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August 6, 2020

10 Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the Comedic Legend Lucille Ball

Many people consider Lucille Ball the queen of comedy, and the Chicago Tribune referred to her as TV’s first lady. She paired with Desi Arnaz for an unforgettable comedic duo that has remained beloved decades after her death. Here are some facts about Lucy that may surprise you!

1. Lucy Began Modeling as a Teenager Under the Name Diane Belmont


Although she is a beautiful woman, Lucille never really attempted to have a glamorous look in her television career, so you might be surprised to learn that Lucy earned her living as a model before she ever turned to comedy for her show business career. In fact, she dyed her blonde hair red to differentiate herself from the idea of a Hollywood starlet.


2. She Was Not a Natural Redhead


Aside from her extensive career that speaks volumes, one of the most memorable things about Lucy is her red hair. But she actually wasn’t a natural redhead! In fact, she was a brunette.

She first dyed her hair blonde when she worked as an in-house model for Hattie Carnegie, at Hattie’s request/demand. It was in the early ‘50s that she was urged by MGM to dye her hair red and she agreed to the choice. Her hairstylist considered the color “golden apricot” and they used a special henna rinse for it.


3. She Started I Love Lucy When She Was 40


For years, she was trying to make it on Broadway and starred in so many B-grade films, she earned the nickname “Queen of the Bs.” The same year that I Love Lucy took off and rocketed her into superstardom, Lucy celebrated her 40th birthday.

At that time (and still to this day) many women were disregarded after their 35th birthday, yet she made a name for herself and became a household name at 40.


4. Her Mother Attended Every Taping of Her Show


Die hard fans of I Love Lucy may have picked up on what seems to be an extremely consistent audience member yelling the words “Oh no” or Uh-oh” every time Lucy finds herself in one of her beloved pickles. The person behind those exclamations was Ball’s mother, DeDe Ball. Ever the proud mom, she attended every taping of I Love Lucy. In fact, I Love Lucy pioneered the practice of filming in front of a live studio audience as well as filming with multiple cameras, both of which are still done by sitcoms today.


5. She Almost Drowned in the Famous Grape Stomping Scene


In one of the show’s most memorable scenes, Lucy stomps on grapes in a giant vat with an Italian woman. That woman was actress and opera singer Teresa Tirelli D’Amico who, according to Ball, attempted to drown her during the scene. Apparently, D’Amico held her down under the crushed grapes for longer than the script directions told her to and Ball got grapes in her nose, which made it difficult to breathe. Although it's not likely that Ball almost met her maker during the filming of the scene, it is likely that the language barrier incited D’Amico to become much more physical than the script instructed.


6. Lucy Was the First Pregnant Actress to Play a Pregnant Woman on Television


When Lucy was expecting her second child, son Desi Arnaz, Jr., writers wrote the pregnancy into the show instead of hiding it. Of course, they used the word “expecting” rather than “pregnant” to keep everyone happy.


7. Lucy Didn’t Think She was Funny


Although Lucy has undoubtedly achieved the status of a comedy icon, she was humble about her success. According to The Los Angeles Times, Lucy didn’t even think she was particularly funny. Instead, she pointed out that the writers and directors on the show were the ones responsible for creating all the show’s jokes.

The hilarious redhead did, however, concede that she was brave. Bravery is what propelled Lucy from a long career in supporting parts in movies to starring in her own television series, back when being an actress in your 40s was “past your prime” and such a move was considered career suicide.


8. She Was the First Female to Run a Major Hollywood Studio


Lucy was a pioneer in the industry and worked hard to create a string of “firsts for women.” One of her biggest accomplishments was being the first woman to run a major studio. Together with her then-husband, Desi Arnaz, Lucille founded Desilu Productions, which is best known for producing I Love Lucy, Star Trek, and The Untouchables.

After she and Desi divorced, Lucy bought out Desi’s shares and took an even bigger interest in the production company. She then succeeded her former husband as President of the company.


9. Without Lucy, There Would Be No Star Trek


In 1965, when NBC received the pilot for Star Trek, they initially rejected it because they thought it was “too cerebral.” Lucy, who at this point was the sole owner of Desilu, liked the idea of the show so much that she used her considerable influence and money to help Gene Roddenberry make another pilot – this time with an entirely new cast. The second pilot was a hit and was picked up by NBC. Ed Holly, a former studio executive said the following about Lucy’s role in the production of Star Trek: “If it were not for Lucy, there would be no Star Trek today.”


10. She Kept Her Trademark Hair Color for More Than Four Decades


Some prefer to go gray as they get older, but Lucy kept her stunning hue all the way until 1989.




1 comment:

  1. and sha has been the first to give his chance to Arnold Shwarzenegger

    ReplyDelete

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