Lucille Ball (born August 6, 1911, Jamestown, New York, U.S.-died April 26, 1989, Los Angeles, California) was a radio and motion-picture actress and an iconic television comedy star. She is best known for her appearance in the television comedy series I Love Lucy. She was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, U.S., and passed away on April 26, 1989, in Los Angeles, California.
In 1940, Ball came across Cuban musician Desi Arnaz while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. They immediately became friends, and they got married on November 30, 1940, 2 months following the film's opening. Even though Arnaz was called into the Army in 1942, he was categorized for limited service because of injuries to his knee. He was able to stay there in Los Angeles, organizing and performing USO shows for wounded G.I.s who returned to the Pacific.
The Ball was divorced in 1944 and obtained an interlocutory decree. However, she and Arnaz came to an agreement, which prevented the entering of a final divorce decree. On July 17, 1951, which was less than three weeks before her 40th birthday, Ball became a mother to a girl she named Lucie Desiree Arnaz. Two and a half years later, she gave birth to Desiderio Arnaz IV, better known by the name of Desi Arnaz, Jr. Upon his birth, I Love Lucy was a top-rated show in the ratings. Ball and Arnaz incorporated her pregnancy into the storyline of the show. Ball's cesarean delivery during her real-life birth was planned on the same day that her character gave birth on television.
On March 3, 1960, Ball filed a divorce in Santa Monica Superior Court, saying that her marriage to Desi was "a nightmare" and nothing really happened as it did in the television show, I Love Lucy. The following day, on May 4, they got divorced; however, until the time of his death in 1986, Arnaz and Ball were friends and frequently talked about each other with affection. The divorce she experienced in real life eventually was incorporated into her subsequent television show since she was always depicted as an unmarried woman and a widow.
The next year Ball appeared in the Broadway musical Wildcat with co-stars Keith Andes and Paula Stewart. It built the foundation of her 30-year-long friendship with Stewart. He will later introduce Lucille to her second spouse Gary Morton. He was a Borscht Belt comic who was 13 years younger than her. Morton and Ball were married on November 19, 1961. Based on Ball's statement, Morton said that he had never watched I Love Lucy due owing to his busy schedule. She quickly enrolled Morton in her production company, where she taught him about the television business and later promoted him to the producer. He also played a few parts in her different shows.
The Ball was determined from a young age to be an actress. She quit high school at 15 to attend an acting college located in New York City. Early attempts to secure an opportunity in the theatre were met with resistance, and she was offered an opportunity to model under the name of Diane Belmont. She had moderate success as an actress, and a poster in which she was featured brought her to the attention of Hollywood studios. She was awarded roles on the screen in Roman Scandals (1933), Blood Money (1933), Kid Millions (1934), and many other films.
Ball continued to be in Hollywood and played bigger roles in a number of films: Carnival (1935), Five Came Back (1939) along with Too Many Girls (1940), where she along with her to-be-husband famous Cuban actor and bandleader Desi Arnaz appeared in lead roles. She got married in 1940. In the ten years that they were together, they had distinct careers, with him as a bandleader and she as an actress in movies who was usually featured in B-grade comedy films. She was a major character on The Big Street (1942) together with Henry Fonda, Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), Without Love (1945), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Sorrowful Jones (1949), and Fancy Pants (1950). The comedies she made were all successful at the box office. However, they did not utilize her vast talents.
In 1950, Ball, together with her then-husband (Arnaz), formed Desilu Productions, which, after testing the idea of a radio show, began in the month of October 1951 a T.V. comedy show titled I Love Lucy. With the two of them in a comedy version of their real lives, the show became instantly popular, and for the next 6 years, the show remained at the top of television ratings. I Love Lucy proved to be an excellent platform for her exceptional comedy talents. In her role as Lucy, who was a witty housewife who often devised strategies to get herself out of her home, Ball showcased her expertise in time management, physical comedy, and the range of her characterization.
A number of technological innovations in television transmission were put forth by this show (notably using three cameras to shoot the program) which set the bar for comedy in situations and was a success in reruns for years. In the years that followed, Ball and Arnaz also appeared in numerous films, including The Long, Long Trailer (1954).
In the meantime, Desilu bought RKO Pictures, began producing additional shows for television, and eventually became one of the top businesses in a highly competitive market. Ball and Arnaz got divorced around the year 1960. The following year, she was named the president of Desilu and became the first woman of her time to head a major Hollywood production house. She was in The Broadway show Wildcat in the years 1960-61 before returning to television with The Lucy Show (1962-68). She returned to film work by starring in Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) and Mame (1974).
In 1967, Ball quit Desilu and founded her own company Lucille Ball Productions, which was the producer of her third T.V. show, Here's Lucy (1968-74). The actress continued to appear in special productions as well as guest appearances. In 1985, she portrayed the role of a Manhattan bag lady in the T.V. movie Stone Pillow. The final and fourth television show, Life with Lucy, ran for two months in 1986. The Ball passed away three years later.
Ball has left a mark with her talent that has and will continue to inspire future generations of comedians. The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Centre, with a museum devoted to I Love Lucy, is an attraction that is a hit among tourists, situated in Jamestown, New York.
In April of 1989, Ball got admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles following chest discomfort. The doctor diagnosed her with a dissecting aortic aneurysm and was operated on for repair of her aorta and an adequate seven-hour replacement of the aortic valve.
On the morning of April 26, Ball woke up with intensive back pain. She then lost consciousness. She passed away around 5:47 a.m. PDT. She was 77 years old. Doctors concluded that Ball suffered from ruptured abdominal aneurysms, which were not directly linked to her operation. A higher incidence of an aortic aneurysm can be seen in smokers who smoke cigarettes, and Ball was a regular smoker throughout her entire life.
Three funeral services were held in memory of Ball. She was cremated. Her remains were later taken to and buried in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery (Los Angeles), where her mother's remains are buried too. In 2002, Ball's, as well as her mother's remains, were returned to the Hunt family burial site in Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown in compliance with Ball's wish to be buried with her mother. The remains of her brother were also put in the cemetery in 2007.
While Ball passed away in 1989, her legacy has had an enormous impact on the work of many female comedians. In the long span of her career, she worked with a variety of women who were able to impart her vast knowledge to the younger generation.
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