On August 6, 1911, Lucille Desiree Ball, one of America’s most famous redheads and beloved comic actresses, was born near Jamestown, New York. Here are five lesser-known facts about Lucille Ball...
She Was Registered With The Communist Party As reported by The Los Angeles Times in 1953, Ball was once connected to the Communist Party. Apparently, it was a “short association” in 1936, but her family was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Ball explained her connection by saying the only reason she registered as a Communist was to please her grandfather, Fred Hunt, a Socialist.
“Star Trek” Wouldn’t Have Existed Without Her
If it were not for Lucy, there would be no Star Trek today,” former studio executive Ed Holly told Desilu historian Coyne Steven Sanders. CBS wasn’t interested in “Star Trek,” but Ball, who was talented at spotting a new show that would appeal to large numbers of viewers, overruled the decision and had the pilot produced. The initial pilot bombed, so a second pilot was made and funded by Ball that starred William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. Star Trek ended up making the 1966 fall TV schedule.
Ball’s Pregnancy Was the First on Television As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, she also made headlines by becoming the first pregnant woman to play a pregnant woman on TV. Season 2 of “I Love Lucy” was a first on television because Lucille Ball was pregnant with Desi Arnaz Jr and it was written into the script. If network execs hadn’t agreed to it, the show might have been canceled or suspended until she had her baby. The birth of her own baby coincided with Lucy Ricardo’s, and about 44 million viewers tuned in to watch.
She and Her Husband Were Television’s First Interracial Couple Kathleen Brady, who wrote a popular book about Lucille Ball, said the network executives and Philip Morris, the sponsor, wanted her to star in her own show but had no interest in her husband, Desi. Brady said. “They said that the American public would not accept Desi as the husband of a red-blooded American girl.” However, Ball defended Arnaz, and according to Brady, she told CBS that they’d have to either cast them both or neither of them.
She Was The First Woman to Run a Major Production Company Following Ball’s divorce from Desi Arnaz in 1960, she bought out Arnaz’s shares of Desilu for $2.5 million, making her the first female CEO of a major production company. Per the outlet, she later sold her Desilu shares to Paramount Studios for $17 million.