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Desi Arnaz

Biography

Cuban bandleader using the Desi Arnaz Orchestra who also played Ricky Ricardo in the TV present I REALLY LIKE Lucy. He was raised wealthy but got everything extracted from his family members through the 1933 Cuban Trend. He essentially created the sitcom format with multiple camcorders and live viewers, that is still utilized today. He wedded celebrity and comedian Lucille Ball on November 30, 1940. Jointly that they had a boy and a girl. After their divorce on, may 4, 1960, he remarried Edith Mack Hirsch on March 2, 1963. They continued to be wedded until her loss of life in 1985. On I REALLY LIKE Lucy, his personality was friends along with his neighbor, Fred Mertz, who was simply performed by William Frawley.

Quick Facts


Full Name Desi Arnaz
Date Of Birth March 2, 1917
Died December 2, 1986, Del Mar, California, United States
Place Of Birth Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Height 1.77 m
Profession TV Actor
Education Saint Leo University
Nationality American
Spouse Edith Mack Hirsch, Lucille Ball
Children Haley Arnaz, Julia Arnaz
Parents Desiderio Alberto Arnaz II, Dolores de Acha
Siblings Connie Arnaz
Awards Golden Globe Award for Television Achievement
Nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Programs
Movies The Long, Long Trailer, Too Many Girls, Forever, Darling, Father Takes a Wife, The Navy Comes Through, Four Jacks and a Jill, Bataan, Holiday in Havana, The Escape Artist, I Love Lucy, The Fountain of Youth, Cuban Pete
TV Shows The Untouchables, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, I Love Lucy
Star Sign Pisces

