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Lucille BallFeatured Actress

Lucille Ball was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911. After a career in modeling, in which she was the Chesterfield Girl, Lucy came to Hollywood in 1933 as a Goldwyn Girl. She played bit parts in two Eddie Cantor musicals (Roman Scandals and Kid Millions) but quickly decided she didn't want to be a showgirl. So Lucy got out of her Goldwyn contract and became a contract player with Columbia. However, even after moving to RKO in 1935, Lucy's career didn't really start to take off until she appeared in RKO's big 1938 drama, Stage Door, co-starring Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. She began getting featured (but not always better) roles in many RKO films. Her big break didn't really come until four years later, when she starred with Henry Fonda in The Big Street. MGM saw her and signed her up, ready to make her into their next musical-comedy star.

Lucy's MGM career looked rosy indeed when she was immediatley cast in a big, splashy Arthur Freed musical, Du Barry Was a Lady, with Red Skelton. The movie went well, and Lucy was quickly cast in another big musical, Thousands Cheer. This movie also went well, but Freed was busy with the studio's biggest comodity, Judy Garland, and Lucy fell by the way side. When she did make films, they were either big, elaborate MGM all-star revues (Thousands Cheer, Ziegfeld Follies), supporting roles in star-based films (Without Love, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood) or bland muscials (Meet the People -- her only film in 1944). So, Lucy got out of her MGM contract, and began free-lancing until 1948, when she got a role in My Favorite Husband -- a CBS radio show about a bank executive (Richard Denning) and his wacky wife (Lucy). In 1950, CBS wanted to move to television as is, but after a long fight, Lucy got them to allow her bongo-playing husband, Desi Arnaz, to co-star. And the rest, as they say, is history (and I Love Lucy).

After that, Lucy became a prolific television comedienne, as well as an off-and-on movie comedienne. She made four successful television series (I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy), and a few successful films (The Long, Long Trailer, Yours, Mine and Ours). Lucy did not return to the movie musical, however, until Mame in 1974. The film was critically panned, but it still took in high grosses. However, the fiasco that was Mame prompted Lucy to quit feature films for the rest of her life. After many more television appearences and one unsuccessful series comeback try (Life with Lucy), Lucille Ball died on April 26, 1989. She was 77.

Lucille Ball
Lucille in Ziegfeld Follies, 1946


Lucille Ball
Lucille in Mame, 1974


Filmography:

