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.

Looking for more about Lucille Ball? Check the The Many Names of Lucy and Family and Lucille Ball – Not the Girl Next Door pages.