Lucille Ball: Biography
A biography on the life and times of Lucille Ball, who is best known as Lucy Ricardo on the successful fifties television series "I Love Lucy".
The world famous comedic actress, Lucille Ball, was born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. She knew she wanted to be an actress from the time she was very young, so her mother sent her to acting school. Unfortunately, she was kicked out, being told she had no acting talent whatsoever. Despite this crushing information, Lucy did not give up her dream of becoming an actress. This dream was eventually realized and she proved the acting school wrong.
Lucille moved to Hollywood in her late teens to break into movies. Her first part was in the Ziegfield Follies. Then in 1940, she starred in a movie called “Too Many Girls” and her costar was Cuban actor Desi Arnaz. The two fell in love and eloped in November of that year. They later starred in many movies together, two of which are “The Long, Long Trailer” and “Forever Darling.”
Lucille and Desi, who had both been signed under the RKO production company, ran into trouble when it went out of business. They quickly recovered from this downfall by buying the RKO studio lot, and renaming it “Desilu”. Many shows were filmed at Desilu Studios, including “The Andy Griffith Show”, starring Andy Griffith and Ronny Howard.
Lucille starred in the 1950’s television sitcom, “I Love Lucy” (a Desilu production) with her husband, Desi Arnaz. She played a wacky housewife who was constantly getting into trouble, and Desi played her husband, Ricky Ricardo, the Cuban bandleader. The series was based in New York City. The Ricardos' best friends and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz, were played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance. Vivian Vance later went on to play opposite Lucille in “The Lucy Show”. Lucy Ricardo eventually had a baby, becoming the first women to be portrayed as pregnant on television. “Little Ricky” was played by Keith Tibodeux.
“I Love Lucy” went on to rule the air waves throughout the 1950’s decade, and Lucy Ricardo became America’s favorite housewife. Even today, “I Love Lucy” is still the most rerun sitcom on television.
Lucille was blacklisted in the red scare, along with several others in the entertainment industry. Though she was not a communist herself, she had once registered as a communist to please an eccentric grandmother. This had long been forgotten, until McCarthy’s blacklist came out and her name was on it. She was fortunately able to denounce the charge, though with much trouble. Many others who were blacklisted were not so fortunate, and had their lives and careers ruined.
Shortly after “I Love Lucy” ended, Desi and Lucy divorced. They had been unhappy for a long time, but had stayed together anyway for the duration of the show. They had two children from their marriage, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz. Though their marriage had failed, Lucille and Desi still remained friends throughout the rest of their lives.
Lucille died in 1989, at the age of seventy-eight. She was having open-heart surgery to fix a problem with her aorta, and unfortunately did not survive it. Even after her death, Lucille Ball will always be remembered as one of the best comedic actresses of all time.