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Desi had a younger paternal half-sister, Connie, from his father's second marriage.
2Died three days after Cary Grant who died on November 29, 1986.
3Was an avid golfer, fisherman and poker player, all of which he was seen doing on I Love Lucy (1951).
4His mother Dolores de Acha died on October 24, 1988 at the age of 92.
5He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6325 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6254 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
6A Republican, he was one of many conservatives actors in Hollywood who lent support to the elections of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
7His distinctive laugh was perfectly imitated by Eddie Murphy many times during his stand-up comedy routine.
8After their divorce, Desi produced Lucy's hit musical "Wildcat" on Broadway.
9Once worked as a bird-cage cleaner.
10Grew up being best friends with Albert Francis "Sonny" Capone, son of Al Capone.
11In his 1985 will, he left a $250,000 trust fund for the benefit of his mother, who survived him.
12In 1957, in an effort to expand Desilu, he sold CBS his and Lucille Ball's rights to 179 I Love Lucy (1951) 30-minute shows for $4,500,000. They also sold their rights to December Bride (1954) for $500,000 and CBS had exclusive rights to their public appearances for 10 years for an additional $1,000,000. With these profits, Desilu purchased RKO Studios for $6,125,000.
13In 1957, he opened the Desi Arnaz West Hills Hotel, with 42 rooms and a restaurant featuring his own personal recipes, in Indian Wells. With all the time he spent with his new real estate ventures, he and Lucille Ball built a home on the 17th fairway at the Thunderbird Golf Club on land he won in a poker game.
14In December 1958, in order to raise revenue for business and personal expenses, Desilu went public on the NYSE at $10 per share. Lucille Ball and Desi each retained 25% of the stock, with the swing vote going to key executives at Desilu. After paying gambling debts and expenses, he realized $70,000 to $80,000.
15In 1953, with I Love Lucy (1951) the #1 show in America, Philip Morris, their primary sponsor, agreed to sponsor the show for an additional 2 and a half years for $8 million, $5 million of which went directly to the Arnazes and their company.
16In 1953, Desilu was evaluated as being worth $10 million, did a gross business of $6 million and made the Arnazes a net profit of $600,000 before taxes. This was added to an additional $500,000 in income from I Love Lucy (1951) merchandise.
17In 1945, after his service in the Army, he found himself $30,000 in debt, mostly due to back taxes. Lucille Ball helped him pay his debt, but due to his pride, considered it a loan, and kept a strict account of the money he owed her.
18In 1950, along with wife Lucille Ball, in an effort to find a way to work together, formed a production company with $5,000 of their own money, naming it 'Desilu' which is what they had named their ranch in Chatsworth, California. He remained president of the company until selling his interest to his ex-wife in 1962 for $3 million.
19In 1957, recognizing the need for the company to expand, he purchased the real estate of the former RKO Studios, home of Lucille Ball's former employer. The industry balked at their decision to plunk down $6,150,000 for the fledging studio property, but it was a strategic move that ultimately made both he and Lucy millionaires.
20Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986- 1990, pages 32-34. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
21Is portrayed by Maurice Benard in Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter (1991)
22Brother-in-law of Fred Ball.
23Ashes were scattered at sea.
24According to Mafia boss turned government informant Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno in his book "The Last Mafioso", several top members of the Chicago Mafia family were furious about the portrayal of Italians in general and the Mafia in particular in The Untouchables (1959), of which Arnaz was executive producer, and put out a contract on his life. Several mob hitmen hid in the bushes and behind trees outside his house one night after having been tipped off that he was on his way home and were going to shoot him when he pulled into his driveway, but for some unknown reason Arnaz never came home that night. The killers were supposed to come back again and wait for him the next night, but in the meantime cooler heads prevailed and the murder plot was called off. Arnaz apparently never found out how close he came to being murdered.
25Author of the candid autobiography 'A Book', detailing his alcoholism and infidelities. He had planned to write a sequel, called 'Another Book'.
26Instrumental in the creation of numerous classic TV series, in particular The Untouchables (1959).
27Invented many techniques that are now taken for granted in sitcoms, including the use of several cameras to film the performance, preceding performances with a warm-up act, performing before a live audience, and the rerunning of old episodes.
28Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. pg. 25-26. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
29In the film The Mambo Kings (1992), he was portrayed by his real-life son, Desi Arnaz Jr..
30For many years during their marriage, Desi and Lucille Ball hid the fact that she was six years older then he by splitting the difference in their ages. She (born in 1911) said she was born in 1914 and he (born in 1917) also said he was born in 1914.
31Ironically, the radio show on which I Love Lucy (1951) was based, "My Favorite Husband," was itself based on a book entitled "Mr. and Mrs. Cugat." Arnaz worked for Xavier Cugat during this time.
32Father of _Lucie Arnaz_ and _Desi Arnaz Jr._ with _Lucille Ball_.


Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Mothers-In-Law1967-1969TV Series executive producer - 56 episodes
Land's End1968TV Movie producer
The Carol Channing Show1966TV Movie producer
The Lucy ShowTV Series executive producer - 14 episodes, 1962 - 1963 producer - 1 episode, 1962
The Untouchables1961-1962TV Series executive producer - 3 episodes
The Ann Sothern Show1958-1961TV Series executive producer - 77 episodes
New Comedy Showcase1960TV Series executive producer
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1957-1960TV Series executive producer - 13 episodes
The Texan1958TV Series executive producer
The Fountain of Youth1958TV Short executive producer
Colgate Theatre1958TV Series executive producer - 1 episode
I Love LucyTV Series executive producer - 132 episodes, 1952 - 1956 producer - 27 episodes, 1956 - 1957
Forever, Darling1956producer
Those Whiting Girls1955TV Series executive producer
Willy1954-1955TV Series executive producer - 39 episodes
Country Doctor1954TV Movie executive producer
I Love Lucy1953executive producer

