Lucille Ball Essay Research Paper Lucille Desiree

Lucille Ball Essay, Research Paper

Lucille Desiree Ball. The first thought that comes into many people?s

minds when this name is said would be ? Lucy? the well known funny

character she played on her popular TV series ?I Love Lucy? ( 1951-57).How

did she become a legend? With dreams of being on stage in musicals to being

the ?star? in the big screen. Just like ?Lucy?, Lucille yearned to be a famous

performer. Looking back now, anyone could say that her childhood dream

came true. Who would have thought that a Jamestown farm girl could

become a Hollywood legend. I guess you can say it all started on August 6,

1911 in Jamestown New York – when a ?star? was born.

Lucille was the first child of Henry Dunnell Ball and the former

Desiree Evelyn Hunt, both were teens when they were married and had

Lucille. She had ancestors from all over Europe. With roots from France

England, Scotland, and Ireland.(Harris 20)

Besides having the ability to make anyone laugh any time and in any

situation. Another unforgettable trait Lucille had was her red hair.

Unfortunately, she was brought into this world with blond hair, that darkened

to a brunette. However she still kept that ?little girl? quality, which became

one of her main appeals as a comedian.

Lucille despised being called ?Lucy? so her family nicknamed her ?

Lucyball?. Although she tried to avoid being called ?Lucy? after a certain

television debut in 1951, she was rarely called anything but ?Lucy?.

Lucille?s father worked for her grandfather, Jasper Ball as a electrical

lineman. As a result of his job, the family was constantly on the move.

Lucille ended up spending her childhood in places like Anaconda, Montana,

and Wyandotte, Michigan. Far from her birthplace in Jamestown.( Harris 20)

Even as a child Lucille possessed qualities similar to ?Lucy?. Her

mother always had to tie a rope around her waist and hook it to the

clothesline in order to keep Lucille out of trouble. Most of the time she did

anyway. One morning her mother looked out the window and saw her all

tangled up on a tree branch, begging the milkman to help her get free.( Harris


Life seemed to go well for young Lucille. With a baby brother on the

way. It was supposed to be their happiest year. Until a tragedy happened to

the Ball?s. In February, Henry Ball came down with typhoid fever and died.

After her father?s death, Lucille and her mother moved to Jamestown to live

her grandparents, Frederick and Florabelle Hunt. Shortly after the move,

Lucille?s baby brother Fred was born on July 3, 1915. Certain that Fred was

her mother?s favorite Lucille hated her brother. Little did she know that her

mother dedicated her life to Lucille. Desiree had studied piano and wanted

Lucille to follow in her footsteps, but Lucille showed no interest despite her

mother?s efforts to teach her.( Harris 21)

Lucille was in care of her grandparents most of the time. Her mother

still young and wanting to find a husband made it difficult to watch over

Lucille and Fred. Lucille was very close to her grandparents, especially her

grandfather. She got her first taste of show business from Grandpa Hunt.

Lucille loved watching vaudeville with her grandpa on Saturdays. When they

got home, she would reenact the show for her grandmother. She also used to

play theater with her friend Pauline Lopus. They used the barn as their

theater, stage, mansion, ranch house. Lucille and her friends often put on

one-act plays and revues, for which they made their own tickets, props, and

advertising posters. She loved playing a boy in her acts and the audience

loved it too. Her grandfather saw her love for acting, and he encourage her to

get involved in plays at school and church.( Harris 22)

Like before whenever things seem to be going well for Lucille,

something had to go wrong. It did. In 1920 Lucille?s mom Desiree remarried,

and left Lucille and Fred temporarily. Later she sent for her kids where they

lived with her new husband Ed Peterson. Ed was really strict to the children,

Lucille felt frustrated all the time with his rules. The only way out of this for

her was to make people laugh. Things began to go bad in the Peterson home

Ed began drinking. That?s when Lucille and her brother were sent back to

their grandparent?s house. Once again tragedy strict, Lucille?s grandmother

died from cancer. With her grandmother gone, Lucille had to take care of

Fred. And at the age of 10, she began having part-time jobs. During the

summer, she sold hot dogs and ice cream from a little gazebo or on the

boardwalk. Lucille was in her teens when World War I and the Great

Depression.( Harris 25-6)

