For more than a decade Lucille Ball
was American TV's most popular comedienne, known for
her blazing red hair and slapstick situation comedy
She starred in five different TV shows during
her career; the original, I Love Lucy (1951-57), became
one of the great TV landmarks of the 1950s. The show
was consistently #1 in the ratings, attracted guest
stars like John Wayne and Orson Welles, and continued
in reruns for decades.
I Love Lucy also starred Ball's
real-life husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz; the
couple had two children, Desi Jr. and Lucie, and formed
a successful TV production company known as Desilu.
(Ball and Arnaz were divorced in 1960, and Ball later
married producer and TV personality Gary Morton.) Ball's
last series, Life With Lucy, ran briefly in 1986.
Vitameatavegamin, a fictional product hawked by Lucy's
character in a 1952 episode of I Love Lucy, has become
an oddly persistent piece of pop culture trivia...
A 34-cent U.S. postage stamp honoring Ball was unveiled
in August of 2001... Ball died in 1989 from a ruptured
aorta, which she suffered after open heart surgery.