|Height:||171 cm (5' 8'')|
|Birth Day:||August 6, 1911|
|Death Date:||Apr 26, 1989 (age 77)|
|Birth Place:||Jamestown, United States|
|Height:||171 cm (5' 8'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Lucille Ball died on Apr 26, 1989 (age 77).
She briefly worked under the stage name of Diane Belmont, but was unable to keep a job as a chorus girl on Broadway.
As part of her father's work for Bell Telephone, he was frequently transferred and the family moved often during her childhood. The family had moved from Jamestown to Anaconda, Montana, and later to Trenton, New Jersey. In February 1915, while living in Wyandotte, Michigan, her father died from typhoid fever at 27 years old, when Ball was three. At the time of Henry's death, DeDe Ball was pregnant with her second child, Fred Henry Ball (1915–2007). Ball recalled little from the day her father died, except a bird getting trapped in the house which caused her lifelong ornithophobia.
In 1925, Ball, then only 14, started dating Johnny DeVita, a 21-year-old local hoodlum. Her mother was unhappy with the relationship, and hoped the romance she was unable to influence would burn out. After about a year, her mother tried to separate them by exploiting Ball's desire to be in show business. Despite the family's meager finances, in 1926 she enrolled Ball in the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts, in New York City, where Bette Davis was a fellow student. Ball later said about that time in her life, "All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened." Ball's instructors felt she would not be successful in the entertainment business, and were unafraid to directly state this to her.
When Ball was twelve, her stepfather encouraged her to audition for his Shriner's organization that was in need of entertainers for the chorus line of their next show. While Ball was onstage, she realized performing was a great way to gain praise and her appetite for recognition was awakened. During this time in 1927, her family was forced to relocate into a small apartment in Jamestown after they suffered a misfortune when their house and furnishings were sold to settle a financial legal judgment. A neighborhood boy was accidentally shot and paralyzed by someone target shooting in their yard under the supervision of Ball's grandfather.
In the face of this harsh criticism, Ball was determined to prove her teachers wrong and returned to New York City in 1928. That same year, she began working for Hattie Carnegie as an in-house model. Carnegie ordered Ball to dye her then-brown hair blonde, and she complied. Of this time in her life, Ball said, "Hattie taught me how to slouch properly in a $1,000 hand-sewn sequin dress and how to wear a $40,000 sable coat as casually as rabbit."
In 1932, she moved back to New York City to resume her pursuit of an acting career, where she supported herself by again working for Carnegie and as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. Using the name Diane (sometimes spelled Dianne) Belmont, she started getting chorus work on Broadway, but it was not lasting. Ball was hired – but then quickly fired – by theatre impresario Earl Carroll from his Vanities, and by Florenz Ziegfeld, from a touring company of Rio Rita.
In 1936, she landed the role she hoped would lead her to Broadway, in the Bartlett Cormack play Hey Diddle Diddle, a comedy set in a duplex apartment in Hollywood. The play premiered in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 21, 1937, with Ball playing the part of Julie Tucker, "one of three roommates coping with neurotic directors, confused executives, and grasping stars, who interfere with the girls' ability to get ahead". The play received good reviews, but problems existed with star Conway Tearle, who was in poor health. Cormack wanted to replace him, but producer Anne Nichols said the fault lay with the character and insisted the part needed to be rewritten. Unable to agree on a solution, the play closed after one week in Washington, DC, when Tearle became gravely ill.
When Ball registered to vote in 1936, she listed her party affiliation as Communist.
Like many budding actresses, Ball picked up radio work to supplement her income and gain exposure. In 1937, she appeared regularly on The Phil Baker Show. When its run ended in 1938, Ball joined the cast of The Wonder Show starring Jack Haley. There began her 50-year professional relationship with the show's announcer, Gale Gordon. The Wonder Show lasted one season, with the final episode airing on April 7, 1939.
