Lucille Desiree Ball was born in Celeron, New York on August 6, 1911. Her father died when she was only three, which required her mother to work long hours to support the family. As a take-charge youngster, Lucy took it upon herself to take on odd jobs to help bring in some extra money for the family—the oddest of these jobs being a “seeing-eye guide” for a blind soap peddler. Lucy learned to be independent from a young age and did not to rely on others to meet her needs. This trait grew strong in her and carried through into her adulthood.
Lucy left for New York City’s John Murray Anderson Drama School when she was 15. Although her love for acting and performing was deep within her, she felt outshined by the other glamour girls enrolled in the school, especially the star pupil—a brunette beauty named Bette Davis. This caused Lucy to become shy and unconfident in her drama classes, and her instructors were continually frustrated with her. Eventually the school sent her home and encouraged her to look into another career field, because she didn’t have “what it took” to make it as an actress. Following her failure in drama school, she decided to try a career in modeling. She modeled under the name of Diane Belmont and was quite successful in this career field. In 1933 she became nationally recognized as the Chesterfield Cigarette Girl. But her love for acting never left her.
A few years later, following an almost paralyzing bout with rheumatoid arthritis, she was discovered by a talent scout for Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios. He offered to sign her on with Metro as a “Goldwyn Girl” and, not surprisingly, she leapt at the chance. She packed her bags and headed for Hollywood. She had a few walk-on parts before she was cast in her first role—a slave girl in Roman Scandals alongside Eddie Cantor. As a Goldwyn Girl, her platinum blonde hair and classic beauty turned heads and earned her several more title and supporting B movie roles.
Soon after, Lucy moved on to work with Columbia and RKO Studios. It was during her contract here that people began to take notice of her talents, in films such as Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Stage Door with Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. But it wasn’t until Lucy appeared with the Marx Brothers in Room Service that her brilliant comedic talent began to unearth. The actresses of that time were the glamorous types and were not agreeable to taking a pie in the face or doing physical stunts. Lucy was not afraid to do either.
In 1940, Lucy was cast in the RKO Studios picture, Too Many Girls. It was during this project that her life was changed forever. She was introduced to a handsome Cuban singer named Desi Arnaz, who had recently signed on with RKO and was cast in the picture as one of her co-stars. Although an unlikely match, the two were instantly attracted to each other and an intense relationship ensued quickly.
Later that year, (1940) Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz eloped. As Lucy said, “It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a full five minutes.” Despite their clear love for each other, their marriage was not easy. Lucy had 3 miscarraiges over several years and Desi had a wandering eye but the two were finally able to be a mom and dad which made television history. (First TV show to show a pregnancy)
(Lucy had 2 children: Lucie Desiree Arnaz and Desidario Alberto (Desi) Arnaz, Jr.)
Regarding her later divorce Lucy said,
“Desi was the great love of my life. I will miss him until the day I die. But I don’t regret divorcing him. I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
When Lucy first did the now famous show it was for radio. Her talent was clear. Lucy’s hilarious portrayal of “Liz” automatically won her the title role for the sitcom, but she said that she would only sign on if they agreed to cast her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, as her husband on the sitcom. The producers were hesitant, thinking that audiences wouldn’t believe a beautiful, young American girl being married to a Cuban bandleader. But Lucy wouldn’t budge on the deal. Fearing that the show wouldn’t be successful without her, the producers reluctantly agreed. Lucy and Desi both signed on and I Love Lucy was, of course, the huge success she had been waiting and hoping for.
“I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.” – Lucille Ball, 1989 (the year of her death)
a tribute to Lucy from here
And now for some glamour shots of the beautiful star in her prime!
“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore faith in yourself.” – Lucille Ball
What a talented and beautiful lady. Check out this AMAZING work history: on her official website: http://www.lucy-desi.com/library/filmography.html