Everyone knows Lucille Ball for her role on I Love Lucy, but today I am going to give you some information you may not have known. I guarantee you that at least one fact will surprise you.
First and foremost, Lucy fought for what she wanted, and she was determined to get what she wanted. This is true of her career as a whole, but also of smaller points along the path. When the producers approached her to be the star of I Love Lucy, she immediately told them that they needed to cast her husband, Desi, as her husband. Desi Arnaz was a Cuban American, and the studios didn’t think that Americans would want to watch an interracial couple. The pair set out to prove the studio wrong. They went on a small tour from theater to theater, entertaining audiences with their comedy routines. In the end Lucy got her way and the pair was cast for I Love Lucy.
Not only did she fight for what she wanted, she shattered multiple records and stood out as an actress in her time. She had roles in a handful of movies before her show launched her into infamy, and so did Desi. At the time it was uncommon for stars to make the switch between the two. Some people thought it was impossible to do. But again, Ms. Ball was not one to take no for an answer. If she had, then who knows if we would have ever even heard her name.
Not only was she transitioning from movies to TV, Lucy was also 40 years old when the first episode aired. Other actresses that she had been competing with for roles had retired by then. Even today it is uncommon for a woman to get her “big break” in acting after she has turned 30. At her age, Lucy was also older than her husband. Of course, there is no specific law preventing this, but it wasn’t too common in her day. It was also a bit of a sore point for her husband. This combined with the fact that he was shorter than her gave him a bit of an inferiority complex. He often lied to reporters about his height and wore lifts in his shoes throughout the show.
Lucy stole the hearts of Americans everywhere with her sitcom, and what’s more wholesome than bringing a baby into the world? Lucy got pregnant and started showing during the taping of the series. The producers were uncomfortable with the thought of her being pregnant on TV and wanted to hide it altogether. But if we know anything about Lucy, she had a better idea. She incorporated her pregnancy into the show, and the episode where her character gives birth is still one of the highest rated episodes.
However, it wasn’t her plan to wait to have a baby. She and Desi had been trying for years, and she had a few miscarriages along the way. Due to the repressive culture of the time, Lucy had to keep all of this quiet and struggle alone. Some years later she did mention that she was scared she was completely unable to have children. She would go on to have the ideal family, a boy and girl named after their mother and father.
There’s another side to the American sweetheart. Before she met Desi, when her career was still struggling, she was married to a man named Johnny DaVita. He was involved with the criminal element, and he started to suck Lucy down with him. At one point she almost gave up on her acting career altogether. She said she would simply live a life of crime with him. Thankfully, that’s not how her story ended.
That’s not her only dark spot, though, as she at one point associated herself with a few gangsters in New York City. Reportedly there were numerous attempts on her life. One time she was having a bath when she was fired at. She survived without a scratch, but the whole floor below her became flooded. Lucky for Lucy, and for everyone else, her life got a lot brighter.
Well, she wanted people to believe it had. Desi Arnaz was not the idyllic family father that he played on the show. He was a father, and a pretty good one, but he was a lousy husband. He cheated on Lucy repeatedly, sometimes right under her nose. According to him, though, she shouldn’t be upset because he was hooking up with prostitutes, so it didn’t really count. But it did count, and they couldn’t stop the press from finding out. Right as I Love Lucy reached it’s peak popularity, the scandal broke in Confidential. This was a publication notorious for exposing scandals and ruining reputations. For some reason, though, it didn’t work this time. Lucy and Desi stayed popular for years to come.
What wasn’t known at the time was that right before ILL premiered, Lucy filed for divorce. She was tired of the cheating, lying and drinking. But once they actually appeared in court, Lucy took it all back and they walked out of the courtroom hand in hand. Some people claim that Lucy insisted that they cast Desi in the show because she wanted to keep an eye on him. She refused to participate in a project that would keep them apart. She feared that he would slip away and be unfaithful to her while she was filming. Still others say that she intentionally had children to calm his promiscuity, but this has never been confirmed. Not to mention that this claim diminishes the love Lucy had for her children. She said that even given her whole career, the thing that she was most proud of was her kids.
The couple did eventually get divorced in 1960, but their relationship never really ended. They both got remarried. Many people say that Desi’s new wife was nice enough but looked exactly like Lucy. Lucy’s new husband treated her wonderfully and gave her the love she had always deserved. Even in their new relationships, the two stayed close. Friends close to Lucy say that the two loved each other to the end. A true Hollywood romance, perfect for the big screen. Heartbreak, romance, betrayal, love, lust and a lasting connection. Lucy and Desi will always be remembered for their work as America’s family.