2008 11:23 pm
Lucille Desiree Ball was born on August 6, 1911 in in her grandparents apartment in Jamestown, New York and died on April 26, 1989 in Los Angeles, California.
When in her teen years, Lucy left home for New York City with hopes of becoming an actress. She settled for modeling and then later becoming an Earl Carroll Show Girl. While in New York, Lucy was discovered by an agent for Samuel Goldwyn. In 1933, Lucy was chosen as a Goldwyn Girl and soon left New York to go to Hollywood to appear in her first movie, "Roman Scandals". She soon moved on to Columbia and RKO Studios. It was here that Lucy auditioned for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" and was not chosen.
In 1940, Lucy met Desi Arnaz. Desi joined the cast of Lucy's latest picture "Too Many Girls". It was "love at first sight." Lucy, 29, married Desi, 23, in a civil ceremony on November 30, 1940. With Desi touring with his band, and Lucy starring in movies, they saw very little of eachother. Finally, in 1942, together they appeared in a Vaudeville style stage revue in New York. This stage show later inspired the TV sitcom,"I Love Lucy".
Lucy first filed for divorce in the year 1944. It was the combination of rumors of Desi's womanizing and the toll of never seeing eachother that led to the this decision. But, the night before the court date, Desi met with Lucy and reconciled. On June 19, 1949, Lucy and Desi were married again in a Catholic ceremony.
Lucy dyed her hair red for the technicolor cameras at MGM. It became her permanent trademark. In 1944, after scoring big with her first few MGM movies, Lucy appeared in "Zigfield Follies" which was released in 1946. Lucy also had a successful radio show with Richard Denning entitled, "My Favorite Husband". In 1950, TV was becoming very popular and as a result CBS wanted to transfer "My favorite Husband" to television. Lucy wanted Desi to costar, but the network rejected the idea, 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. By 1951, a pilot had been shot for "I Love Lucy" starring the couple as husband and wife. Two days after CBS received the pilot, the Phillip Morris Co. became a sponsor and "I Love Lucy" was born. "I Love Lucy" won five Emmys and over twenty nominations during its original run.
Lucy gave birth to her daughter, Lucie in 1951. On January 19, 1953, her son Desi Arnaz Jr. was born. His birth was the same day she had Desi Jr. that little Ricky was born on TV! This episode, "Lucy goes to the Hospital," was the most watched show in television history at the time.
In 1954 Lucy and Desi co-starred in the hit movie "The Long, Long Trailer" and in 1956 another movie starring Lucy and Desi in "Forever Darling" was released. Lucy made an appearance on the TV show, "I've got a Secret" to help push the film.
"I Love Lucy" stopped production at the end of the 1957 season. Lucy and Desi grew tired of their weekly series and were getting more involved with other productions in their own company Desilu. By 1958 Desilu had bought RKO Studios and now owned the very lot they first worked. Thirteen hilarious "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour"s were produced by 1960. However, throughout all this success, intense friction grew between the couple. By now, with personal problems and business pressures were weakening the couples once strong relationship. Lucy filed for divorce in 1960 and this time it became final. The divorce was filed right after the final episode of "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" wrapped up called "Lucy Meets the Mustache."
Lucy decided to continue her acting career after the divorce. She filmed "Facts of Life" with Bob Hope and then in 1960 performed "Wild Cat" on Broadway. While in New York, Lucy was introduced to Gary Morton, a nightclub comedian. They fell in love and were married on November 16, 1961. In 1962, Lucy began a new series with Vivian Vance called the "The Lucy Show". In 1966, Lucy began another series called "Here's Lucy." The cast included her children, Lucie and Desi Jr.
In 1974, Lucy had made her last picture, "Mame". At this time, she had logged twenty years on television. From 1974 through 1985 Lucy kept herself busy with guest appearances and TV specials. Lucy didn't return to a weekly sitcoms until 1986 with Gale Gordon. It was called "Life With Lucy" and only ran two months before being pulled from the ABC schedule because of low ratings.
Lucy was honored dozens of times throughout the years. She was among the first inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. She was an honoree of the Museum of Broadcasting and also earned an Emmy Award.
In March 1989, Lucy appeared on the annual Academy Awards Telecast to a standing ovation. It turned out to be her last public appearance. Lucy passed away a week after heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 77 years old.