Lucille Ball

Actor, Comedian, Producer
As one of America's most beloved comediennes and one of Hollywood's more astute businesswomen, the legendary Lucille Ball rose from being a B-movie film actress to one of television's most iconic figures, boasting more ... Read more »
Born: 08/06/1911 in Jamestown, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (119)

That's Entertainment! III 1994 (Movie)

Song Performer (Actor)

Wisecracks 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

I Love Lucy: The Very First Show 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

America's Tribute to Bob Hope 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Television Academy Hall of Fame 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

All Star Party For Clint Eastwood 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope's High-Flying Birthday Extravaganza 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Entertaining the Troops 1987 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Life With Lucy 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The 38th Annual Emmy Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The ABC Fall Preview Special 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Buys NBC? 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

All-Star Party For Lucille Ball 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob! 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Lucy Moves to NBC 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Sinatra -- The First 40 Years 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

The Music Mart 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Cher and Other Fantasies 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

General Electric's All-Star Anniversary 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Lucy Comes to Nashville 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

A Tribute to "Mr. Television," Milton Berle 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob! 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

CBS: On the Air 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Circus of the Stars 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Gene Kelly... An American in Pasadena 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lucille Ball Special 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's World of Comedy 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Swing Out, Sweet Land 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

A Show Business Salute to Milton Berle 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Here's Lucy 1968 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Mame 1974 (Movie)

Mame (Actor)

Steve and Eydie... On Stage 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (12/09/73) 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

A Salute to Television's 25th Anniversary 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Jack Benny's 20th Anniversary TV Special 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Super Comedy Bowl 1 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (11/16/70) 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Ann-Margret: From Hollywood With Love 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Dinah Shore Special -- Like Hep 1968 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lucy Show 1962 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

Yours, Mine and Ours 1968 (Movie)

Helen North (Actor)

A Guide For the Married Man 1967 (Movie)

Guest Star (Actor)

The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour 1966 - 1967 (TV Show)

Actor

Have Girls -- Will Travel 1964 - 1965 (TV Show)

Actor

Critic's Choice 1962 (Movie)

Angela Ballantine (Actor)

The Bob Hope Show (02/15/61) 1960 - 1961 (TV Show)

Actor

Hedda Hopper's Hollywood 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

The Desilu Playhouse 1958 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

The Desilu Revue 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

The Facts of Life 1960 (Movie)

Kitty Weaver (Actor)

I Love Lucy 1951 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Forever, Darling 1956 (Movie)

Susan Vega (Actor)

The Long, Long Trailer 1954 (Movie)

Tacy Collini (Actor)

Fancy Pants 1950 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sorrowful Jones 1949 (Movie)

(Actor)

Lured 1947 (Movie)

Sandra Carpenter (Actor)

Without Love 1945 (Movie)

Kitty Trimble (Actor)

Seven Days Leave 1941 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dance, Girl, Dance 1939 (Movie)

(Actor)

Too Many Girls 1939 (Movie)

(Actor)

Room Service 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Stage Door 1936 (Movie)

Judith Canfield (Actor)

Bunker Bean 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

That Girl From Paris 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

I Dream Too Much 1934 (Movie)

(Actor)

Top Hat 1934 (Movie)

Flower shop clerk (Actor)

A Beverly Hills Christmas (TV Show)

Actor

A Girl, a Guy and A Gob (Movie)

Dot Duncan (Actor)

Annabel Takes a Tour (Movie)

Annabel Allison (Actor)

Beauty for the Asking (Movie)

Jean Russell (Actor)

Best Foot Forward (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Bulldog Drummond (Movie)

(Actor)

Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (Movie)

Bit Part (Actor)

Carnival (Movie)

Nurse (Actor)

Du Barry Was a Lady (Movie)

May Daly/Madame Du Barry (Actor)

Easy to Wed (Movie)

Gladys Benton (Actor)

Follow the Fleet (Movie)

Kitty Collins (Actor)

Having Wonderful Time (Movie)

Miriam (Actor)

Her Husband's Affairs (Movie)

Margaret Weldon (Actor)

Hollywood: The Golden Years (TV Show)

Actor

Jealousy (Movie)

Girl (Actor)

Joy of Living (Movie)

Salina (Actor)

Kid Millions (Movie)

A 1934 Goidwyn Girl (Actor)

Look Who's Laughing (Movie)

Julie Patterson (Actor)

Meet the People (Movie)

Julie Hampton (Actor)

