Remembering Lucille Ball

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Remembering Lucille Ball
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Lucy Ball in 1945.

Saturday would have been comedy actress Lucille Ball's 100th birthday. "Lucy" was an American icon and a familiar face to most Americans, especially during the 1950s and 60s when her popular TV sitcoms aired. She died in 1989 at the age of 77.

Lucy's path to fame

Lucy's first acting role was as a Goldwyn Girl, promoting the movie "Roman Candles" in 1933. She was an extra in "The Three Musketeers," then finally claimed a notable role in "Stage Door." In all, Lucy performed in 72 movies, including "Dance, Girl, Dance," where she met her future husband Desi Arnaz.

Ball briefly turned to radio programs, then began her long career in television. "I Love Lucy" aired from 1951 to 1957. She also starred in "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" in the 1960s and "Life with Lucy "in the 1980s, but none of them were as popular as the original "I Love Lucy."

"I Love Lucy" Episodes Online

Lucy meeting Harpo Marx, Vitameatavegimin, and Lucy giving birth to little Ricky are three of the most popular "I Love Lucy" episodes but there are many others. Fans can reminisce by watching full length versions for the first three seasons' shows online and can download other episodes.

Lucy's historic "firsts"

Lucy was rightly considered a broadcast pioneer for her historic firsts including:

* first woman to head a major television production studio (Lucille Ball Productions)

* first woman to receive International Television and Radio Society Gold Medal

* first woman inducted into Television Academy Hall of Fame

Recognition for accomplishments

In addition to the gold medal and Hall of Fame induction, Lucy received 5 Emmys for her dramatic accomplishments and Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.

Posthumously, Ball received a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Legacy of Laughter/TV Land Award in 2007 and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Important People of the Century.

Lucy Ball trivia

* Lucy Ball was known for her red hair, but that wasn't her natural hair color. Lucy was born a brunette. She first dyed her hair blonde, then the trademark red.

* Lucy went to drama school in New York with Bette Davis.

* Ball's drama coaches at John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts reportedly told her she had no future at all as a performer.

* Famous Communist persecutor J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed Lucy's TV show and wrote her a fan letter, despite her having registered as a member of the Communist party. Two years before he sent the fan letter, Hoover's FBI opened an investigation into Ball's alleged anti-American activity.

* Stage names used by Ball early in her career include "Montana" and "Diane Belmont."

* More viewers watched the episode of "I Love Lucy" in which Lucy Ricardo gave birth to Ricky, Jr. than tuned into President Eisenhower's inauguration.

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