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The first episode of I Love Lucy aired on American television; the comedy series—which starred Lucille Ball and her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz—became a classic.
I Love Lucy
American television program
I Love Lucy, American television situation comedy that aired on CBS from 1951 to 1957 and was the most popular show in America for four of its six prime-time seasons. The series won five Emmy Awards, including best situation comedy (1953 and 1954) and best actress (Lucille Ball, 1956).
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
I Love Lucy centred on the lives of Lucy Ricardo (played by Ball) and her bandleader husband, Ricky Ricardo (played by Ball’s real-life husband, Desi Arnaz). Ricky and Lucy lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (though ultimately they relocated to suburban Connecticut). She was a housewife who longed for a career in show business, while Ricky entertained at the Tropicana nightclub. Despite her lack of talent and Ricky’s firm belief that a woman’s place is in the home, Lucy continually dreamed of a life beyond domesticity and concocted hilarious (and ultimately doomed) schemes to finagle her way out of the kitchen and into the limelight. Often the unraveling of Lucy’s best-laid plans took the form of physical comedy, as in the classic scene in which Lucy fought a losing battle against a conveyor belt in a candy factory. Ball played the role with aplomb, displaying her own comedic virtuosity while highlighting Lucy’s shortcomings. The Cuban-born Ricky frequently launched into rapid tirades of Spanish when frustrated with his wife. The couple often played pranks on each other to make a point. Also contributing to the mirth were the Ricardos’ landlords, the miserly yet kind Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and his wife, Ethel (Vivian Vance), who usually tried to reason Lucy out of her wilder plots. Former vaudevillians, the Mertzs sang and danced, and they acted as foils or accomplices to the Ricardos. Ricky and Lucy eventually had a child, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux), whose presence shifted the show’s focus to parenthood.
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American actress and director
Penny Marshall, original name Carole Penny Marscharelli, (born October 15, 1943, New York, New York, U.S.—died December 17, 2018, Los Angeles, California), American actress, comedian, and director, one of the first women to achieve consistent commercial success as a motion picture director.
Marshall was the daughter of a dance teacher and an industrial filmmaker. She first performed with her mother’s dance group, the Marshallettes. Marshall attended the University of New Mexico but left after two years to marry. The couple had a daughter but divorced soon thereafter. In 1967 Marshall moved to Hollywood, where her brother, Garry, was working as a comedy writer and producer. He persuaded her to take acting classes and to try a career in film. Garry gave Marshall her first bit part, a role in the movie How Sweet It Is! (1968).
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