Miss Grant Takes Richmond (Movie)

Ellen Grant (Actor)

Old Man Rhythm (Movie)

College Girl (Actor)

Panama Lady (Movie)

Lucy (Actor)

Roman Scandals (Movie)

Slave Girl (Actor)

Stone Pillow (TV Show)

Actor

The Affairs of Annabel (Movie)

Annabel (Actor)

The Affairs of Cellini (Movie)

Bit Part (Actor)

The Big Street (Movie)

Gloria (Actor)

The Bowery (Movie)

Bit Part (Actor)

The Dark Corner (Movie)

Kathleen (Actor)

The Fuller Brush Girl (Movie)

Sally Elliot (Actor)

Twelve Crowded Hours (Movie)

Paula Sanders (Actor)

Two Smart People (Movie)

Ricki Woodner (Actor)

Valley of the Sun (Movie)

Christine Larson (Actor)

Whole Town's Talking (Movie)

Girl (Actor)

Ziegfeld Follies (Movie)

The Princess (Actor)
Camera, Film, & Tape (1)

Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (TV Show)

Photography
Director (1)

Bungle Abbey 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Director

Biography

As one of America's most beloved comediennes and one of Hollywood's more astute businesswomen, the legendary Lucille Ball rose from being a B-movie film actress to one of television's most iconic figures, boasting more than 50 years of continuous employment in Hollywood. Because of her eternally syndicated sitcom, "I Love Lucy" (CBS, 1951-57), which broke new ground in too many areas to count, Ball remained a constant presence on the small screen and, consequently, remained well-known to subsequent generations of fans. Prior to "I Love Lucy," Ball took over the mantle of "Queen of the Bs" from Fay Wray after appearing in a number of B-movies, with the occasional A-list project like the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicles "Top Hat" (1935) and "Follow the Fleet" (1936) classing up her résumé. She delivered a fine turn in "Stage Door" (1937) and served as the Marx Brothers' foil in "Room Service" (1938). After meeting and marrying Cuban-born actor-bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940, Ball propelled her career as the star of the radio show "My Favorite Husband" (CBS, 1948-1951), which served as a precursor to "I Love Lucy." Though CBS was initially resistant to pairing the Caucasian Ball with the Cuban Arnaz as a believable husband and wife, the network had a change of heart after the couple launched a smash-hit vaudeville show, which green lit one of the most popular and enduring sitcoms of all time. Following Ball's painful split with Arnaz in 1960, she executed a number of savvy business moves as head of her own studio, Desilu, while launching two more successful sitcoms, "The Lucy Show" (CBS, 1962-68) and "Here's Lucy" (CBS, 1968-74). Though her popularity waned in the 1970s and 1980s, as evidenced by the rapid failure of "Life with Lucy" (ABC, 1986), Ball was forever cemented as a comic legend whose influence spanned generations.

Relationships

Desi Arnaz

Husband
married on November 30, 1940 filed for divorce in 1944 reconciled reaffirmed marriage vows in a Catholic wedding ceremony on June 14, 1949 divorced in March 1960 died on December 2, 1986

Desi Arnaz Jr. Actor

Son
Born on January 19, 1953

Lucie Arnaz

Daughter
born on July 17, 1951 married actor Laurence Luckinbill

Henry Ball

Father
died c. 1915

Desiree Ball

Mother
married second husband Edward Peterson divorced after one year

Gary Morton

Husband
married from November 1961 until her death died of lung cancer on March 30, 1999 at age 74

EDUCATION

Chautauqua Musical Institute

Chatauqua , New York

John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton Drama School

New York , New York 1927
entered at age 15; classmate was 18-year-old Bette Davis

Milestones

1996

Long-lost autobiography Love, Lucy published

1993

Daughter Lucie compiled personal home movies to create the award-winning special "Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie" for NBC

1991

Portrayed by Frances Fisher in the CBS biopic "Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter"

1989

Last public appearance on the annual Academy Awards telecast

1986

Starred on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Life with Lucy"

1985

TV-movie debut playing the dramatic role of a homeless woman in "The Stone Pillow" (CBS)

1980

Signed production deal with NBC, made one special and a pilot for a proposed series that was not picked up

1974

Made final feature film, the critically-derided adaptation of the Broadway musical "Mame"

1968

Co-starred with Henry Fonda in the feature comedy about a blended family "Yours, Mine and Ours"

1968

Starred on the popular CBS sitcom "Here's Lucy"; show featured her real-life children playing her screen character's kids

