Lucille Ball (1911-1989)

First woman of television, made popular by her show "I Love Lucy."

Lucille Ball's acting career began at age 15 when she went to Manhattan to study acting at the John Murray Anderson/ Robert Milton School of Theater and Dance. Her time at the school ended in failure after six weeks, and she went back home to Celoron, New York to live with her mother. There she found some modeling jobs, along with employment at a drugstore and dress salon. At the age of 17 she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and suffered with the illness for 3 years before returning to New York to try yet again at an acting career. She was cast in Eddie Cantor's movie Roman Scandals as a chorus girl and that was when she first got noticed by Goldwyn. He signed her after her performance, but after years of being unsatisfied Ball left his studio for RKO. In the mid-1940's she switched to MGM studios.

Throughout the beginning years of her career, Ball starred in many "B" films and eventually became known as "The Queen of the B's". In 1940 during her role in Too Many Girls Ball first met her future husband, Cuban
Desi Arnaz. On November 30, 1940 they were married. The couple eventually formed their own production company, Desilu Productions. Their company eventually produced shows such as Our Miss Brooks, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Untouchables.


Beginning in 1947 Lucille starred on the CBS radio program My Favorite Husband as Liz Cooper, which was the basis for her later show I Love Lucy. In 1950 the idea of I Love Lucy was thought up, and the lead role was offered to Ball. She at first turned down the role unless they would cast her husband, Desi Arnaz could play the on-screen husband. Soon after CBS gave in, giving Arnaz the role and the couple was cast in the show. On October 15, 1951 the first episode was premiered on television and it was not long until the show was number one in the country. The show was about a housewife (Ball) who was trying to get involved in show business and got involved in all kinds of silly antics. The show was the first one in the nation to be viewed by ten million families, and won many awards including five Emmy's.

The show was one of the first in the so-called "Golden Years" to show the housewife as more than just that. I Love Lucy was considered a liberal show because it brought the wife out of the kitchen, unlike many other shows from that time period. The show ran for ten years, and is still considered today one of the top four TV shows in American history.

Soon after the show ended, Arnaz and Ball filed for divorce. Ball bought Arnaz's shares of the Desilu company and became the first woman to be leading a Hollywood Studio since Mary Pickford long before her. As president of the studio Lucille produced many successful shows. In 1962 Lucille began a new show, The Lucy Show which was about a widower raising two children. The show was quite popular and ran for 12 years. She also began a short-lived sitcom called Life with Lucy. In 1967 Ball sold Desilu to Gulf +Western Industries.

Impact On History
Lucille Ball was a very prominant women in television history. She was the first woman to own her own production company which was a huge milestone for feminism in Hollywood. She showed the nation that females too could be funny, and earned many awards as a comedienne, including an Emmy in 1952 for Best Comedienne. I Love Lucy was number one in the country for a long period of time and is still known as one of the best TV shows ever. She will always be an important character in United States' Hollywood History.

Other Films

Sources Cited
Murray, Sue. "Ball, Lucille (1911-1989)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 1. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 163-164. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. APPLE VALLEY SR HIGH SCHOOL. 29 May 2008 <>.</span>

"Lucille Ball." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 472-473. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. APPLE VALLEY SR HIGH SCHOOL. 29 May 2008 <[[|>.</span]]>

"Ball, Lucille (1911-1989)." DISCovering Biography. Online ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Discovering Collection. Gale. Apple Valley High School. 30 May. 2008 < &contentSet=GSRC &type=retrieve &tabID=T001 &prodId=DC &docId=EJ2102100104 &source=gale &srcprod=DISC &userGroupName=mnkapplevhs &version=1.0>.

made ya look :)