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Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball

American actress and businesswoman


Lucille Desiree Ball was born August 6, 1911 (Jamestown, New York, USA).

While in acting school her peers, Betty Davis among them, seemed more fortunate, and her teacher told her that she had "no future as an actress." However, she began working, appearing first on Broadway and then moving to Hollywood to get a role in a movie. After signing a contract with RKO Pictures, she got a few good roles ("High Society," 1935; "Dance Girl," 1940), but mostly played small roles in second-rate films. In the 1940s she signed a contract with MGM, but did not achieve much, and in Hollywood she was called a "second-rate queen."

In 1940, Ball met Cuban musician Desi Arnaz among the actors in Too Many Girls (1940). After a dizzying romance, the couple married. A few years later, Ball starred in the radio comedy My Favorite Husband. In 1950, CBS offered to make a pilot television version of the show. Ball and Arnaz wanted starring roles, but CBS felt that audiences were not ready for a Cuban married to an American woman. In the end, the couple persuaded to let them play, taking professional and financial risks. "I Love Lucy" came out in 1951 and became the model for all subsequent sitcoms. The show ran for six years, despite actor conflicts, off-shoots, stiff competition and Ball and Arnaz's two children. The couple divorced in 1960, but continued to play the same roles in "The Lucy Show" and "Here and Lucy," occasionally interrupting to work in movies ("Yours, Mine and Ours," 1968; "Mame," 1974).

She died in 1989 (Los Angeles, California, USA).


April 26, 1989
Lucy dies while recovering from heart surgery.
March 29, 1989
Lucy makes one of her last appearances on the 61st Annual Academy Awards.
December 2, 1986
Desi dies of lung cancer.
Her fourth tv show, Life with Lucy, premieres on ABC and is cancelled after only eight weeks.
November 5, 1985
Plays a bag lady in the CBS movie, Stone Pillow.
Lucy is awarded the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Lifetime Achievement Citation for acting.
May 18, 1982
Lucy hosts a tv special called "The Best of Three's Company".
August 19, 1979
Vivian Vance dies.
CBS cancels Here's Lucy.
April 24, 1968
Stars alongside Henry Fonda in Yours, Mine and Ours.


Further Resources


Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Papers, 1915–1990



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