Lucille Désirée Ball was born 6th August 1911 in Jamestown, New York. After her father’s unfortunate passing at only 27 years old, 4 year old Lucille, along with her mother Désirée and brother Fred, up sticks and moved to live with her grandparents.
Lucille’s life turned upside down when her mother married a man named Edward Peterson. Lucille and Fred were forced to live with Edward’s parents who weren’t exactly the kindest of people. Lucille was once caught looking at herself in the bathroom mirror and severely scolded for being too vain. This stuck with Lucille who, in later life, said this had affected her confidence deeply.
The First Bite
At 12 years old, Edward convinced Lucille to take to the stage for the first time and audition for a dance show. This sparked a fire in Lucille that gave her a passion for a life of show business. After a few shows here and there, Désirée and Edward scraped the money together to send Lucille to the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Although her teachers frequently dismissed her dreams for a career in show business, Lucille persevered and after a few minor, and mostly unsuccessful, jobs as a model and broadway dancer, she struck gold as an uncredited actress in the 1933 film Roman Scandals.
Moving to Hollywood
It wasn’t until 1935 that Lucille finally had a film credit to her name but after this her career started to blossom. Lucille appeared in 57 films and shorts throughout the 1930’s such as The Marx Brothers Room Service (1938), That Girl From Paris (1936) and Chatterbox (1936). Lucille’s wit and timing made her the perfect pick for all things comedy and her career continued to progress well into the 1940’s.
In 1948 she won the role of Liz Cugat in the CBS radio series My Favourite Husband where she starred alongside her real-life husband Desi Arnaz. CBS weren’t impressed with the series so Lucille and Desi took it on the road. The show was a roaring success and CBS wanted Lucille and Desi back. Lucille’s most famous show, I Love Lucy, was born in October of 1951.
End of an Era
After 20 years of marriage, Lucille and Desi parted ways in 1960. Lucille remarried in 1961 to comedian Gary Morton. Lucille threw herself into a series of Lucy spin-offs and broadway shows between the 60’s and 80’s. As her health declined her career began to ease with her last sitcom Life with Lucy airing in 1986.
Lucille Ball passed away in 1989 after suffering an Aortic Dissection at the age of 77.