( United States: 1911-1989)
Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York. Her first few years were spent in Montana and Michigan (unless otherwise noted, all biographical information is drawn from Kathleen Brady's biography); after her father's death in 1915, her mother, Desiree, brought her back to Jamestown, where she was raised by her grandparents and her mother, who briefly remarried. Ball was an active community performer as a child and teenager in local productions, and in 1926, she left high school and went to New York City, where she entered the famed Minton-Anderson School. In later years, she claimed that she was imitated by the school's brightest student of the time, Bette Davis. She did not last long at the school and returned to Jamestown briefly. After a few months back at Jamestown High School, she went back to New York City, where she worked as a model and a showgirl, being cast in a road company of Florenz Ziegfeld production of Rio Rita. After one of the other chorus girls dropped out, Ball was engaged to become a "Goldwyn Girl" in the 1933 film of Eddie Cantor Roman Scandals in Hollywood and made brief appearances in two other films that year as well. This led to a number of other roles (for a discussion of such roles, see "Description and Analysis"). In 1940, while filming the Rodgers and Hart musical Too Many Girls, she met the Cuban musician and actor Desi Arnaz; they married later that year. The marriage was, by all accounts, both passionate and stormy; as early as 1944, Ball filed for divorce, though ultimately she withdrew the petition.
Nineteen fifty-one was a significant year in Ball's life. In July, she gave birth