Cast in her first film as an extra in "Tillie the Toiler", Lucille Ball hovered around Hollywood for 26 years without receiving any notable attention, despite auditioning for Scarlett O'Hara in the epic classic "Gone With the Wind, and starring alongside Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn in the critically acclaimed, and Oscar-nominated "Stage Door". Dubbed the "Queen of B's" due to the vast majority of her work stemming from B-list movies, Ball finally got her big break in 1948 when CBS asked her to adapted an audio program "My Favourite Husband" in a television series.
Renamed "I Love Lucy" and airing in 1951, the show was considered far ahead of its time, and proved to be the beginning of many firsts. Produced by Desilu, Ball's production company, "I Love Lucy" allowed the once B-list actress to become the first woman to own and run a television production company. But most significantly, it was the first show to shoot before a live audience while utilizing a variety of cameras and sets adjacent to one another -- a style of that remains popular in television programming today -- especially in comedy. Furthermore, insisting that CBS cast her then partner Desi Arnaz in one of the leading roles, Balls consequential staffing decision in what was then still very much an all-white industry, helped pave the way for the slow, but an eventual acknowledgment of multiculturalism in Hollywood. Forever remaining an inspiration for women and non-caucasian individuals seeking to break into television, here are five quotes from the Queen of Television:
1. "The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
If you seek a life full of meaning and fulfillment, make sure you're honest with yourself, eat healthily, and if you hope to make turn it into a good story, it doesn't hurt to embellish a little.
2. "I'm not funny. What I am is brave."
Being able to make people laugh isn't just about being able to tell a good joke, it starts with having the guts to tell it. Whether it sends the entire venue into an uproar, or a storm of rotten eggs your way.
3. "Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
For every Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly, there's a Lucille Ball. One that makes us think, "Gosh, how I love Lucy."
4. "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
To be able to accomplish anything of value and meaning, one must first find meaning and value within ourselves. Only when we accept and embrace what makes us valuable and meaningful can we go about instilling meaning and value in others through what we accomplish.
5. "How I Love Lucy was born? We decided that instead of divorce lawyers profiting from our mistakes, we'd profit from them."
"I Love Lucy" was originally conceived as a way for Lucille Ball to mend her strained relationship with Desi Arnaz. Probably didn't hurt to squeeze a dysfunctional relationship for a few laughs, for which there was much to be had.
A story of resilience cemented into the annals of memory among the stars that line the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lucille Ball's legacy stands as an enduring testament to the love and courage she bore, and imparted upon those around her through her cultural magnum opus "I Love Lucy". Engendering within artists across ethnicities, genders, generations and time the courage and love one must possess and be able to harbor if he/she is to love courageously. If he/she is to be courageous because he/she is capable of loving much. Across time, generations, genders, and ethnicities. Across people. Across life.
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