Almost every discipline in the world has names and personalities who have defied the norm with their accomplishments. Science has popular names like Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Nikolai Tesla. Their works brought both fame and prestige to the discipline. The story is no different in Hollywood where legends have come and gone. Some during their time in the industry left an indelible mark that will forever be talked about and one of them is Lucille Ball, whose work and contribution during her career in Hollywood were too great to simply call her an actress. She was a superwoman who was everything Hollywood had to offer. Many are familiar with her work and her fame already, few know about her background and how she came to be one of the biggest Hollywood personalities to ever live. Read below to learn more about the legendary Hollywood icon.
Lucille Ball’s Bio
Many parents hope and pray that their child grows up to become a great person. Some go as far as peddling this belief onto their child every day of their life as they grow up. One often wonders if the parents whose child actually grew up to do great things truly knew their child would be great. It is a question we would have loved to ask the parents of Lucille Ball, Henry Durrell Ball, and Desiree Evelyn Ball when they welcomed their newborn child, Lucille Desiree Ball on the 6th of August 1911 in Jamestown, New York.
Growing up, Lucille lived in different parts of the country like Montana and Michigan, soaking in different aspects of American culture. She was raised as a Baptist and was born to an ethnic confluence of Scottish, French, English and Irish origins.
Lucille suffered one of the most difficult tragedies a child could suffer at the age of three when she lost her father to typhoid fever. It was an incident she was too young to fully grasp, but the day’s emotional atmosphere left her permanently afraid of birds. Her father’s death left her to be raised by her mother and her maternal grandparents in New York.
Her mother eventually remarried, to a man named Edward Peterson. Peterson would eventually open Lucille Ball’s eyes to stage performance where she discovered it was a great way to earn praise and recognition.
Lucille got her first introduction to Acting at John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts. Her pursuit of an acting career suffered a two-year hiatus when she was afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. She returned to her pursuit of an acting career in 1932 and worked on Broadway for a while.
The actress got the first taste of onscreen work in 1933, starring as a Goldwyn Girl in Roman Scandals. She was uncredited for the role. Her full-time Hollywood career began in the mid-1930s, starring in films like Three Little Pigskins and Room Service. For a while at the early stages of her career, Ball managed to only star in B movies, earning the undesired title of Queen of the Bs.
After years of starring in second-tier films, Ball’s path to stardom began when she was cast as Liz Cooper, in a show, My Favourite Husband for CBS Radio. The show’s success on radio prompted the executive of CBS Network to request for a television version of the show.
Liz and her husband, Desi Arnaz developed the television version under their production company, Desilu Productions Company. The show was picked up and it helped Ball become a superstar. The television version which was named I Love Lucy was greatly received and helped Lucille Ball become one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.
She became the first woman to head a TV Production Company, with I Love Lucy becoming the dominating Television show during its run from 1951 to 1957.
After she became a star, she went on to appear in numerous films and Television shows. At the time of her death, Lucille Ball had starred in over 60 films and over 25 Radio and Television programs.
She received a couple of recognitions while she was alive and after her death. Lucile has two Hollywood Walk of Fame stars to her name, one for Films and the other for Television. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom after her death by President George H.W Bush. Other recognitions include a postage stamp by the United States Postal Service, among others.
Family – Husband, Children, and Grandchildren
As a public personality, her relationships were in public display. She got married to Desi Arnaz in 1940. The two shared two children – Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV and Lucie Desiree Arnaz. After years of both of them starring on I Love Lucy, the couple got divorced in 1960.
Her second husband was Gary Morton who she met through her friend, Paula Stewart. The two were married in 1961 and remained married until her death in 1989.
Lucille Ball has three grandchildren born to Lucie Arnaz – Simon Joseph and Katharine Luckinbill. Her son, Desi Arnaz Jr. has two children, Julia Arnaz, and Haley Arnaz.
Lucille Ball’s Net Worth
After creating a television show that became the number one show in the country during its existence, and was a studio head and starred in over 100 films, radio and television projects, at the time of her death, Lucille Ball was worth $40 million.
Cause of Death
Lucille Ball died on the 26th of April 1989 after a brief battle with dissecting aortic aneurysm that started on the 18th of April. Despite an open heart surgery that lasted 8 hours, she died at the age of 77. She was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles.