How Desi Arnaz Broke Lucille Ball's Heart

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz created Hollywood's most iconic sitcom. Sadly Desi's bad behavior left Lucille with a broken heart

Lucille Desiree Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York. Tragically her father died when she was just three years old. Her mother remarried and the family moved to Celeron, New York. At the age of fifteen she went to New York City and enrolled in drama school. Using the stage name of Diane Belmont she began modeling. She earned very little and had to resort to posing nude to earn money. After being fired from the Ziegfeld Follies she was so distraught she considered suicide! Her big break came in 1932 when producer Sam Goldwyn chose her to be one of his "Goldwyn Girls". Lucille landed small roles in movies like Stage Door, Top Hat, and Room Service. She was briefly engaged to Broderick Crawford and had an affair with producer Pandro S. Berman. While making the comedy Too Many Girls she met Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz. They were married in November of 1940 after a whirlwind courtship. Lucille was madly in with her new husband and the two enjoyed an active sex life. To get more attention in Hollywood she decided to dye her brown hair bright red. It worked and in 1943 she signed a contract with MGM where she became known as "Technicolor Tessie". 

Lucille BallLucille Ball

She worked with Bob Hope in Fancy Pants and with Van Johnson in Easy To Wed but she was unhappy with the roles she was given. Unfortunately her marriage to Desi was very tumultuous. They had raging fights and in 1944 she filed divorce. They reconciled a few weeks later. The couple desperately wanted to become parents but she suffered several miscarriages. Lucille finally gave birth to a daughter named Lucie at the age of thirty-nine. Wanting to spend more time together she and Desi teamed up to co-star in a television show. When producers were reluctant to cast Cuban born Desi as Lucille's husband they decided to produce the show themselves. Together they formed Desilu productions and their show I Love Lucy premiered in October of 1951. I Love Lucy was a huge success and they quickly became the most popular couple on television. She would win two Emmy awards for her performance on the show. When her onscreen character, Lucy Ricardo, gave birth in January of 1953 more than forty million viewers tuned in. That same month their real son, Desi Junior, was born. In 1954 she and Desi teamed up again to make the hit film The Long Long Trailer. 

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz in I Love LucyLucille Ball Desi Arnaz
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball

Meanwhile Desilu became one of the most successful production companies in Hollywood. Sadly the pressures of their high profile careers began to take a toll on the marriage. Desi started drinking heavily and often cheated with prostitutes. By 1960 she could no longer live with his bad behavior. A heartbroken Lucille decided to end their television show and filed for divorce. At their trial she said the marriage had been "a nightmare". She married comedian Gary Morton in 1961. Lucille would star in two more long-running television series - The Lucy Show with Vivian Vance and Here's Lucy. She continued to run Desilu until 1967 when she sold her shares for more than $17 million. Although she never reunited with Desi she never stopped caring about him. The night before he died in 1985 she spoke to him on the phone and repeatedly told him"I love you". Her final public appearance would be at the 1989 Academy Awards. On April 26, 1989 she died from an aortic aneurysm at the age of seventy-seven. Lucille was cremated and her ashes were buried in Los Angeles, California. In 2002 her family moved them to Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, New York.

Lucille Ball NudeLucille Ball
Lucille posing nude

Lucille Ball

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