About this Famous Person
American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive
Lucille Ball was born to Henry Durrell Ball (September 16, 1886 – February 19, 1915) and Desiree "DeDe" Evelyn Hunt (September 21, 1892 – July 20, 1977) in Jamestown, New York. Although Lucy was born in the Jamestown suburb, she told many people that she was born in Butte, Montana. At age 3, her family moved Anaconda, Montana and then to Wyandotte, Michigan. Her family was Baptist; her father was of Scottish descent, and his mother was Mary Ball. Her mother was of French, Irish and English descent. Her genealogy can be traced back to the earliest settlers in the colonies.
Her father, a telephone lineman for Anaconda Copper, was frequently transferred because of his occupation, and within three years of her birth, Lucille had moved many times, from Jamestown to Anaconda, Montana, and then to Wyandotte, Michigan. While DeDe Ball was pregnant with her second child, Frederick, Henry Ball contracted typhoid fever and died in February 1915. After her father died, Ball and her brother Fred were raised by her mother and grandparents. Her grandfather, Fred C. Hunt, was an eccentric socialist who also enjoyed the theater. He frequently took the family to vaudeville shows and encouraged young Lucy to take part in both her own and school plays.
In 1927, Ball dated a gangster's son by the name of Johnny DeVita. Because of this relationship, her mother decided to ship Ball off to the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. There, Ball attended with fellow actress Bette Davis. Ball went home a few weeks later when drama coaches told her that she "had no future at all as a performer".
Ball was determined to prove her teachers wrong, and returned to New York City in 1929. She landed work as a fashion model. Her career was thriving when she became ill with rheumatoid arthritis and was unable to work for two years. She moved to New York City once again in 1932 to resume her pursuit of a career as an actress, and had some success as a fashion model for designer Hattie Carnegie and as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. She began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name "Diane Belmont" and was hired—but then quickly fired—by theatre impresario Earl Carroll from his Vanities, and by Florenz Ziegfeld from a touring company of Rio Rita.
- Category Actor