Mame, [Mame Dennis], Warner Bros., 1974
Yours, Mine and Ours, [Helen North Beardsley], UA, 1967
A Guide for the Married Man, [Technical Advisor], 20th Century-Fox, 1967
Critic's Choice, [Angela Ballantine], Warner Bros., 1963
The Facts of Life, [Kitty Weaver], UA, 1960
Forever, Darling, [Susan Vega], MGM/Zanra, 1956
The Long, Long Trailer, [Tracy Collini], MGM, 1954
The Magic Carpet, [Narah], Columbia, 1951
A Woman of Distinction, [Herself], Columbia, 1950
Fancy Pants, [Agatha Floud], Paramount, 1950
The Fuller Brush Girl, [Sally Elliot], Columbia, 1950
Easy Living, [Anne], RKO, 1949
Miss Grant Takes Richmond, [Ellen Grant], Columbia, 1949
Sorrowful Jones, [Gladys O'Neill], Paramount, 1949
Her Husband's Affairs, [Margaret Weldon], Columbia, 1947
Lured, [Sandra Carpenter], UA, 1947
Easy to Wed, [Gladys Benton], MGM, 1946
Ziegfeld Follies, [Specialty], MGM, 1946
The Dark Corner, [Kathleen], 20th Century-Fox, 1946
Lover Come Back, [Kay Williams], Universal, 1946
Two Smart People, [Ricki Woodner], MGM, 1946
Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, [Cameo], MGM, 1945
Without Love, [Kitty Trimble], MGM, 1945
Meet the People, [Julie Hampton], MGM, 1944
Best Foot Forward, [Lucille], MGM, 1943
Du Barry Was a Lady, [May Daly/Madame Du Barry], MGM, 1943
Thousands Cheer, [Cameo], MGM, 1943
The Big Street, [Gloria], RKO, 1942
Seven Days' Leave, [Terry], RKO, 1942
Valley of the Sun, [Christine Larson], RKO, 1942
A Girl, a Guy and a Gob, [Dot Duncan], RKO, 1941
Look Who's Laughing, [Julie Patterson], RKO, 1941
Too Many Girls, [Connie Casey], RKO, 1940
You Can't Fool Your Wife, [Clara Hinklin/Mercedes Vasquez], RKO, 1940
Dance, Girl, Dance, [Bubbles/Tiger Lily White], RKO, 1940
The Marines Fly High, [Joan Grant], RKO, 1940
Twelve Crowded Hours, [Paula Sanders], RKO, 1939
Beauty for the Asking, [Jean Russell], RKO, 1939
Five Came Back, [Peggy], RKO, 1939
Panama Lady, [Lucy], RKO, 1939
That's Right You're Wrong, [Sandra Sand], RKO, 1939
Annabel Takes a Tour, [Annabel Allison], RKO, 1938
Room Service, [Christine Marlowe], RKO, 1938
The Affairs of Annabel, [Annabel Allison], RKO, 1938
Having Wonderful Time, [Miriam], RKO, 1938
Go Chase Yourself, [Carol Meely], RKO, 1938
Joy of Living, [Salina], RKO, 1938
The Next Time I Marry, [Nancy Crocker Fleming], RKO, 1938
Hitting a New High, RKO, 1937
Stage Door, [Judy Canfield], RKO, 1937
Don't Tell the Wife, [Ann Howell], RKO, 1937
Follow the Fleet, [Kitty Collins], RKO, 1936
Bunker Bean, [Miss Kelly], RKO, 1936
Dummy Ache, [Actress], RKO, 1936
The Farmer in the Dell, [Gloria], RKO, 1936
That Girl From Paris, [Claire Williams], RKO, 1936
Winterset, [A Girl], RKO, 1936
Top Hat, [Flower Clerk], RKO, 1935
I'll Love You Always, [Lucille], RKO, 1935
Roberta, [Fashion Model; uncredited], RKO, 1935
Carnival, [Nurse], RKO, 1935
His Old Flame, RKO, 1935
I Dream Too Much, [Gwendolyn Dilley], RKO, 1935
The Three Musketeers, [Bit Part; uncredited], RKO, 1935
The Whole Town's Talking, [Girl; uncredited], Columbia, 1935
Three Little Pigskins, [Daisy Simms], Columbia, 1934
Broadway Bill, [Blonde telephone operator; uncredited], Columbia, 1934
The Affairs of Cellini, [Lady-in-Waiting; uncredited], UA, 1934
Bottoms Up, [Girl], Fox, 1934
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back, [Girl], UA, 1934
Fugitive Lady, [Beauty Operator], Columbia, 1934
Hold That Girl, [Girl], Fox, 1934
Jealousy, [Girl], Columbia, 1934
Kid Millions, [Goldwyn Girl], UA, 1934
Men of the Night, [Peggy], Columbia, 1934
Moulin Rouge, [Chorus Girl], UA, 1934
Nana, [Chorus Girl; uncredited], UA, 1934
Blood Money, [Bit Part; uncredited], UA, 1933
The Bowery, [Bit Part; uncredited], UA, 1933
Broadway Through a Keyhole, [Bit Part; uncredited], UA, 1933
Roman Scandals, [Slave Girl; uncredited], UA, 1933


Television Series:  (regular cast)

Life with Lucy, ABC, 1986 
Here's Lucy, CBS, 1968-74 
The Lucy Show, CBS, 1962-68 
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, CBS, 1957-60 
I Love Lucy, CBS, 1951-57


Television Specials:

I Love Lucy: The Very First Show [April 30, 1990] 
The I Love Lucy Christmas Special [December 18, 1989] 
Stone Pillow, (made-for-TV movie), [November 5, 1985] 
Lucy Moves to NBC [February 8, 1980] 
Lucy Comes to Nashville [November 19, 1978] 
Lucy Calls the President [November 21, 1977] 
CBS Salutes Lucy: The First 25 Years [November 28, 1976]
A Lucille Ball Special: What Now Catherine Curtis? [March 30, 1976] 
A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason [December 3, 1975] 
Happy Anniversary and Goodbye [November 19, 1974] 
Lucy Gets Lucky [March 1, 1974] 
The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour [January 22, 1967] 
Lucy in London [October 24, 1966] 
The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour: Mr. and Mrs. [April 19, 1964] 
The Desilu Review (Desilu Playhouse) [Decmeber 25, 1959] 
K.O. Kitty (Desilu Playhouse) [November 17, 1958] 


Radio:

My Favorite Husband, CBS, 1948-51


Broadway:

Wildcat [December 16, 1960 - May 24, 1961]




Autobiography:

Love, Lucy, by Lucille Ball with Betty Hannah Hoffman, Putnam, 1996

Biographies:

Buy Lucille Ball Biographies at Amazon!
Lucille Ball Autobiography

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Photos/Posters

Lucille Ball Film Collection DVD Box Set

Web resources:

The Lucille Ball File 
An in-depth fan site with tons of info on Lucy, including TV series episode guides, filmography of Lucy (and others), books, magazine articles, Lucy news, Lucy book store... too much to list! 

The I Love Lucy/Lucille Ball Mailing List 
An internet mailing list for discussion of all things Lucille Ball! 

TV Guide MovieGuide 
Great site for information on films!



Actors B: Ball, Lucille
Actors B: Ball, Lucille
Featured Actresses
Featured Actresses
Page originally written by Ted Nesi
with additions by Jim Johnson

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Orignial artwork, text and compilation ©1997-2008 Jim Johnson
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