To sponsor the Communist Party's 1936 candidate for the California State Assembly's 57th District, Ball signed a certificate stating, "I am registered as affiliated with the Communist Party." The same year, she was appointed to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California, according to records of the California Secretary of State. In 1937, Hollywood writer Rena Vale, a self-identified former Communist, attended a Communist Party new members' class at Ball's home, according to Vale's testimony before the United States House of Representatives' Special House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), on July 22, 1940. Two years later, Vale affirmed this testimony in a sworn deposition:
Ball later auditioned for the role of Scarlett O'Hara for Gone with the Wind (1939), but Vivien Leigh got the part, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. In 1940, Lucy appeared as the lead in the musical Too Many Girls when she met and fell in love with Desi Arnaz, who played one of her character's four bodyguards in the movie.
In 1940, Ball met Cuban-born bandleader Desi Arnaz while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. When they met again on the second day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year. Although Arnaz was drafted into the Army in 1942, he ended up being classified for limited service due to a knee injury. As a result, Arnaz stayed in Los Angeles, organizing and performing USO shows for wounded GIs being brought back from the Pacific.
MGM producer Arthur Freed purchased the Broadway hit musical play DuBarry Was a Lady (1943) especially for Ann Sothern, but when she turned down the part, that role went to Ball, Sothern's real-life best friend. In 1943, Ball portrayed herself in Best Foot Forward. In 1946, Ball starred in Lover Come Back. In 1947, she appeared in the murder mystery Lured as Sandra Carpenter, a taxi dancer in London.
In a 1944 British Pathé newsreel, titled Fund Raising for Roosevelt, Ball was featured prominently among several stage and film stars at events in support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fundraising campaign for the March of Dimes. She stated that in the 1952 US Presidential Election, she voted for Republican Dwight Eisenhower.
Ball filed for divorce in 1944, obtaining an interlocutory decree; however, she and Arnaz reconciled, which precluded the entry of a final decree.
In 1948, Ball was cast as Liz Cooper (at first "Cugat"; this was changed because listeners were getting the characters confused with a real-life bandleader, Xavier Cugat, who sued), a wacky wife, in My Favorite Husband, a radio comedy for CBS Radio.
On July 17, 1951, one month before her 40th birthday, Ball gave birth to daughter Lucie Désirée Arnaz. A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to her second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr. Before he was born, I Love Lucy was a solid ratings hit, and Ball and Arnaz wrote the pregnancy into the show. (Ball's necessary and planned caesarean section in real life was scheduled for the same date that her television character gave birth.)
On September 4, 1953, Ball met privately with HUAC investigator William A. Wheeler in Hollywood and gave him sealed testimony. She stated that she had registered to vote as a Communist "or intended to vote the Communist Party ticket" in 1936 at her socialist grandfather's insistence. She stated she "at no time intended to vote as a Communist":
Ball appeared on 39 covers of TV Guide, more than any other person, including its first cover in 1953 with her baby son, Desi Arnaz Jr. TV Guide voted Lucille Ball as the 'Greatest TV Star of All Time' and it later commemorated the 50th anniversary of I Love Lucy with eight collector covers celebrating memorable scenes from the show. In 2008, it named I Love Lucy the second-best television program in American history, after Seinfeld.
In October 1956, Ball, Arnaz, Vance, and William Frawley all appeared on a Bob Hope special on NBC, including a spoof of I Love Lucy, the only time all four stars were together on a color telecast. By the end of the 1950s, Desilu had become a large company, causing a good deal of stress for both Ball and Arnaz.
Sponsor Philip Morris pressured the couple into relocating, not wanting day-old kinescopes airing in major East Coast markets, nor did they want to pay the extra cost that filming, processing, and editing would require. Instead the couple offered to take a pay cut to finance filming, which Arnaz did on better quality 35 mm film and on the condition that Desilu would retain the rights of each episode once it aired. CBS agreed to relinquish the post-first-broadcast rights to Desilu, not realizing they were giving up a valuable and enduring asset. In 1957, CBS bought back the rights for $1,000,000 ($9.1 million in today's terms), providing Ball and Arnaz's down payment for the purchase of the former RKO Pictures studios, which they turned into Desilu Studios.
