It’s National I Love Lucy Day! We’re Celebrating the Native WNYer with 10 Facts About Everyone’s Favorite Redhead!
Everybody loves Lucy!
Born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball got her start as a singer, model and film star before becoming one of America’s top comedic actresses with the 1950s TV show I Love Lucy, co-starring on the show with her husband, Desi Arnaz. The two divorced in 1960, and Ball went on to star in The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy while also becoming a top TV executive. She died in 1989.
We all know her as America’s favorite redhead, but did you know Lucille Ball’s hair wasn’t really red? Yep, true story! Here is that surprising tidbit and a few others you might not know about Lucille Ball!
NOT REALLY RED! Her natural hair color was brown. Before she made a big splash in the comedy world, Lucy appeared as a brunette in her earlier head shots.
SHE STARTED YOUNG! At 12, she auditioned for her first role. After being encouraged by her stepfather, Lucille auditioned for a spot in the chorus line of a local stage production. Naturally, she won the role, and that experience led her to seek a career in showbiz.
HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT. Even as a teenager in 1926, Ball was determined to be a performer. So at the age of 15, she left high school in Jamestown, New York and moved to New York City to attend drama school.
POWER COUPLE! Desi and Lucy were TV’s first interracial couple. Before her show began production, Lucy insisted that her then-husband, Cuban-American actor Desi Arnaz, be cast as her onscreen husband.
BEAUTIFUL HOBBY! She was an avid gardener. Just look at these gorgeous, lush plants in this photo taken of Lucy at her Hollywood home in 1950.
CLOSE CALL! If you loved that famous grape-stomping scene – get this – She nearly drowned while filming it. Apparently, the other actress involved didn’t speak English and some direction was lost in translation, so one actually held Lucy’s head underneath the grape juice.
A FIRST! Lucy was the first pregnant actress to play a pregnant woman on television. When Lucy was expecting her second child, son Desi Arnaz, Jr., writers wrote the pregnancy into the show instead of hiding it. Of course, they used the word “expecting” rather than “pregnant” to keep everyone happy.
OLDER MOMS ROCK! It was almost unheard of back then but – she actually had both of her children later in life. Her first baby, daughter Lucie Désirée Arnaz, was born when she was 40. And her second was born when she was nearly 42. And clearly, she and Desi were so inspired by their own names that they gave them to their children, too.
SHE SHOWED THEM! It’s hard to believe – but Lucy celebrated her 40th birthday before I Love Lucy began airing. In an industry where women are all too often tossed to the side after 35, Lucy got her biggest break when she was already 40 years old. Crazy!!!
GIRL POWER! She was the first female to run a major Hollywood studio. Desilu Productions — named for its founders, Lucille and Desi — was formed in 1950. And until its reincorporation into Paramount Television in 1967, it not only produced I Love Lucy, but it also brought Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and The Untouchables to the small screen. Talk about being a trailblazer!
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