As early as I can remember — maybe since I was a tiny tot of four years, I have been hooked on the zany antics of a woman so unafraid of just being herself, that the world is still madly in love with her 100 years later: Lucille Ball.
In a time when women were often oppressed, especially in the professional world, Lucille Ball was determined to show men that women were not to be underestimated. She pioneered an age for women as business moguls, comediennes and simply as equal beings. But forget the women empowerment mumbo-jumbo, and most importantly lovable Lucy has always been an unforgettable and irreplaceable imprint on the world as a human who ignited 60 years of laughter.
When I wasn’t even fluent in English, I was rolling in laughter at the slapstick comedy always showcased in Lucille Ball’s iconic show, I Love Lucy. A show that has never been off the air since it debuted in October of 1951, I Love Lucy will always be my #1 comedy show. I rarely make such superlative claims, but this statement I firmly stand behind because never has there been a show, nor will there ever be a show that is so purely comedic and classic in its plots ever again; most often Lucy was getting herself involved in hairy situations because of her insatiable curiosity and hunger for a little mischief, and there was something very endearing about her silly antics.
Comedic television shows today often tread the line of offensive and funny because their success usually come from a dynamic combination of talented actors and ingenius writers. Lucille Ball was an actress who outshone anyone on set or behind the camera simply because of her talent of timing and delivery. One minute she was cowering under her hot-blooded, Latin husband’s temper, and the next she was putting her foot down standing her ground. Sometimes she stomped that foot figuratively, and sometimes she stomped it right into a pail of cement. With Lucy, you just never knew which one of her 100 characters you’d see. She always kept audiences guessing, hungry for more, and most importantly — happy. And these are only a few reasons why I will always love Lucy: my idol, my favorite actress, and my personal laugh factory.
Had she been alive, Lucille Ball would have been celebrating her 100th birthday today, August 6. While she can’t be here to celebrate her life, the world is doing it for her. Google even introduced a special logo on their homepage resembling the vintage black and white heart that is signature to the I Love Lucy intro — even giving you the option to listen to the theme music. Too cool, Google!
Here are some interesting things you may have not known about America’s favorite red-headed bombshell:
- She died on my exact birthdate: April 26, 1989. Not really something to be excited about because it’s actually kind of sad, but I’ve always felt like this bonded my connection to Lucy in a strange way!
- She was six years senior to her on-screen and real life, first husband, Desi Arnaz. Whew — talk about a cougar for the ’40s!
- I Love Lucy started as a radio show called My Favorite Husband for which Lucy played the lead role of a nutty housewife for four years. When CBS asked her to help develop it for TV, she insisted Desi be her on-screen husband, but they refused. Feisty as ever (not to mention endearingly loyal), she packed up and left. CBS eventually caved, not Lucy.
- She was the first woman to be the head of a major television production company when she bought out Desi’s ownership in their venture, Desilu Productions, after their divorce. What did I tell you —a true pioneer, this woman was!
- Lucy began her career as a model and was never very successful in movies (earning the unofficial title as “Queen of the B’s”). At one point she was told to leave the business because she would never make it. I love when people say this and are proven so horribly wrong. It makes for great Wikipedia pages.
- She was once registered as a communist as a favor to her grandfather. When it was discovered, her career was almost jeopardized, but in true Lucy-manner she was able to smooth things over. Desi even joked after that the only thing “red” about Lucy was her hair and even that wasn’t real. Laughter commenced from the audience before she was given an honorable standing ovation, and all was well.
To celebrate my leading lady’s birthday, I will whip out my complete set of I Love Lucy on DVD, kick back, and remember why, still, I love lucy so much…