Lucille Ball - Rotten Tomatoes

Lucille Ball



Left fatherless at the age of four, American actress Lucille Ball developed a strong work ethic in childhood; among her more unusual jobs was as a "seeing eye kid" for a blind soap peddler. Ball's mother sent the girl to the Chautauqua Institution for piano lessons, but she was determined to pursue an acting career after watching the positive audience reaction given to vaudeville monologist Julius Tannen. Young Ball performed in amateur plays for the Elks club and at her high school, at one point starring, staging, and publicizing a production of Charley's Aunt. In 1926, Ball enrolled in the John Murray Anderson American Academy of Dramatic Art in Manhattan (where Bette Davis was the star pupil), but was discouraged by her teachers to continue due to her shyness. Her reticence notwithstanding, Ball kept trying until she got chorus-girl work and modeling jobs; but even then she received little encouragement from her peers, and the combination of a serious auto accident and recurring stomach ailments seemed to bode ill for her theatrical future. Still, Ball was no quitter, and, in 1933, she managed to become one of the singing/dancing Goldwyn Girls for movie producer Samuel Goldwyn; her first picture was Eddie Cantor's Roman Scandals (1933). Working her way up from bit roles at both Columbia Pictures (where one of her assignments was in a Three Stooges short) and RKO Radio, Ball finally attained featured billing in 1935, and stardom in 1938 -- albeit mostly in B-movies.



Throughout the late 1930s and '40s, Ball's movie career moved steadily, if not spectacularly; even when she got a good role like the nasty-tempered nightclub star in The Big Street (1942), it was usually because the "bigger" RKO contract actresses had turned it down. By the time she finished a contract at MGM (she was dubbed "Technicolor Tessie" at the studio because of her photogenic red hair and bright smile) and returned to Columbia in 1947, she was considered washed up. Ball's home life was none too secure, either. She'd married Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940, but, despite an obvious strong affection for one another, they had separated and considered divorce numerous times during the war years. Hoping to keep her household together, Ball sought out professional work in which she could work with her husband. Offered her own TV series in 1950, she refused unless Arnaz would co-star. Television was a godsend for the couple; and Arnaz discovered he had a natural executive ability, and was soon calling all the shots for what would become I Love Lucy. From 1951 through 1957, it was the most popular sitcom on television, and Ball, after years of career stops and starts, was firmly established as a megastar in her role of zany, disaster-prone Lucy Ricardo. When her much-publicized baby was born in January 1953, the story received more press coverage than President Eisenhower's inauguration. With their new Hollywood prestige, Ball and Arnaz were able to set up the powerful Desilu Studios production complex, ultimately purchasing the facilities of RKO, where both performers had once been contract players. But professional pressures and personal problems began eroding the marriage, and Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960, although both continued to operate Desilu.



Ball gave Broadway a try in the 1960 musical Wildcat, which was successful but no hit, and, in 1962, returned to TV to solo as Lucy Carmichael on The Lucy Show. She'd already bought out Arnaz's interest in Desilu, and, before selling the studio to Gulf and Western in 1969, Ball had become a powerful executive in her own right, determinedly guiding the destinies of such fondly remembered TV series as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. The Lucy Show ended in the spring of 1968, but Ball was back that fall with Here's Lucy, in which she played "odd job" specialist Lucy Carter and co-starred with her real-life children, Desi Jr. and Lucie. Here's Lucy lasted until 1974, at which tim