Lucille was the first girl in her neiborhood to get the bob hair cut, own

a raccoon coat, and to wear unbuckled galoshes. Like true ?flapper?. At 15,

Lucille was 5?6, as tall as she would ever be. Many didn?t know if she was a

woman or a child because of her mature looks. Some people were suspicious

of where she got that $125 raccoon coat. But it was a bribe from her mother

to keep Lucille from dropping school.( Harris 26)

Lucille didn?t really care about her education. She could have been a

good student if she wanted to. At 15, she wanted to quit going to Jamestown

High School and go to John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton School of the

Theater and Dance which she thought would lead her to a big career in

Broadway or in vaudeville. Desiree finally agreed to let Lucille go, but only

on a trial bases for 6 weeks. Her mom doubted she wouldn?t get any further

than that. Unfortunately her mother was right, Lucille was in and out of that

school in 6 weeks. The school even sent her mom a letter literally saying she

was wasting her money. Lucille did have a role model in her short time at the

academy. Ruth Elizabeth Davis, or as she was known at the school Bette

Davis. Lucille would follow her around the school in complete admiration-

trying to study her.( Harris 26)

It was back to Jamestown High. Lucille being a typical teenager, hung

out at Harvey?s Drugstore, dated boys, played on the girl?s basketball team,

and was a cheerleader. Typical teenager, except she was determined to

become an actress. ( Harris 28)

Lucille?s grandfather was forced to sell the house and possessions to

pay for medical bills for an accident that happened at his house to one of

Fred?s friends. So they had to move in with Desiree and Ed. Lucille couldn?t

stand living in such a small house with so many people. She often took the

train to commute between Jamestown and New York.( Harris 28)

Over the next few years Lucille tried and failed to land jobs in the

entertainment world. She even tried using stage names, she encouraged

people to call her ?Montana?. No matter what she called herself, Lucille

could get no further than auditions. She supported herself by getting

part-time jobs selling theatrical cosmetics at Grey?s drugstore and clerking at

Woolworth?s. Lucille even considered becoming a beautician, but she didn?t

have the money to take the course required to get a license. During this time

she lived with a family in Washington Heights while attending the

Anderson-Milton school again. Feeling homesick, she moved back to

Jamestown and went back to Jamestown High. Where she joined a group

called the ?Player?. Lucille got the part of the leading role in Within the

Law, a production of Bayard Veiller. She even dyed her hair to get more into

her character. Well the critics raved about Lucille?s performance. Although

no audience or talent scouts were in the audience. Positive responses sent her

back to New York for another try at fame. ( Harris 30)

Delayed but not discouraged Lucille was unable to find a acting career

there. However she did find a small modeling job which turned into a big

modeling job. At first it was modeling dresses for fashion shows. Which paid

only $25 a week. Then she got help from Roger Furse who got her modeling

hats at a ritzy salon for Hattie Carnegie. Things seemed to be going well with

her modeling, until she fractured her spine in a auto accident in Central Park.

She spent three years recuperating in a hospital. From wheelchair to crutches,

then finally she could walk again. Lucille couldn?t go back to her job, Hattie

Carnegie had died and left no record that Lucille had work for her. Lucille

still struggling, landed a job to pose for a billboard. ?The Chesterfield Girl?.

