- NAME: Lucille Ball
- OCCUPATION: Television Actress, Comedian
- BIRTH DATE: August 06, 1911
- DEATH DATE: April 26, 1989
- Did You Know?: Lucille Ball gave birth to her actual son Desi Arnaz, Jr. on January 19, 1953, the same day that she gave birth to Little Ricky on the series I Love Lucy.
- EDUCATION: John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Jamestown, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Full Name: Lucille Désirée Ball
- AKA: Lucille Ball
- AKA: Diane Belmont
Best Known For
One of America's most beloved comedians, Lucille Ball is particularly known for her iconic television show I Love Lucy.
Roseanne - Full Episode (44:13)
Fanny Brice - Funny Girl (1:04)
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."
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!
The full biography of Roseanne.
Florenz Ziegfeld, aka "The Great Ziegfeld," took a chance on an odd-looking performer named Fanny Brice, who would later be immortalized in the film, "Funny Girl."
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball got her start as a singer, model and film star before becoming one of America's top comedic actresses with the 1950s TV show I Love Lucy, co-starring on the show with her husband, Desi Arnaz. The two divorced in 1960, and Ball went on to star in The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy while also becoming a top TV executive. She died in 1989.
"A lot of the really beautiful girls didn't want to do some of the things I did—put on mud packs and scream and run around and fall into pools ... I didn't mind getting messed up. That's how I got into physical comedy."
"I was very happy being 'Queen of the B's.' Actually, that's one of my problems. I'm very happy in my nice little ruts."
"I'm not funny. What I am is brave."
"I was always stage-struck. I would recite speeches at the drop of ... anything."
"All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened."
"I must have done something right, but I cannot be as great as everyone's said. So I'll just accept a third of the compliments, gratefully."
"My idea of getting high was a Coca-Cola and an aspirin."
"Perhaps my willingness to be knocked off a twenty-foot pedestal or shot down a steamship funnel goes back to my earliest, happiest days with my father. I knew he was going to catch me. I wasn't going to get hurt."
"Most comedy success stems from long-standing inferiority complexes, and I had mine."
"I liked being an innovator, but people told us we were crazy, that we were committing career suicide. I didn't listen ... I liked creating a show from scratch."
[on "I Love Lucy"]
"P.S. 'I Love Lucy' was never just a title."
[from letter written by Arnaz just before his death]
Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York, to Henry Durrell Ball and his wife Desiree. The elder of the couple's two children (her brother, Fred, was born in 1915), Lucille had a hardscrabble childhood shaped by tragedy and a lack of money.
Ball's father, Henry (or Had, as he was known to his family) was an electrician, and not long after his daughter's birth he relocated the family to Montana for work. Then it was off to Michigan, where Had took a job as a telephone lineman with the Michigan Bell Company. Life came undone in February 1915 when Had was struck with typhoid fever and died. For Ball, just 3 years old at the time, her father's death not only set in motion a series of difficult childhood hurdles, but also served as the young girl's first real significant memory.
"I do remember everything that happened," she said. "Hanging out the window, begging to play with the kids next door who had measles, the doctor coming, my mother weeping. I remember a bird that flew in the window, a picture that fell off the wall."
Desiree, still reeling from her husband's unexpected death and pregnant with Fred, packed up and returned to Jamestown, New York, where she eventually found work in a factory and a new husband, Ed Peterson. Peterson, though, wasn't a fan of kids, especially young ones, and with Desiree's blessing, he decided the two of them would move to Detroit without her children. Fred moved in with Desiree's parents, while Lucille was forced to make a new home with Ed's folks. For Ball that meant contending with Peterson's stern mother, who didn't have much money to lavish on her step-granddaughter. The family, Lucille would later recall, lacked enough money even for school pencils.
Finally, at age 11, Lucille reunited with her mother when Desiree and Ed returned to Jamestown. Even then, Ball had an itch to do something big, and when she was 15 she convinced her mother to allow her to enroll in a New York City drama school. But despite her longing to make it on the stage, Ball was too nervous to draw much notice.
"I was a tongue-tied teenager spellbound by the school's star pupil, Bette Davis," said Ball. The school finally wrote her mother, "Lucy's wasting her time and ours. She's too shy and reticent to put her best foot forward."
She remained in New York City, however, and by 1927 Ball, who had started calling herself Diane Belmont, found work as a model, first for fashion designer Hattie Carnegie, and then, after overcoming a debilitating bout of rheumatoid arthritis, for Chesterfield cigarettes.
profile name: Lucille Ball profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
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
In the early days of television, actresses of the small screen often reflected the traditional roles of women in society. TV moms of the 1950s managed to keep a tidy home; serve as an attentive ear to family troubles; and have dinner waiting—all while keeping every hair in place. Jane Wyatt epitomized the archetypal housewife and mother on Father Knows Best, while Donna Reed made running a household look easy on The Donna Reed Show. These women, and many more like them, laid the groundwork for future female acting roles, and served as inspiration to the women watching at home.
TV Moms: 1950s 5 people in this group
Did you know that since 1912, nearly 50 million girls in the United States have joined the Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts helped an amazingly diverse array of famous women develop a strong foundation of courage, confidence and character. It's no surprise then that quite a few famous women spent time in the sash. Celebrities who got their start selling cookies and earning merit badges include Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter and actress/writer Carrie Fisher; former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan; Olympic skaters Bonnie Blair and Peggy Fleming; astronaut Sally Ride; and iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem. Browse our collection of inspiring famous Girl Scouts who have certainly earned merit badges in their fields.
Girl Scouts 45 people in this group