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet John Wayne's Tribute To America
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet TV Gold
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Bob Hope - Hope for the Holidays
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet WWII Battles & Victories
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet The Fabulous '50s
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Bob Hope Christmas & Bob Hope's Christams With the Troops
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Lucy Show
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Lucy, Love, & Laughter
  • Actor
1998
No Score Yet Judy Garland's Hollywood
  • Actor
1997
100% That's Entertainment! III
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet Wisecracks
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet The Best of Danny Kaye - The Television Years
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Lucy: Queen of Comedy
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Tribute to Lucy
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Smoke That Cigarette
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Stone Pillow
  • Florabelle
1985
No Score Yet Bob Hope Buys NBC?
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Lucy Calls the President
  • Actor
  • Executive Producer
1977
No Score Yet Happy Anniversary and Goodbye
  • Norma Michaels
1974
29% Mame
  • Mame Dennis
1974
50% Yours, Mine and Ours
  • Helen North Beardsley
1968
No Score Yet Aqui Esta...Lucy!!!
  • Actor
1968
67% A Guide for the Married Man
  • Technical Advisor
1967
No Score Yet Critic's Choice
  • Angela Ballantine
1963
No Score Yet The Facts of Life
  • Kitty Weaver
1960
No Score Yet Forever, Darling
  • Susan Vega
1956
No Score Yet Fishing Trip
  • Actor
1955
38% The Long, Long Trailer
  • Tracy Collini
1954
No Score Yet I love Lucy
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet The Magic Carpet
  • Narah
1951
No Score Yet The Fuller Brush Girl
  • Sally Elliot
1950
No Score Yet A Woman of Distinction
  • Guest
1950
No Score Yet Fancy Pants
  • Agatha Floud
1950
No Score Yet Miss Grant Takes Richmond
  • Ellen Grant
1949
No Score Yet Sorrowful Jones
  • Gladys O'Neill
1949
No Score Yet Easy Living
  • Anne
1949
No Score Yet Her Husband's Affairs
  • Margaret Weldon
1947
No Score Yet Lured
  • Sandra Carpenter
1947
No Score Yet Easy to Wed
  • Gladys Benton
1946
100% The Dark Corner
  • Kathleen Stewart
1946
75% Ziegfeld Follies
  • Herself
1946
No Score Yet Abbott and Costello in Hollywood
  • Herself
1945
No Score Yet Without Love
  • Kitty Trimble
1945
No Score Yet Meet the People
  • Julie Hampton
1944
No Score Yet Thousands Cheer
  • Actor
1943
No Score Yet Du Barry Was a Lady
  • May Daly/Madame Du Barry
1943
No Score Yet Best Foot Forward
  • Lucille Ball
1943
No Score Yet DuBarry Was a Lady
  • Actor
1943
No Score Yet Seven Days' Leave
  • Terry Havalok-Allen
1942
No Score Yet The Big Street
  • Gloria Lyons
1942
No Score Yet Valley of the Sun
  • Christine Larson
1942
No Score Yet Look Who's Laughing
  • Julie Patterson
1941
No Score Yet A Girl, a Guy and a Gob
  • Dorothy 'Dot' / 'Spindle' Duncan
1941
No Score Yet Too Many Girls
  • Consuelo 'Connie' Casey
1940
80% Dance, Girl, Dance
  • Bubbles
1940
No Score Yet You Can't Fool Your Wife
  • Clara Hinklin/Mercedes Vasquez
1940
No Score Yet Five Came Back
  • Peggy Nolan
1939
No Score Yet Panama Lady
  • Lucy
1939
No Score Yet Beauty for the Asking
  • Jean Russell
1939
64% Room Service
  • Christine Marlowe
1938
No Score Yet The Affairs of Annabel
  • Annabel Allison
1938
No Score Yet Joy of Living
  • Salina
1938
No Score Yet Having Wonderful Time
  • Screwball
1938
No Score Yet Next Time I Marry
  • Nancy Fleming
1938
95% Stage Door
  • Judy
1937
No Score Yet Don't Tell the Wife
  • Ann Howell
1937
No Score Yet That Girl from Paris
  • Claire 'Clair' Williams
1936
No Score Yet Winterset
  • Girl
1936
78% Follow the Fleet
  • Kitty Collins
1936
No Score Yet I Dream Too Much
  • Gwendolyn Dilley
1935
100% Top Hat
  • Flower Clerk
1935
83% Roberta
  • Mannequin
1935
100% The Whole Town's Talking
  • Girl
1935
No Score Yet Carnival (Carnival Nights)
  • Nurse
1935
No Score Yet Broadway Bill
  • Bit Part
1934
No Score Yet Kid Millions
  • A 1934 Goidwyn Girl
1934
No Score Yet The Affairs of Cellini
  • Bit Part
1934
No Score Yet Nana
  • Chorus Girl
1934
No Score Yet The Bowery
  • Bit Part
1933
No Score Yet Blood Money
  • Bit Part
1933
No Score Yet Roman Scandals
  • Slave Girl
1933
No Score Yet The Kid from Spain
  • 'Goldwyn Girl'
1932
No Score Yet Glamour Girls
  • Actor
1930
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond
  • Actor
1929
No Score Yet Ellis in Freedomland
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Appearing

Quotes from Lucille Ball's Characters