- NAME: Desi Arnaz
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Musician
- BIRTH DATE: March 02, 1917
- DEATH DATE: December 02, 1986
- Did You Know?: Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball gave birth to their actual son Desi Arnaz, Jr. on January 19, 1953, the same day that they gave birth to Little Ricky on the series I Love Lucy.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Santiago, Cuba
- PLACE OF DEATH: Del Mar, California
Best Known For
Desi Arnaz was a Cuban-born actor and musician who is remembered for his marriage to Lucille Ball and their TV show, I Love Lucy.
Think you know your Lucy and Ricky trivia? Did CBS refuse to have Desi Arnez as Lucy's husband on the show? Find out by watching this Fact or Fiction clip!
Lucille Ball moved to Hollywood and met Cuban-born entertainer Desi Arnaz while working on the film "Dance, Girl, Dance." The pair formed Desilu Productions and soon began their own pioneering television sitcom on CBS, "I Love Lucy."
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Born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III on March 2, 1917, in Santiago, Cuba, Desi Arnaz fled Cuba to the United States with his family in 1933. Early success led to him being offered a role in the 1939 Broadway musical Too Many Girls, and he later starred in the film version, where he met his future wife, Lucille Ball. In 1949, Arnaz developed the hit television series I Love Lucy, which ran for six years.
"Comedy needs heart and warmth, even a tear or two, not just a lot of slapstick laughs."
Actor and musician Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III was born on March 2, 1917, in Santiago, Cuba. Born to a wealthy family, the Arnazes fled Cuba for Miami after a revolution in 1933. After working a number of odd jobs to help support the family, Desi got his first musician's gig as a guitarist for the Siboney Septet.
After working briefly for Xavier Cugat in New York, Arnaz returned to Miami to lead a combo of his own and introduce the Conga Line to American audiences. It was such a hit, both locally and nationally, that Arnaz returned to New York to start his own band. He was offered a role in the 1939 Broadway musical Too Many Girls and later starred in Hollywood's film version. It was there that he met his future wife, Lucille Ball. They were married in 1940.
Arnaz made three more films before being inducted into the Army during WWII. During his two years in the service, he was responsible for entertaining the troops. He formed a new orchestra after being discharged and recorded several hits during the late 1940s. During this time he served as orchestra leader on Bob Hope's radio show from 1946 to 1947.
In 1949, Arnaz turned his efforts to developing the hit television series I Love Lucy, which ran for six years on CBS and became the most successful television program in history. Arnaz and Ball had a clear goal in mind when the series began development. Not only did they request the the show be shot on film as opposed to the cheaper kinescope, but they also retained full ownership of the program under their production company, Desilu Productions. The show aired in 1951.
The show touched on many personal and taboo issues of the time, including marriage and pregnancy. And as a couple both on and off camera, Arnaz and Ball's show had parallells to their actual marriage, giving birth to their son on the show on the same day that Ball gave birth to their son in real life. The novelty of the series, coupled with Arnaz and Ball's strong chemistry, proved to be a success. I Love Lucy became the No. 1 show in the country for four of its six seasons. The series ended in 1957.
Desi's marriage to Lucille Ball ended in 1960. He retired from show business and eventually moved to Baja California with his second wife, Edith. He died in 1986 at the age of 69.
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Model and comedienne Lucille Ball met Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940 while filming Too Many Girls. They fell for one another instantly and eloped later that year. In 1951, they debuted the hit television series I Love Lucy, starring as the zany middle-class couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. With near-perfect timing and a genius for ad-libbing, the red-haired Ball cruised through 179 episodes. The duo also founded Desilu Productions in 1950, a successful independent television production company. Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960, ending one of television's greatest marriages, though they remained friends until his death in 1986.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz 2 people in this group
Hispanic Actors 26 people in this group
Hispanic Musicians and Singers 21 people in this group