Lucy Ricardo, on hilarious antics and ideas


When people hear the name, Lucy Ricardo, they think of hilarious antics, ridiculous ideas, and hair-brained schemes.

They also think of her handsome, bongo-playing husband, Ricky Ricardo.  But Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez were better actors than what people viewed on television.  Because after the cameras on the ‘I Love Lucy’ set stopped filming and the lights were cut off, America’s most famous couple was not so content and easygoing, as they appeared on television.  People imagined their real life marriage to be as carefree and loving as it was on the set, but behind the laughter laid heartache and deceit.


After meeting on the set of a movie, Desi Arnez caught Lucille Ball’s eye with his flair, talent, and his boatload of charm.  Against all odds and after a stormy six-month courtship, they were married in 1940.  At twenty-nine, Lucille was five and a half years older than Desi and far more successful.  They stared in a few movies together but Desi led his own band, touring the country constantly.  And he awoke everyday and found he had been everywhere, except home.  Temptation and time on the road caused Desi to slip away from his marriage vows.  The traits that Lucille could not resist in him in the beginning -his accent and dark beauty, but also his jealous and passionate ways- were the things that led to the downfall of their marriage.


Lucille and Desi always looked for work together, but never had any luck—until one day in 1951.  The radio show that Lucille stared in at the time, ‘My Favorite Husband’, was turned into a television show, better known today as ‘I Love Lucy’.  Desi was cast as Lucille’s television husband and from that point on, they were known and Lucy and Ricky, America’s most watched and loved couple.  But the “happy” couple used their television marriage as a source to get away from their actual, failing marriage.  Lucille used comedy to hide her pain but by 1960, she had filed for divorce and the ‘I Love Lucy’ reign was drawing to a close.  On March 2, the last episode was filmed, and the happy couple that had once brought so much laughter and joy into everyone’s homes was at the point that they could neither live, nor work together any longer.


Even after their divorce Lucille carried on her career without Desi.  She was still driven by a perpetual need to make people laugh.  She made many television appearances and remained popular, staring in three other sitcoms, featuring her hilarious antics once again.  But no role she played came close to her original character -the zany housewife the world had come to love- Lucy Ricardo.   She endured many hardships and learned to live life without Desi. She even bought out his share of Desilu; the successful production company they owned together.  Lucille was known for comedy, no one knew how much fight she really had in her.  She showed the world just how strong she really was, carrying on without Desi, because if people thought for one second that she was going to cave in without a fight, they had picked the wrong redhead.


There is perhaps no other performer in the history of television that has affected so many people and caused so much wholehearted laughter.  Lucille Ball lived to perform and in her performing, she made millions of people smile and forget their problems.  Maybe she loved to perform so much because it was her way to distant herself from her problems as well.  Blessed with an expressive face, a distinctive voice, and perfect timing, Lucille was not afraid to look the fool, if fact she reveled in it.  This tireless entertainer made seventy-three movies, appeared in fifty-one television specials, and stared in four television series during her career.  Even today, almost twenty years after her death, the world’s love affair with Lucille Ball continues.

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