There once was a girl named Ruth Elizabeth Davis, who everyone called Bette. That's right, with an "e". Bette soon found out she had an eye-catching talent for the theater, and so her mother enrolled her on the prestigious John Murray Anderson Dramatic School, in New York. While she was there, she met a pretty girl, a few years younger than her, who wanted to be an actress just as badly as she did. However, the pretty girl was soon expelled from the acting school. "She is too shy," they'd say "she'll never make it as an actress."
The pretty girl was Lucille Désirée Ball. The pretty girl was nothing short of the biggest TV comedienne of all time.
Her red flaming hair (she was born a brunette!), big blue eyes, expressive features and sweet smile have now become classics and easily recognizable by anyone with the minimum knowledge of old school television. Lucy, as she was known, starred in various shows, the most famous of which being I Love Lucy, hilarious sitcom that, spanning for six seasons, won 4 primetime Emmys and was nominated for an additional 24 television prizes only in the USA. But poor Lucy had to struggle quite a bit to have her talent recognized by mainstream media in her day.
|Lucy and Desi Arnaz|
Despite the extensive number of films roles, Lucy was never considered a silver screen star. It seemed like her talent went by unrecognized by Hollywood, and she kept on searching for a decent outlet for her abilities. Her famous quote: " I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it, and I'm afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't. "
It was Hollywood, however, that introduced her to Desi Arnaz. Half-cuban, this Latin lover took Lucy's heart by storm. Soon after they met, the pair eloped. Their marriage lasted for 20 years and ended in divorce. Nevertheless, many, including Lucy herself, stated that Arnaz was the love of the mousy redhead's life. Even after the divorce, the twosome remained very close up until Arnaz's death. Rumor has it that when Arnaz was very ill and in his last days, he got a visit from Lucy. After talking for a few hours, the redhead said "I'm sorry Desi, it's time for me to go home." A weak, sick Desi uttered in response: "But you are home, Lucy."
Lucille was also well-known for never having one bad thing to say about a fellow star. She spoke very fondly of Desi Arnaz all her life. She called Julie Andrews "one of the best British comediennes", she affirmed vehemently that Audrey Hepburn could hold her own in "my type of comedy" and she admitted to wishing she had Liza Minelli's talent. She called Vivien Vance "sensational", she said she loved Maureen O'Hara more than almost everybody she knew, and spelled Bob Hope as "C-L-A-S-S". Always smiling, always lovely, always nice, there seemed to not be a single soul who disliked Lucy.
Lucy experienced great success on Broadway as well, but nothing compared to her talent for the television. The world was saddened by her loss in 1989, from an aortic aneurysm, at 77 years old. Lucille may have lost her life rather prematurely, but one thing is for sure: Lucy, her Lucy, will never be forgotten. Beautiful, hilarious, brilliant.
The shy pretty girl made it big.
(Lucille Ball, 1911-1989)
"I'm not funny. What I am is brave."