Lucille Désirée Ball (6 August 1911 – 26 April 1989) was a legendary American actress and comedienne. She was the star of the classic I Love Lucy series and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, and Here's Lucy. One of the most popular and influential stars in the United States during her lifetime, she had one of Hollywood's longest and most venerable entertainment careers, especially on television.
She guest appeared as herself as the host and narrator of "The Best of Three's Company", an hour-long retrospective of the first five and a half seasons of Three's Company which aired in the middle of Season six.
Ball's film career spanned the 1930s and 1940s, and she became a television star during the 1950s. She continued making films in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1962, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, which produced many successful and popular television series, such Star Trek, and The Andy Griffith Show. Lucille was nominated for a Emmy Award thirteen times, and won four times. In 1977, Ball was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award]. She was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986, and the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1989.
In 1929, a young eighteen-year-old Lucille landed work as a model and later began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name "Diane Belmont". She assumed many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures. Ball was dubbed the "Queen of the Bs" (referring to her many roles in B-films). In 1951, Ball was instrumental in the creation of the television series I Love Lucy. The show co-starred her then-husband, bandleader/entertainer and actor Desi Arnaz, as Ricky Ricardo, Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz, and veteran character actor William Frawley cast as Fred Mertz. The Mertzes were the Ricardos' landlords and friends. The show ended in 1957 after 180 episodes. Some minor adjustments were then made to the program's format: The running time of the show was lengthened from 30 minutes to 60 minutes (the first show ran 75 minutes), some new characters were added, the story arc was altered, and the show was renamed The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which ran for three seasons (1957–1960) and thirteen episodes. Ball went on to star in two more successful television series: The Lucy Show, which ran on CBS from 1962 to 1968 (156 Episodes), and Here's Lucy which ran also on CBS-TV from 1968 to 1974 (144 episodes). Her last attempt at a television series was a 1986 show called Life with Lucy, which failed after eight episodes aired, although thirteen were produced.
Marriages and Personal Life
Lucille met and eloped with young Cuban bandleader/entertainer Desi Arnaz in 1940. On 17 July 1951, after several failed attempts to bear children, and at almost forty years old, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie Désirée Arnaz. A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to their second child, Desiderio Alberto "Desi" Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr. Lucille and Desi divorced amicably 4 May 1960.
On 26 April 1989, Ball died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm at age 77. At the time of her death, she had been married to her second husband and business partner, stand-up comedian Gary Morton, for more than 27 years.