Our first inductee into Austin Carr's Redheads Hall of Fame was born August 6, 1911; was an American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film executive, and star of three landmark sitcoms; one of the most popular stars in America during her lifetime; a movie star from the 1930s to the 1970s; on television for more than thirty years.
Lucille Ball. I'm talking about the hot, funny, almost a dingbat star of I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. Our Number One Redhead Hall of Famer received thirteen Emmy Award nominations and four wins, was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Governors Award in 1989. And now, she's our number one Redhead Hall of Fame inductee.
Here's what I wrote back In July of 2007, the first ever Redhead of the Week:
"After much rumination, and consultation with shrinks, I now believe this thing I have for redheads stems from Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy show reruns. She was pretty, spunky, sexy in her own funny way, and definitely all the entertainment you’d ever need for a long weekend.
"Yes, she was a pain in Ricky's ass, but there must have been plenty of good reasons why her hot Latin musician husband never strayed in all those years."
This redhead was a wild thing.
In 1927, Lucy dated a gangster by the name of Johnny DeVita. Because of the relationship, Lucy's mother shipped her off to John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. Lucy came home a few weeks later when drama coaches told her that she "had no future as a performer."
The redhead responsible for my neurosis persisted, however, and began a performing career on Broadway, using the stage name Diane Belmont, and then moved to Hollywood and appeared in small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures.
At 29, Lucy eloped with Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz.
Oh, I knew you were a WILD thing.
In 1948, Lucy was a wacky wife on My Favorite Husband, a new radio program, and when it became a hit, CBS asked her to develop it for television. She insisted on working with Arnaz. CBS executives worried about an All-American redhead and a Cuban as a couple, however, and neither were they impressed with the pilot episode. Lucy again persisted, and toured a vaudeville act as the zany housewife with Desi. The tour was a smash, and CBS put I Love Lucy on the air for a stunningly successful nine-year run.
The show co-starred Desi as Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz, the Ricardos' conflict-creating landlords.
On April 18, 1989, Lucy complained of chest pains and underwent heart surgery for nearly eight hours. She died a week later. We will miss her always, as will many millions of fans around the world.
Thanks to Lucy and Wikipedia. Click on the headline, REDHEADS HALL OF FAME, to visit Lucy's official website.