Thursday, April 26, 2012

Former Celebrity Vault: Comedian, Actress, TV Executive Lucille Ball 1989

Lucille Désirée Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was an American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy.

One of the most popular and influential stars in America during her lifetime, with one of Hollywood's longest careers, especially on television, Ball was acting in the 1930s, becoming a B-movie star in the 1940s and a television star in the 1950s. She was still making films in the 1960s and 1970s. She was a radio actress during the 1940s, as well.



Ball received thirteen Emmy Award nominations and four wins. 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.

In 1929, Ball landed work as a model and later began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name Dianne Belmont. She appeared in many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures. Ball was labeled as the "Queen of the Bs" (referring to her many roles in B-films).

In 1951, Ball was pivotal in the creation of the television series I Love Lucy. The show co-starred her then husband, Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz, the Ricardos' landlords and friends.

After the show ended in 1957, Ball went on to star in two more successful television series: The Lucy Show, which ran on CBS from 1962 to 1968, and Here's Lucy from 1968 to 1974. Her last attempt at a television series was a 1986 show called Life with Lucy. The show proved to be a critical and commercial flop which was canceled less than two months into its run by ABC.


Ball met and eloped with Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940. On July 17, 1951, almost 40 years old, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie Désirée Arnaz. A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to their second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr. Ball and Arnaz divorced on May 4, 1960.

On April 26, 1989, Ball died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm, aged 77. At the time of her death, she had been married to her second husband, standup comedian and business partner Gary Morton, for twenty-eight years.

Death

On April 18, 1989, Ball complained of chest pains and was rushed to the emergency room of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was diagnosed as having a dissecting aortic aneurysm and underwent heart surgery for nearly eight hours. The surgery was successful, and Ball began recovering, even walking around her room with little assistance. On April 26, shortly after dawn, Ball awoke with severe back pains. Her aorta had ruptured in a second location and Ball quickly lost consciousness. All attempts to revive her proved unsuccessful, and, at approximately 05:47 PST, she died. She was 77 years old.

Her cremated remains were initially interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, but in 2002 her children moved her ashes to the family plot at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, New York, where Ball's mother, father, brother, and grandparents are buried.

 
 
 


Lucille Ball's former vault is in the Columbariam of Radiant Dawn on the same wall as "Cool Hand Luke" character actor Strother Martin.

Lucy was in the left vault of the two vacancies (see photos above) down and to the right of Strother.


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