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|Also Known As:||Diane Belmont,Lucille Desiree Ball||Died:||April 26, 1989|
|Born:||August 6, 1911||Cause of Death:||cardiac arrest after open heart surgery|
|Birth Place:||Jamestown, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor comedian producer executive singer dancer model secretary waitress|
As one of America's most beloved comediennes and one of Hollywood's more astute businesswomen, the legendary Lucille Ball rose from being a B-movie film actress to one of television's most iconic figures, boasting more than 50 years of continuous employment in Hollywood. Because of her eternally syndicated sitcom, "I Love Lucy" (CBS, 1951-57), which broke new ground in too many areas to count, Ball remained a constant presence on the small screen and, consequently, remained well-known to subsequent generations of fans. Prior to "I Love Lucy," Ball took over the mantle of "Queen of the Bs" from Fay Wray after appearing in a number of B-movies, with the occasional A-list project like the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicles "Top Hat" (1935) and "Follow the Fleet" (1936) classing up her résumé. She delivered a fine turn in "Stage Door" (1937) and served as the Marx Brothers' foil in "Room Service" (1938). After meeting and marrying Cuban-born actor-bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940, Ball propelled her career as the star of the radio show "My Favorite Husband" (CBS, 1948-1951), which served as a precursor to "I Love Lucy." Though CBS was initially resistant to pairing the Caucasian Ball with the Cuban Arnaz as a believable husband and wife, the network had a change of heart after the couple launched a smash-hit vaudeville show, which green lit one of the most popular and enduring sitcoms of all time. Following Ball's painful split with Arnaz in 1960, she executed a number of savvy business moves as head of her own studio, Desilu, while launching two more successful sitcoms, "The Lucy Show" (CBS, 1962-68) and "Here's Lucy" (CBS, 1968-74). Though her popularity waned in the 1970s and 1980s, as evidenced by the rapid failure of "Life with Lucy" (ABC, 1986), Ball was forever cemented as a comic legend whose influence spanned generations.
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