*Includes pictures of Ball and important people, places, and scenes.
*Includes Lucille Ball's own quotes about her life and career. .
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
"I don't suppose that hard work, discipline, and a perfectionist attitude toward my work did me any harm. They are a big part of my makeup today, as any of my co-workers will tell you. And when life seemed unbearable, I learned to live in my imagination, and to step inside other people's skins - indispensable abilities for an actress." – Lucille Ball
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Lucille Ball, one of the most famous and versatile stars in American history, is above all defined by her charisma. She did not possess the overwhelming beauty of her contemporaries in the entertainment industry, yet her infectious enthusiasm continues to endear her to the American public even decades following her death. Indeed, at the time that I Love Lucy (1951-1957) ended, the show still remained the most-watched show in America. Ball possessed an intangible quality that captivated audiences, who were transfixed by even the most banal plot sequences in her sitcoms. That Ball was able to withhold her popularity even after the ending of I Love Lucy testifies to the fact that she was always the star attraction on the famous sitcom. Indeed, even after separating from Arnaz, Ball continued to achieve high ratings on her subsequent programs, most notably The Lucy Show (1962-1968) and Here’s Lucy (1968-1974). Without doubt, Ball’s longevity and the magnitude of her popularity make her the most cherished comedienne in American history.
Given Ball’s immense fame, it is easy to strip her career out of its original context and assume that she would have risen to fame regardless of the medium. However, it is important to remember that I Love Lucy actually began when Ball was already 40 years of age, a relatively advanced age for someone in the entertainment industry. In fact, from 1933 through the end of the 1940s, Ball appeared in over 80 films (with very minor roles in almost all of these) while serving as a contract player for the MGM and RKO film studios. There is thus a massive discrepancy between the fame she achieved in the television medium and her lack of success in cinema. To this end, Ball’s career reflects the evolutions that occurred throughout the mid-1950s with regard to the entertainment industry, mass culture, and the ways in which the American public consumed popular culture. Where Ball was unable to rise to prominence in cinema, she represented the ideal actress for the television medium, and in this regard she introduced a new model for media celebrity, one that was more accessible if less physically dazzling. This biography explores the entirety of Ball’s life and career, with attention paid to her both her childhood and her pre-television and television periods. In so doing, this study provides as complete a picture as possible of the enormity of Ball’s rise to fame and how she was able to capture the favor of the American public.
American Legends: The Life of Lucille Ball profiles the life and career of one of America’s most iconic actresses. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Ball like you never have before, in no time at all.