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Before Lucy Was Lucy

Guest Author - Amber Grey

Before Lucille Ball was remembered for her for iconic character, "Lucy Ricardo" in the classic television series, "I Love Lucy," the actress was persistent throughout rejection and illness to become a star performer. While living in New York City, Ms. Ball worked as a fashion model under the name of "Diane Belmont" before it was cut short by rheumatoid arthritis. However, after she recovered, Ms. Ball faced being turned down by dramatic coaches, telling her that she was not meant to be a performer. Ms. Ball was even fired by Florenz Ziegfeld himself in a touring company of "Rio Rita." But Ms. Ball was persistent.

It was after she made a brief, uncredited appearance in "Roman Scandal" (1933), that Ms. Ball decided to relocate to Hollywood and start a film career. Her first role provided a consistency of walk-on parts until she broke out in her role as "Judy Canfield" in "Stage Door" (1937). In the film she starred alongside classic stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Eve Arden, where Hollywood took note on Ball's ability and talent as an actress.

Ms. Ball's career began to take shape. She shared the screen with one of Hollywood's best comedic team, The Marx Brothers in "Room Service" (1938). Although her film career never officially catapulted her onto the A list as a glamour girl, she remained one of the more popular actresses at the time and was referred to as "Queen of the Bs" for her starring and co-starring roles in "B" films.

In 1948, Ms. Ball faced a difficult decision in both her personal and professional life with her husband Desi Arnaz. At the time, she was trying to reconcile her marriage with Desi while her film career was coming to a halt. She could not decide whether or not to transition into a relatively new medium known as television. It said her that her friend Carole Lombard, who passed away in a tragic airplane accident six years prior, came to her in a dream and told her to start a new career in television. Whether or not the story is true, Ms. Ball took the plunge and struck gold with her series, "I Love Lucy."

Being considered one of the best businesswomen in Hollywood, Ms. Ball capitalized on her television popularity by returning to films in 1954 with her equally famous husband, Desi Arnaz. They starred in the hilarious gem, "The Long Long Trailer" (1954) and "Forever Darling" (1956). In 1968, Ms. Ball starred opposite in the comedy "Yours Mine and Ours" with Henry Fonda. Her last film was as "Auntie Mame" in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, "Mame" (1974), despite the conflict of producers wanting Angela Lansbury instead of Ms. Ball. Ms. Ball's performance entertained fans and received a luke-warm reception from critics.

On August 6, 2011, it will have been Lucille Ball's centennial birthday and tributes abound for the redheaded actress whose career was full of persistence and passionately dedicated to the craft of comedy. As one of the tributes, Google, the leading internet search engine, designed their logo to fit the famous heart-shaped title card that was broadcast before every show of "I Love Lucy."
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This content was written by Amber Grey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


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