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Considered by most as the creative force behind one of America's most beloved sitcoms, "I Love Lucy," Jess Oppenheimer took an interesting route to TV fame. While attending Stanford University, he frequented KFRC radio station in San Francisco and made his broadcast debut there with the sketch comedy show "Blue Monday Jamboree." He continued to work in radio after moving to Hollywood in 1936 when he was hired as a writer for Fred Astaire and Jack Benny; he wrote sketches for some of Hollywood's biggest comedic talents: Fanny Brice, George Burns, and Jimmy Stewart. In the late 1940s he began working with Lucille Ball on the radio program "My Favorite Husband," which got noticed by television executives at CBS, who approached Ball in 1950 regarding a possible TV sitcom. Ball insisted that Oppenheimer be a major contributor on the show. With producers not knowing what the sitcom would be about, Oppenheimer created the concept of the middle-class, hard-working man who enjoyed spending his down time at night with his quirky yet endearing wife, who had aspirations of Hollywood stardom. Thus, "I Love Lucy" was born and began its iconic run in 1951 with Oppenheimer serving as the sitcom's head writer and producer. He left production in 1956 to pursue other television projects like "Angel," "Glynis" and "Get Smart" in the 1960s and 1970s. Also an inventor, Oppenehimer died at the age of 75, holding 18 patents, including the in-lens teleprompter.
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