On October 15, 1951, I Love Lucy made its television debut, cementing Lucille Ball’s status as one of America’s top comedic actresses, and pioneering a new sitcom genre that would influence countless family-related sitcoms for years to come. The success of the show was unmatched, as was Lucille’s perfectionism and hard work. In 1962, she became the first woman to own a major television studio after buying her former husband, Desi Arnaz, out of their television production company, Desilu Productions.
Known for her stunning good looks and flaming red hair, a color MGM urged a blonde Lucille to change to in 1942, the former singer and model appeared in 72 movies over her career. But it was in TV land where the actress made her mark as both a megastar and an entertainment powerhouse.
The character Lucille Ball brought to life on I Love Lucy is one of the most beloved ever created… a housewife desperate for stardom, who lacked the necessary talent to support her dream. Lucy’s off-the-wall antics, trouble causing, and signature facial expressions provided the comedic relief to the often complicated relationships she had with her husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), and their best friends and landlords Ethel (Vivian Vance) and Fred Mertz (William Frawley). Together this foursome made banal family dynamics funny… really funny.
During its six-year run, I Love Lucy’s success was unrivaled. According to Biography.com, “For four of its seasons, the sitcom was the No. 1 show in the country.” And that success lived long past I.L.L. “While the show ended in 1957, Desilu Productions continued on, producing more television hits like Our Miss Brooks, Make Room for Daddy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Untouchables, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.”
Voted the “Best TV Show of All Time” in a 2012 survey conducted by ABC News and People Magazine, today I Love Lucy is still syndicated in dozens of languages, entertaining fans and viewers across the globe.
Lucille Ball’s impact on the worlds of comedy and television did not go unrecognized. In 1971, she became the first woman to receive the International Radio and Television Society’s Gold Medal. She also earned 4 Emmy Awards, was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and received recognition for her life’s work from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She died on April 26, 1989.
So today, on what would have been this legendary actress and comedian’s 105th birthday (August 6, 1911), we celebrate Lucille Ball with her own inspiring words. Here are 10 wise and witty quotes that remind us why we love Lucy.