Lucille Ball, the iconic actress who still is on the television airwaves today via the way of reruns, would have turned 100 years old this weekend. The beloved star of the hit comedy series that dubbed her the “queen of American comedy”, I Love Lucy, would have turned out a milestone Saturday.
Since the inception of I Love Lucy in 1951, Ball’s most famous starring role has aired in nearly 80 countries and in 22 different languages. Like Lucy, the series too will set a milestone this upcoming October as it celebrates 60 years of being on the air, and has been on the air virtually nonstop since the series came to an end in May of 1957.
To celebrate the television icon, we give you 10 facts that you may or may not have known about Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy:
Lucille Ball’s natural hair color was brown, but decided to dye it blonde once she began acting. Later, she dyed her hair red to stand out against other actresses and models that had a similar look to her
Desi Arnaz, who was married to Ball at the time, reportedly had such a great memory that he could memorize all the lines of the scripts in just one reading.
Because of the time that the television series aired in, all episodes regarding Ball being pregnant with Desi Arnaz, Jr. had to be reviewed by a minister, priest and rabbi in order to ensure that they weren’t offensive to the television audience.
The iconic episode of I Love Lucy featuring Vitameatavegamin contained 23% of alcohol. The mix itself contained vegetables, meat, and a mineral concoction.
Lucille Ball and her son were on the very first cover of TV Guide Magazine in January of 1953 and went on to appear on the cover a record 39 times
Throughout its six year run, the iconic CBS sitcom went on to win five Emmy awards: Best Comedy in 1953 and 1954, Lucille Ball for Best Comedienne in 1953, Vivian Vance for Best Supporting Actress in 1953, and Best Actress in a Continuing Performance for Lucille Ball in 1956.
In an era where television shows start hot today and then dwindle in the ratings as its run goes on, I Love Lucy was a rare in that its sixth and final season ended number one in the ratings. The only other sitcoms to end its run at number one? The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld.
After I Love Lucy, Ball went on to star in two spin-off series also on CBS, The Lucy Show from 1962-1968, and Here’s Lucy from 1968-1974. Ball then went on to try to do a fourth sitcom on CBS’s competitor, ABC, in 1986 called Life with Lucy, but was canceled after eight episodes due to low ratings. 13 episodes were taped, however, although the latter five never made it to the air. Unlike I Love Lucy, her final attempt at a sitcom was both a ratings and critical disaster. TV Guide ranked it 26th in the worst TV series of all time.
In order to ensure to the TV audience that the Ricardos were an average family, Lucille often wore the same clothes numerous times during I Love Lucy.
Despite the iconic jingle to the I Love Lucy theme song, it actually has lyrics. During an episode entitled Lucy’s Last Birthday, Desi sang the song to Lucille.
The lyrics are as follows: “I love Lucy and she loves me. We’re as happy as two can be. Sometimes we quarrel but then. How we love making up again. Lucy kisses like no one can. She’s my missus and I’m her man. And life is heaven you see. ‘Cause I love Lucy, Yes I love Lucy and Lucy loves me.
This was just one part of Lucy Fest, which also includes performances from several stand-up comics.
Now in its 20th year, the festival draws diehard Lucy fans from all over the world.
In Southern California, a special exhibit is underway at the Hollywood Museum, honoring the beloved star and the 60th anniversary of her classic TV show "I Love Lucy".
Ball's daughter says she's always amazed at the legacy her mother left behind.
"At the end of every episode, no matter how bad the trouble was, somebody would still hug her," Lucie Arnaz said. "'I Love Lucy,' it was about unconditional love and laughs."
The museum exhibit includes memorabilia from both Balls and husband Desi Arnaz's careers. It runs through Nov. 30.