Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Today is August 6, 2014 and it was this day in history that Lucille Ball was born in 1911. Although she has been in numerous movies, Lucille Ball is most famous for her television sitcom, I Love Lucy, where she always played the scheming wife of a famous big band leader in Ricky Ricardo, played by the suave, debonair Desi Arnaz, trying to get on his musical variety show. She was also a co-creator of the popular television show. Everyone has an episode of the show that is their favorite and two that are very popular are the episodes where she is working in a candy factory and winds up eating the chocolates and stuffing them in her blouse when the conveyor belt goes too fast and the episode where she does a television commercial hawking a medicine called Vitameatavegimen, that apparently contained vitamins, minerals, meat, and vegetables but also contained 23 percent alcohol and the episode was hilarious as she got drunk taking sips of it during her retakes of the commercial.
Aside from the I Love Lucy television show, she starred in other shows such as The Lucy- Dezi Comedy Hour and The Lucy Show, Lucille Ball starred in a lot of B movies, giving her the nickname Queen of the B’s. She is also heralded as having one of the longest careers ever in Hollywood. If anyone can have the moniker as “the hardest working person in show business”, it definitely belongs to Lucille Ball. She has earned a plethora of awards and among those are the four Emmy Awards she has won but has been nominated for them thirteen different times.
Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, New York, but growing up she has said that she was born in Butte, Montana as Montana seemed of a “more romantic” place to be born in and often told of having a “western childhood”. She probably told these stories because her childhood years were less than desirable. Her father died a few months before her fourth birthday and an interesting fact is that a bird was trapped in the house the day her father died and she developed a fear of birds, called ornithophobia, because of it. Her mother moved back to New York with Lucy and her brother to live with her parents until she remarried. While her mother and stepfather were traveling to look for a place to live and for work, Lucy and her brother Fred, stayed with her stepfather’s parents, who were “puritanical Swedes” and had banned all mirrors from their house except for one in the bathroom. She was caught looking at herself in the mirror too long and was admonished by the couple for being too vain.
She began to get into entertainment at a young age and when she was fourteen she was sent to New York City to be enrolled in the John Anderson Murray School for the Dramatic Arts, where a fellow student with her was Bette Davis. Lucille Ball also did some modeling for Hattie Carnegie and at one time was the Chesterfield cigarette girl. Lucy loved performing because she thought it was a great way to gain fame and fortune. Before she died in 1989, Lucille Ball brought a lot of laughter, song and dance into our lives and is still doing it today with re-runs of I Love Lucy and the movies that are still being shown on television. She is still missed by her millions of fans today.