A scene in which Lucy and Ricky practice the tango, in the episode "Lucy Does The Tango", evoked the longest recorded studio audience laugh in the history of the show – so long that the sound editor had to cut that section of the soundtrack in half. During the show's production breaks, Lucy and Desi starred together in two feature films: The Long, Long Trailer (1954) and Forever, Darling (1956). After I Love Lucy ended its run in 1957, the main cast continued to appear in occasional hour-long specials under the title The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour until 1960.
In 1959, Ball became a friend and mentor to Carol Burnett. She guested on Burnett's highly successful CBS-TV special Carol + 2 and the younger performer reciprocated by appearing on The Lucy Show. It was rumored that Ball offered Burnett a chance to star on her own sitcom, but in truth Burnett was offered (and declined) "Here's Agnes" by CBS executives. She instead chose to create her own variety show due to a stipulation that was on an existing contract she had with CBS. The two women remained close friends until Ball's death in 1989. Ball sent flowers every year on Burnett's birthday.
Along the way, Ball created a television dynasty and achieved several firsts. She was the first woman to head a TV production company: Desilu, which she had formed with Arnaz. After their divorce in 1960, she bought out his share and became a very actively engaged studio head. Desilu and I Love Lucy pioneered a number of methods still in use in TV production today, such as filming before a live studio audience with a number of cameras, and distinct sets, adjacent to each other. During this time, Ball taught a 32-week comedy workshop at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. She was quoted as saying, "You cannot teach someone comedy; either they have it or they don't."
The 1960 Broadway musical Wildcat ended its run early when producer and star Ball couldn't recover from a virus and continue the show after several weeks of returned ticket sales. The show was the source of the song she made famous, "Hey, Look Me Over", which she performed with Paula Stewart on The Ed Sullivan Show. Ball hosted a CBS Radio talk show entitled Let's Talk to Lucy in 1964–65. She also made a few more movies including Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968), and the musical Mame (1974), and two more successful long-running sitcoms for CBS: The Lucy Show (1962–68), which costarred Vivian Vance and Gale Gordon, and Here's Lucy (1968–74), which also featured Gordon, as well as Lucy's real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. She appeared on the Dick Cavett show in 1974 and spoke of her history and life with Arnaz.
On March 3, 1960, a day after Desi's 43rd birthday (and one day after the filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour), Ball filed papers in Santa Monica Superior Court, claiming married life with Desi was "a nightmare" and nothing at all as it appeared on I Love Lucy. On May 4, 1960, the couple divorced; however, until his death in 1986, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other. Her real-life divorce indirectly found its way into her later television series, as she was always cast as an unmarried woman.
Ball was the recipient of tributes, honors and many prestigious awards throughout her career and posthumously. On February 8, 1960, she was given two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one at 6436 Hollywood Boulevard for contributions to motion pictures, and one at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to the arts and sciences of television.
Desilu produced several other popular shows, such as The Untouchables, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible. The studio was eventually sold in 1967 for $17,000,000 ($130 million in today's terms) and merged into Paramount Pictures.
In 1976, CBS paid tribute to Ball with the two-hour special "CBS Salutes Lucy: The first 25 Years."
Aside from her acting career, she became an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge in 1979.
Ball was a well-known gay rights supporter, stating in a 1980 interview with People: "It's perfectly all right with me. Some of the most gifted people I've ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?"
During the mid-1980s, Ball attempted to resurrect her television career. In 1982, she hosted a two-part Three's Company retrospective, showing clips from the show's first five seasons, summarizing memorable plotlines, and commenting on her love of the show.
A 1985 dramatic made-for-TV film about an elderly homeless woman, Stone Pillow, received mixed reviews. Her 1986 sitcom comeback Life with Lucy, costarring her longtime foil Gale Gordon and co-produced by Ball, Gary Morton, and prolific producer Aaron Spelling was cancelled less than two months into its run by ABC. In February 1988, Ball was named the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year.
