One of the greatest comedic actresses was born on August 6, 1911. She was Lucille Desiree Ball and became a most loved redhead. My mom was born the same year as Lucy of course oceans apart but the amazing thing was that she greatly resembled the famous actress. My mom always liked that and pointed out the resemblance.
Lucy started off her life in Jamestown, New York and at the young age of 15 headed off to New York City to go to drama school and achieve her dream of becoming an actress. Unfortunately, she kept on failing to make it into the Broadway chorus lines. To continue pursuing her dream she took waitressing jobs and also became a model. Finally in 1933 Ball was hired as the Chesterfield Cigarette Girl. This meant that she could get lots of exposure. She also started getting bit parts in Hollywood movies and landed leading roles in B-movies in the 1930s and 1940s. Fate was kind when in 1940 Ball met a Cuban bandleader named Desi Arnaz during the time she was acting in “Too Many Girls”. The couple fell in love and eloped.
Ball was the star of a radio program “My Favorite Husband” from 1947 to 1951. When CBS TV decided to make the program into a TV series it was Ball who demanded that her husband Arnaz be cast as her husband. So it was that the popular TV show “I Love Lucy” saw the light of day and it ran from 1951 to 1957. I still enjoy finding old episodes and watching them. Good comedy never gets boring. I don’t think the show would have made it if Lucy and Ricky were not actually man and wife.
What is a fascinating fact is that on January 19, 1953, while Lucy Ricardo was giving birth to Little Ricky on the show that same night Lucille Ball became the mother of her second child a son named Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha 4th. That is quite a mouthful so it was good that on TV the little boy was called Little Ricky. That night everybody was glued to the TV following the escapades of nervous dad Ricky and happy mom Lucy. It was viewed by about 44 million viewers and a million of those viewers called to congratulate the parents, sent telegrams, letters, and gifts. So even if they responded to the imaginary parents on TV the real parents, the actors did actually have a baby. At that time they already had a daughter named Lucie.
Ball and Arnaz had their own production company Desilu and due to the success of “I Love Lucy” the company blossomed into a multimillion-dollar business. The couple divorced in 1960. Ball went on to star in several other “Lucy” programs such as “The Lucy Show” which was on the air for six seasons and “Here’s Lucy” in which she starred with her two children. Desi Arnaz passed away in 1986 and Lucille Ball died on April 26, 1989, at the age of 77.
The U.S. Postal Service gave out a commemorative stamp in her honor in 2001. I don’t know about you but I still love Lucy and the shows still make me laugh and smile.