MEMORABLE MONDAY: On this day in 1911, Lucille Desiree Ball, one of America’s most famous redheads and beloved comic actresses was born.
Ball played leading roles in dozens of B-movies in the late 1930s and 1940s. In 1940, Ball met the Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz while shooting “Too Many Girls” and the couple soon eloped.
From 1947 to 1951, Ball starred as a ditzy wife on the radio program “My Favorite Husband.” When CBS decided to launch the popular series on the relatively new medium of TV, Lucy insisted that Arnaz be cast as her husband in the TV version. Network executives initially argued against the idea. However, Ball and Arnaz were eventually cast as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in “I Love Lucy”, which aired from 1951 to 1957 and became one of the most popular TV sitcoms in history.
The success of “I Love Lucy” turned the couple’s production company, Desilu, into a multimillion-dollar business. Then once Ball and Arnaz divorced their professional collaboration also ended.
After the divorce Ball starred in several other ‘Lucy’ programs, including “The Lucy Show”, which debuted in 1962 and ran for six seasons. Then ”Here’s Lucy,” in which she starred with her two children. This show was cancelled in 1974. Then in 1986 another show “Life with Lucy”, featuring Lucy as a grandmother. This show was cancelled after eight episodes in 1986.
Ball died at age 77 on April 26, 1989. In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service honored her with a commemorative stamp.