Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sheroes: Lucille Ball

With February well under way, it's time for another Sheroes feature! Sheroes is a monthly feature where I share a little history on a woman (alive or dead) who's life I find aw-inspiring. (Click here to read about my last Sheroes post).

My shero this month is Lucille Ball. My boyfriend, James and I have recently started rewatching episodes of I Love Lucy (both of us hadn't watched the show in many years) and we've fallen head over heals for Lucille Ball ever since. She was an amazing actress and comedienne. For more than thirty years, she was one of the most recognized and loved entertainers in the world. She was in show business for 60 of her 77 years. She appeared in 74 movies and literally hundreds of TV shows.

While we all remember her from television, she worked in movies for over 15 years before I Love Lucy aired in 1951. She started her career as a fashion model in New York in 1929. (I had so much fun discovering old photos from Lucy's modeling career. She was so beautiful! And a blonde when she first started out!) In the mid-1930's she moved to Hollywood and began work in movies. By the end of the decade she appeared in 43 films and was known as the Queen of "B" movies.

1930's Lucy - Colorized
1944 Max Factor Ad Featuring Lucy
Lucy at the Wheel

Though she had the talent and charisma as a performer during that time, it wasn't until she played a part in the radio program, "My Favorite Husband" that her true genius appeared. "My Favorite Husband" was a situation comedy about a housewife who was always getting into trouble. After two successful years, Lucille Ball moved her radio show act to the new medium of television, bringing along her husband, Cuban band leader, Desi Arnaz, as her costar. Together they created the most popular television show of the 1950's- I Love Lucy.

The first episode aired on October 15, 1951 and for the next 25 years Lucille Ball virtually ruled the airwaves in a series of situation comedies designed to exploit her elastic expressions, slapstick abilities and distinct verbal talents (source).

The genius herself once said, "I'm not funny. What I am is brave." I think above all, that describes Lucy best. No other actress has been able to be simultaneously drop dead gorgeous and insanely funny like Lucy was. I love looking through photo archives and finding beautiful photos (like those above) as well as her hilarious comedy characters (see below). She worked fearlessly throughout her career and became a star that was dearly loved by all.

"I would rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not." 
-Lucille Ball

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
-Lucille Ball
"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball
For all her impact upon the very nature of television, Ball is most vividly recalled as a series of black and white images. To remember Lucille Ball is to recall a profusion of universal images of magical mayhem--a losing battle with a candy conveyor belt, a flaming nose, a slippery vat of grapes--images which, contrary to most American situation comedy, transcend nationalities and generations, in an absolute paradigm of side-splitting laughter (source).


Also checkout my boyfriend, James' new blog:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Woah, I wouldn't recognize her in those modeling images. Especially blond! Crazy.

I love I Love Lucy!

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