On December 7, 1986, Ball received recognition as a Kennedy Center Honors recipient. The portion of the Honors event focused on Ball was particularly poignant, as Desi Arnaz, who was scheduled to introduce Lucy at the event, had died from cancer just five days earlier. Friend and former Desilu star Robert Stack delivered the emotional introduction in the place of Arnaz.
In May 1988, Ball was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack. Her last public appearance, just one month before her death, was at the 1989 Academy Awards telecast in which she and fellow presenter Bob Hope were given a standing ovation.
On April 18, 1989, Ball complained of chest pain at her home in Beverly Hills and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with a dissecting aortic aneurysm and underwent surgery to repair her aorta and a successful seven-hour aortic valve replacement.
Posthumously, Ball received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush on July 6, 1989, and The Women's International Center's 'Living Legacy Award'.
On June 7, 1990, Universal Studios Florida opened a walk-through attraction dedicated to Ball, Lucy – A Tribute, which featured clips of shows, as well as various pieces of trivia about her, along with items owned by or associated with Lucille, and an interactive quiz for guests. The attraction was permanently closed on August 17, 2015.
On August 6, 2001, the United States Postal Service honored what would have been her 90th birthday with a commemorative postage stamp as part of its Legends of Hollywood series.
For her contributions to the Women's Movement, Ball was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.
In accordance with Ball's wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes were initially interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. In 2002, her children moved her remains to the Hunt family plot at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, New York, where her parents and grandparents are buried. Her brother's remains were also interred there in 2007.
The Friars Club named a room in its New York clubhouse for Lucille Ball (the Lucille Ball Room). She was posthumously awarded the 'Legacy of Laughter' award at the fifth Annual TV Land Awards in 2007. In November 2007, Lucille Ball was chosen as number two on a list of the '50 Greatest TV Icons', however, a public poll, chose her as number one.
Since 2009, a statue of Ball has been on display in Celoron, New York, that residents deemed "scary" and not accurate, earning it the nickname "Scary Lucy". On August 1, 2016, it was announced that a new statue of Ball would replace it on August 6. However, the old statue had become a local tourist attraction after receiving media attention, and it was placed 75 yards (69 m) from its original location so visitors could view both statues.
On August 6, 2011, Google's homepage displayed an interactive doodle of six classic moments from I Love Lucy to commemorate what would have been Ball's 100th birthday. On the same day, a total of 915 Ball look-alikes converged on Jamestown to celebrate the birthday and set a new world record for such a gathering.
In 2015, it was announced that Ball would be played by Cate Blanchett in an untitled biographical film, to be written by Aaron Sorkin.
In a 2017 episode Will & Grace payed homage by replicating the 1963 shower scene from the episode “Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower", from The Lucy Show. Three years later, Will & Grace dedicated an entire episode to Lucille Ball, by recreating four scenes from I Love Lucy. .
Ball was portrayed by Sarah Drew in the play I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom, a comedy about how Ball and her husband battled to get their sitcom on the air. It premiered in Los Angeles on July 12, 2018, co-starring Oscar Nuñez as Desi Arnaz, and Seamus Dever as I Love Lucy producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer. The play was written by Oppenheimer's son, Gregg Oppenheimer.
Lucille was married to co-star Desi Arnaz from 1940 to 1960. Lucille was married to Gary Morton from 1961 to her death in 1989.
|#2||Lucie Arnaz||Daughter||$20 million (2017)||N/A||69||Producer|
|#3||Henry Durrell Ball||Father||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#4||Desi Arnaz||Former spouse||$20 Million||N/A||69||Actor|
|#8||Flora Belle Orcutt||Grandmother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#11||Desiree Evelyn Hunt||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#12||Gary Morton||Spouse||$2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||74||Producer|
Currently, Lucille Ball is 111 years, 0 months and 7 days old. Lucille Ball will celebrate 112th birthday on a Sunday 6th of August 2023. Below we countdown to Lucille Ball upcoming birthday.
Happy Birthday Lucille Ball! Relive Her 6 Most Memorable Scenes
I Love Lucy is one of those shows that never gets old no matter how many times you watch it.