-ago...

... she died on April 26, 1989 at the age of 77.

Lucille Désirée Ball was an American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy.

One of the most popular and influential stars in the United States during her lifetime, with one of Hollywood's longest careers, especially on television.

Ball was nominated for an Emmy Award thirteen times, and won four times. In 1977 Ball was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award.

She was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986 and the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1989.


Lucy was born in Jamestown, New York, although she told many people that she was born in Butte, Montana. When she was 3, her family did move to Anaconda, Montana and then to Wyandotte, Michigan.

In 1927 Ball enrolled at the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. A fellow student was actress Bette Davis. Ball went home a few weeks later when drama coaches told her that she "had no future at all as a performer."

Undaunted, in 1929, she landed work as a fashion model. Her career was thriving when she became ill with rheumatoid arthritis and was unable to work for two years. She moved to New York City once again in 1932 to resume her pursuit of a career as an actress, and had some success as a fashion model for designer Hattie Carnegie and as the Chesterfield cigarette girl.

She began on Broadway under the name Dianne Belmont. She was hired—but then quickly fired—by theatre impresario Earl Carroll from his Vanities, and by Florenz Ziegfeld from a touring company of Rio Rita.

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Lucille Ball (The Best of Old Time Radio/Legendary Performers)The Long, Long Trailer


She was let go from the Shubert brothers production of Stepping Stones. After an uncredited stint as one of the Goldwyn Girls in Roman Scandals in 1933, she permanently moved to Hollywood to appear in films. In 1929, Ball landed work as a model and later began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name Dianne Belmont. She appeared in many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures. Ball was labeled as the "Queen of the Bs" (referring to her many roles in B-films).

She appeared in many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures, including a two-reel comedy short with the Three Stooges (Three Little Pigskins,) and Room Service with the Marx Brothers. She was also one of the featured models in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Roberta, and briefly as the flower girl in Top Hat, as well as a brief supporting role at the beginning of Follow the Fleet.

Ball met and eloped with Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940. In 1951, Ball was pivotal in the creation of the television series I Love Lucy. The show co-starred her then-husband, Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz, the Ricardos' landlords and friends.

On July 17, 1951, at almost 40 years old, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie Désirée Arnaz. A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to their second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr.

The show ended in 1957 after 180 episodes. Then, some minor adjustments were made to the program's format - the time of the show was lengthened from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, new characters were added, the storyline was altered, and the show was renamed The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which ran for three seasons (1957–1960) and 13 episodes. Ball and Arnaz divorced on May 4, 1960. In 1962, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu; a studio that produced many successful and popular television series.

Ball went on to star in two more successful television series: The Lucy Show, which ran on CBS from 1962 to 1968 (156 Episodes), and Here's Lucy from 1968 to 1974 (144 episodes). Her last attempt at a television series was a 1986 show called Life with Lucy - which failed after 8 episodes aired, although 13 were produced.

On April 26, 1989, Ball died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm at age 77. At the time of her death she was married to her second husband and business partner, standup comedian Gary Morton for more than twenty-seven years.
Lucy was awarded the Legacy of Laughter award at the fifth Annual TV Land Awards in 2007, and I Love Lucy was named the Greatest TV Series by Hall of Fame Magazine. In November of that year, Lucille Ball was chosen as the second out of the 50 Greatest TV Icons, after Johnny Carson. In a poll done by the public, however, they chose her as the greatest icon.

On August 6, 2011, which would have been her hundredth birthday, Google honored Ball with an interactive doodle on their homepage. This doodle displayed six classic moments from the I Love Lucy sitcom.



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