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August 7, 2023

Amazing Vintage Photos of a Very Young Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was an American actress, comedian, and producer. She was nominated for 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning five times, and was the recipient of several other accolades, such as the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1925, Ball, then only 14, started dating Johnny DeVita, a 21-year-old local hoodlum. Her mother was unhappy with the relationship, and hoped the romance, which she was unable to influence, would burn out. After about a year, her mother tried to separate them by exploiting Ball’s desire to be in show business. Despite the family’s meager finances, in 1926, she enrolled Ball in the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts, in New York City, where Bette Davis was a fellow student. Ball later said about that time in her life, “All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened.” Ball’s instructors felt she would not be successful in the entertainment business, and were unafraid to directly state this to her.

In 1932, she moved back to New York City to resume her pursuit of an acting career, where she supported herself by again working for Carnegie and as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. Using the name Diane (sometimes spelled Dianne) Belmont, she started getting chorus work on Broadway, but it did not last. Ball was hired — but then quickly fired — by theater impresario Earl Carroll from his Vanities, and by Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. from a touring company of Rio Rita. Here are some amazing portraits of a very young Lucille Ball from between the late 1920s and early 1930s.


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