Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball: Not the Girl Next Door

This exhibit highlights Lucille Ball’s early years in Jamestown and Celoron, her many trips home throughout her career, and rarely seen photographs that were taken by her friend Marion Strong VanVlack.

The photos show a touching, and human aspect of this internationally loved comedienne. Born on August 6, 1911, at home at 60 Stewart Avenue, Jamestown, New York, Lucille has often reflected upon fond memories spent in this area. Most of Lucille’s childhood was spent in Celoron, New York. Here the excitement of Celoron Park surrounded her, planting seeds for her future career.

Lucille made four notable visits to the area: one in 1933, in 1944 when “Grampa” Hunt died (also tying in a campaign to sell war bonds), in 1946, and in 1956 when her film Forever Darling premiered at Dipson’s Palace Theater. She was scheduled to come again to receive an honorary diploma from Jamestown Community College in 1989, but succumbed on April 26, following heart surgery.

Looking for more about Lucille Ball? Check out the Timeline of Lucille Ball’s Life & Career and The Many Names of Lucy and Family pages.

Timeline of Lucille Ball’s Life & Career

  • 1911 – Born August 6, Jamestown, New York, daughter of Henry Durrell Ball and Desiree Evelyn Hunt Ball.
  • 1926 – Began career in show business in New York City as a chorus girl.
  • 1933 – Went to Hollywood as movie showgirl, later became successful actress appearing in more than 75 films, under contract with Sam Goldwyn, Columbia and RKO.
  • 1940 – Married Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III (Desi Arnaz), Cuban percussionist, whom she met while both were filming Too Many Girls.
  • 1951 – Formed Desilu Productions with $5,000. I Love Lucy began its historic six year domination of TV comedy. Lucie Desiree Arnaz was born July 17, 1951.
  • 1953 – I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy Ricardo gave birth to Little Ricky in telecast on January 19, 1953, the same day that Lucille Ball gave birth to second child Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y Acha IV (Desi, Jr.). Received first two Emmy Awards, for Best Comedienne and Best Situation Comedy on the Air.
  • 1957 – Desilu purchased RKO Studios and began producing other TV programs.
  • 1960 – The Arnaz’ divorce and Desi sold his share of the studio to Lucy for 3 million dollars.
  • 1961 – Lucy married Morton Goldapper (Gary Morton), who became her executive producer.
  • 1962 – Lucille returned to the airwaves with a successful solo launch of The Lucy Show.
  • 1967 – Lucy sold Desilu to Gulf and Western Industries for 18 million dollars.
  • 1968 – The Lucy Show was redesigned and became Here’s Lucy. It ran until 1974 and starred Ball’s real life children.
  • 1974 – Lucille played the title role in the movie version of Mame.
  • 1985 – In her first dramatic role in years, Lucille played an amazingly convincing New York City bag lady in the CBS teleplay Stone Pillow. Lucille finished the shooting, but the combination of a heat wave and the strenuous work forced her to be hospitalized with dehydration and exhaustion.
  • 1986 – Life With Lucy was launched by ABC, but despite hard work, it was not successful. On December 17, 1986, Lucille Ball was honored with an award for life-long achievement at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, by President Reagan.
  • 1989 – On April 18, Lucille underwent emergency heart surgery, and died a week later on April 26, 1989.

The many names of Lucy & family

  • Lucille Desiree Ball (born August 6, 1911 and died April 26, 1989) was born at 60 Stewart Avenue on the westside of Jamestown, N. Y. It is now 69 Stewart Avenue. She spent most of her childhood on Eighth Street, now Lucy Lane in Celoron, N.Y.
  • Lucy Ricardo was the fictitious character Lucille Ball played on television who lived at the fictitious address of 623 68th Street, N.Y., N.Y.
  • Lucie Desiree Arnaz (born July 17, 1951) is the daughter of “Desi” Arnaz and Lucille Ball. She is also an actress.
  • Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III (“Desi”) (born March 2, 1917, died December 2, 1986) was the Cuban born band leader married Lucille Ball on November 30, 1940. They divorced March 3, 1960.
  • Ricky Ricardo was the fictitious character Desi played on the “I Love Lucy” show.
  • Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, (“Desi, Jr.”) (born January 19, 1953) is the son of “Desi” Arnaz and Lucille Ball. He is also an actor and a musician.
    Little Ricky was the fictitious son of the characters Lucy and Ricy Ricardo, also born January 19, 1953.
  • Keith Thibodeaux is the television child actor who played Little Ricky.
    Original broadcasts of “I Love Lucy” were run October 15, 1951 through May 6, 1957 (180 episodes) followed by 13 one hour specials that ran from November 6, 1957 through April 13, 1960.
  • Lucille Ball married Gary Morton on November 19th 1961.