Lucille holds a deserved place in everyone’s heart as an incredibly talented comic, but she was much, much more reaching heights in the TV industry that few other women today have achieved.
New York can rightly claim her as a native despite the many years she spent in Hollywood. She was born in Jamestown, New York in 1911 and spent most of her childhood in various towns in upstate New York, did her drama training in NYC and then worked as a model and on Broadway. It wasn’t until 1933 that she started in small roles in Hollywood and gradually worked her way up to being the Queen of the B’s, the main go-to actress for the 2nd string movies that Hollywood churned out.
She finally found her feet as a comedienne in TV and she and her first husband Dezi Arnaz not only developed the long time and much beloved show ‘I Love Lucy’ but set up their own production company Desilu. TV was just getting underway and Lucille Ball’s production company pioneered filming techniques still in use today. Eventually she bought out Arnaz and became the head of what was by then their own Studio, the first woman to run one.
The ‘I Love Lucy’ show itself ran for years, garnering awards and great praise as well as everyone’s enduring affection. But she and Arnaz were also prefecting a form of TV comedy show that has since had many, many imitators. Desilu was also responsible for a string of super popular TV shows such as ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Mission Impossible’.
So Lucille Ball needs to be celebrated not just as a super gifted comic but also for her expertize and considerable management ability in establishing and running a large TV studio which was ultimately sold for $17m. That kind of money in today’s terms makes her equivalent to the media moguls of today, and few if any of them entrance people in front of the cameras as wonderfully as she did.