The ad won her two screen tests, one at Paramount studio in Long Island and

the other at Vitagraph Brooklyn. But nobody wanted to develop her into a

movie actress, she decided to look elsewhere. One day while shopping for

underwear, she bumped into a agent Sylvia Hahlo. She had just lost a client

and she needed one more girl for a troupe that she was sending to California

to work for Sam Goldwyn. She was one of the twelve models selected to

glamorize Roman Scandals, a musical extravaganza. I guess that was her big

break, to become the ?star?. Little did she know it was only the beginning of

a life long career full of glamour, laughter, and tears.( Harris 34-6)

From there, Lucille went along with the other girls to Chicago where

she starred in her first movie ? The Old Maestro?. Another film she starred

in was Roman Scandal, it?s similar to ?The Wizard of Oz?. She started

playing walk on roles and from there she played bigger more important roles

until eventually she had parts in movies like. After she moved to Hollywood,

California in 1933,she appeared in dozens of motion pictures, including

Stage Door (1937), Five Came Back (1939) and Dance Girl Dance (1940)

where she met Desi Arnaz, which she fell in love with and was married to on

November 30, 1940 in Connecticut.( Harris 87-8) (Encarta 98 Encyclopedia)

Lucille?s unforgettable TV series ?I Love Lucy? was a big success

which starred her husband Desi Arnaz which she met while on the set of Too

Many Girls- a Broadway musical. The plot was simple for ?I Love Lucy? in

this series Ball and Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, a married couple

who lived in a New York apartment. It focused on their everyday family life,

especially Lucy?s attempts to become a stage performer and the efforts of

bandleader Ricky to keep her out of it. The hilarious show started in 1951

and ended in 1957. ( Encarta 98 Encyclopedia)

During her years of ?I Love Lucy? at the age of forty and ten years

after they were married she had her first child, Lucie Desiree Arnaz. Born on

July 17, 1951. Then in January 19, 1953 she gave birth to Desi Jr., which

made ?I Love Lucy? an even bigger success. Since they added ? Little Ricky?

into the script. ( Harris 168, 189)

Although on TV the supposed Lucille and Desi seemed to be the happiest

couple. But in reality things couldn?t be any worst. Constantly fighting on

and off the set. Their unstoppable arguments and temporally separations

eventually turned into a bad divorce in 1959. ( Encarta 98 Encyclopedia)

Fame and fortune. Isn?t that what Lucille wanted from the beginning?

Her childhood dream had become a reality. But, like reality not everything

was dreams. Ricky remarried, leaving Lucille all alone. But she got back on

her horse and she starred in lots of good TV shows, films and on Broadway

after ? I Love Lucy? ended. ( Encyclopedia)

In February 1989, Lucille received a call from the producers of

moviedom?s annual Academy Awards spectacular asking if she?d team up

with Bob Hope on the next telecast. It was an offer she couldn?t refuse. She

even bought a beautiful black beaded gown with a gold sequined collar

for the Awards. Lucille and Bob Hoped received a standing ovation when

they strolled out on stage of the Chandler Pavilion on March 29. The next

day Bob called her to see how she was feeling, claimed to be fine. She had

plans to fly to Jamestown, however she never made it back to her hometown.

Three weeks after the telecast while eating breakfast she felt a stabbing pain

in her chest. And was taking to Cedars-Sinai Hospital emergency room. She

had to have open heart surgery, at first she seemed to have been recovering

well. Then on April 24, 1989 she suffered a full cardiac arrest. Although the

doctors tried to get her heart started again, it just wasn?t enough. She was

declared dead at 6:04 a.m. at the age of 77. As soon as the news broke out

fans flocked to Lucille?s house in Beverly Hills leaving flowers at her

doorstep. To avoid a circus of a public funeral, she didn?t have one. Her

body was cremated and the ashes were buried in the Family plot at Forrest

Lawn. Gary Morton her two children and their spouses were the only

witnesses. ( Harris 328-32)

Whether if any one believes it, there is no question that Lucille Ball

will go on forever in the hearts of those who have seen her in ?I Love Lucy?

or in the dozens and dozens of other successful programs and movies she did

in her life. Because of the long reach of TV no other person in my opinion

has ever brought more laughter to the world. Her humor is universal and

timeless. Her work will seem even funnier as time goes on. She left us a

legend, proving that even your wildest dreams can come a reality.


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