Lucille Désirée Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was an American comedienne, model, film and television actress and studio executive.
She was star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy and Life with Lucy. Ball had one of Hollywood’s longest careers.
In 1929, Ball landed work as a model and later began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name Diane Belmont. She performed many small movie roles in the 1930s and 1940s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures being cast as a chorus girl, or in similar roles, and was dubbed the “Queen of the Bs” (referring to her many roles in B-films).
During the 1950s she became a television star. Ball had met and eloped with Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940. In 1951, Ball was instrumental in co-creating the television series I Love Lucy with her husband, Arnaz. On July 17, 1951, at almost 40 years of age, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie Désirée Arnaz. A year and a half later, she gave birth to their second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr. Ball and Arnaz divorced on May 4, 1960. In 1962, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu, which produced many successful and popular television series such as Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. Meanwhile, she continued making film and television appearances for the rest of her life.
On April 26, 1989, Ball died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm at age 77. At the time of her death, she had been married to her second husband and business partner, standup comedian Gary Morton, for more than 27 years.
Ball was nominated for an Emmy Award thirteen times, and won four times. In 1977, Ball was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award. She was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986, and the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1989.