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Lucille Ball

Ball, Lucille, 1911–89, American actress and producer, b. Celoron, N.Y. At first promoted by Hollywood as another glamorous movie star, Ball was often cast as a spunky sidekick in second features. In 1951, as one of the first movie stars to headline a television series, she scored a spectacular success with the comedy I Love Lucy, costarring her first husband, Desi Arnaz. For six seasons she was the most popular female star of the small screen, which was an ideal showcase for her comic energy, flair for slapstick, and gift for vocal mimicry. She went on to star in two subsequent but less successful sitcoms, the last of which ended in 1974. Ball also headed Desilu Productions (1962–67) and Lucille Ball Productions (1967–89). Her films include Stage Door (1937) and Mame (1974).

See biography by S. Kanfer, Ball of Fire (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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