1967

Formed Lucille Ball Productions

1967

Sold Desilu to Gulf + Western

1963

Starred opposite Bob Hope in "Critics Choice"

1962

Starred in the popular TV sitcom "The Lucy Show" (CBS); show reteamed her with sidekick Vivian Vance and also featured Gale Gordon

1962

Bought out Desi Arnaz's share of Desilu

1960

Starred in Broadway musical "Wildcat"; run cut short reportedly due to Ball's health

1960

Reteamed with Bob Hope for the feature "The Facts of Life"

1957

Desilu Productions bought old RKO Studio lot (date approximate)

1956

Reteamed with Arnaz for the feature "Forever Darling"

1954

Co-starred with Arnaz in "The Long, Long Trailer"

1951

Formed Desilu Productions Arnaz

1951

Starred in the TV sitcom, "I Love Lucy" (CBS); she and Arnaz had undertaken a stage tour in part to prove to CBS executives that audiences would accept them as a married couple and that they could work together as a team

1950

Again appeared opposite Hope in "Fancy Pants"

1949

First screen teaming with Bob Hope in "Sorrowful Jones"

1949

Returned to Columbia with a three-picture deal

1946

Worked freelance after MGM contract expired

1942

Teamed with Red Skelton in the film version of the Broadway musical "Du Barry Was a Lady"

1941

Signed by MGM to be groomed as musical star; learned comic use of props on backlot from Buster Keaton

1941

Starred opposite Henry Fonda in "The Big Street," playing the uncharacteristically dramatic role of a crippled nightclub singer

1940

First acted onscreen with Desi Arnaz in "Too Many Girls"

1938

Acted in "Room Service," supporting the Marx Brothers

1937

Breakthrough film, "Stage Door"

1935

Signed by RKO

1935

Joined Columbia appearing in bit parts, walk-ons and as a foil for the Three Stooges; first film billing in "Carnival"; fired by Columbia in an economy move

1933

Selected as a Goldwyn Girl to appear in "Roman Scandals," starring Eddie Cantor

1931

Worked briefly as a Hattie Carnegie model before being paralyzed from waist down with rheumatoid arthritis; cured two years later (date approximate)

1929

Feature film debut in "Bulldog Drummond"

1927

Hired to dance in touring company of "Rio Rita" but fired because she couldn't handle choreography; later fired from chorus jobs in three shows (date approximate)

As president of Desilu, became first woman ever to head a major Hollywood film production company

Appeared in a series of one-hour specials under the umbrella title of "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour/The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show"; episodes aired as part of "Desilu Playhouse"

Changed professional name to Diane Belmont in the late 1920s

Raised in Celoron, NY

Played leading roles in a number of B films for RKO including "The Affairs of Annabel" (1938) and "Five Came Back" (1939)

Starred on radio in "My Favorite Husband" playing a scatter-brained wife opposite actor Richard Denning

Bonus Trivia

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Ball was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame (1984), the founding year of the honor. A statue of Ball sat atop a fountain outside the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood, CA.

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Ball was Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club's Woman of the Year in 1988.

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She was posthumously awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989.

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On August 7, 2001, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp honoring the comedienne.

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Ball's greatest career threat came in the 1950s when she was investigated by the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities for being a former member of the communist party. Her husband Desi Arnaz told the press, "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and that's not even real." It was revealed that Ball's beloved grandfather, who had been more like a father in her life, was a left-winger. Communist party meetings may have been held at her home (when she was not there) by her grandfather. And, as she later told HUAC when confronted with a party membership card with her signature, she may have done that "just to keep grandfather happy in his old age." In fact, Ball was almost entirely apolitical and in the 1950s had not even bothered to vote for many years. Although the investigation caused CBS a scare – she was after all their biggest star – Ball was cleared of all suspicions and only the most fanatic anti-Communist held her past against her.

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In an attempt to recreate the talent development program at RKO in which she had thrived, Ball started the Desilu Playhouse in the 1960s, gathering almost two dozen young performers to train by acting in plays. She maintained the program for about two years, when it was abandoned due to the time constraints of her career. Although no performer in the program became a "star," the list included Carole Cook, a frequently-working character player, and Robert Osborne, who later became a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and the on-camera host for Turner Classic Movies. Osborne had acted in what was to be a regular series role in the pilot of "The Beverly Hillbillies," but dropped out of that sitcom in order to participate in the Desilu talent program.

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