People we love: Lucille Ball

Lucille Desiree Ball, August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989

Born on this Day in 1911.

Lucille Desiree Ball was born in Jamestown, New York on August 6, 1911. She left home at the age of fifteen to pursue acting school in New York City. Unsuccessful in that attempt she worked as a waitress while she sought modeling jobs and auditioned for Broadway shows.

In 1933, she was chosen to be the poster model for Chesterfield Cigarettes. That got her noticed by Hollwood. Over the next several years, she would appear in more than sixty films.

While filming the musical “Too Many Girls” she met and fell in love with and married Desi Arnaz. When she was offered her own television show, she refused unless Arnaz could co-star.

One of the last photographs of Lucille Ball, taken at the 61st Academy Awards on March 29, 1989. Lucy died on April 26, 1989. Photo by Alan Light.

Together they formed “Desilu” production company which not only produced “I Love Lucy” but was later responsible for launching both “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible.”

After Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960, she would later star in “The Lucy Show” with co-star Vivian Vance. That was later reformatted to “Here’s Lucy.”

Lucille Ball married Gary Morton in 1961. They remained together until her death. She sold Desilu Productions in 1967. After a failed attempt at a new show called “Life with Lucy” she spent much of the rest of her life out of the spotlight.

Lucille Ball was last seen in public at the Academy Awards in March, 1989. In April, she underwent open heart surgery. A week following the surgery Lucille Ball died from a ruptured aorta on April 26, 1989. She was 77.

I Love Lucy” is still syndicated in more than 80 countries.

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