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Escape Artist1982Mayor Quiñones (as Desiderio Arnaz)
Alice1978TV SeriesPaco
Ironside1974TV SeriesDr. Juan Domingo
The Virginian1970TV SeriesEl Jefe
The Mothers-In-Law1967-1968TV SeriesRaphael del Gado
Land's End1968TV MovieGuest Wanting to Cash Check (uncredited)
Kraft Mystery Theater1962TV SeriesChris Hunter
The Red Skelton Hour1961TV SeriesGuest / Introduction
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1957-1960TV SeriesRicky Ricardo
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959-1960TV SeriesChris Hunter / Luis Martinez
Sunday Showcase1959TV SeriesRicky Ricardo
Make Room for Daddy1959TV SeriesRicky Ricardo
I Love Lucy1951-1957TV SeriesRicky Ricardo
Forever, Darling1956Lorenzo Xavier Vega
Lucy's Really Lost Moments1956Ricky Ricardo
The Long, Long Trailer1953Nicholas Carlos Collini
I Love Lucy1953Ricky Ricardo / Himself
Holiday in Havana1949Carlos Estrada
Jitterumba1947ShortBand Leader
Cuban Pete1946Desi Arnaz
Bataan1943Felix Ramirez
The Navy Comes Through1942Pat Tarriba
Four Jacks and a Jill1942Steve Sarto / King Stephan VIII of Aregal
Father Takes a Wife1941Carlos
Too Many Girls1940Manuelito

Production Manager

Production Manager

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Kraft Mystery Theater1962TV Series in charge of production - 8 episodes
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1958-1960TV Series in charge of production - 42 episodes
The Scarface Mob1959TV Movie executive in charge of production
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1958-1959TV Series in charge of production - 4 episodes

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Aloha2015/Iperformer: "I Love Lucy Theme"
Dancing with the Stars2014TV Series 1 episode
30 Days Until I'm Famous2004TV Movie performer: "Straw Hat Song"
I Love Lucy's 50th Anniversary Special2001TV Movie documentary performer: "California, Here I Come", "Babalu Babalú"
The Mothers-In-Law1968TV Series 1 episode
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1958TV Series performer - 1 episode
I Love Lucy1951-1956TV Series performer - 17 episodes
Forever, Darling1956performer: "Forever, Darling" reprise
I Love Lucy1953performer: "Down Argentine Way"
Holiday in Havana1949writer: "Holiday In Havana", "The Arnaz Jam"
Desi Arnaz and His Orchestra1946Short performer: "Guadalajara", "Babalu Babalú", "Tabu Tabú", "Pin Marin" - uncredited
Four Jacks and a Jill1942"Boogie Woogie Conga", uncredited
Father Takes a Wife1941performer: "Perfidia" 1939, "Mi amor" 1941 - uncredited
Too Many Girls1940performer: "'Cause We Got Cake" 1939, "Spic 'n' Spanish" 1939, "You're Nearer" 1939, "Conga" 1939 - uncredited

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Mothers-In-Law1967-1968TV Series 23 episodes
Land's End1968TV Movie
The Carol Channing Show1966TV Movie
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1959-1960TV Series 3 episodes
Sunday Showcase1959TV Series 1 episode
Lucy's Really Lost Moments1956

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Land's End1968TV Movie creator
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959TV Series story - 1 episode
Lucy's Really Lost Moments1956

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Land's End1968TV Movie composer: theme music "I Love You"

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
I Love Ryan?2015TV Series very special thanks - 2 episodes

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1967-1976TV SeriesHimself - Guest / Himself
Salsa1976DocumentaryHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1970-1976TV SeriesHimself - Co-Host / Himself - Actor / Vocalist
Joys1976TV SpecialHimself
Saturday Night Live1976TV SeriesHimself - Host / Musical Guest / Various
California My Way1974TV MovieHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1970-1973TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest
The Hollywood Squares1972TV SeriesHimself
The 26th Annual Tony Awards1972TV SpecialHimself - Performer
The David Frost Show1972TV SeriesHimself
The Andy Williams Show1971TV SeriesHimself
Laugh-In1970TV SeriesHimself - Guest Performer
Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters1970TV SeriesHimself
The Kraft Music Hall1970TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Joey Bishop Show1968TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1954-1960TV SeriesHimself
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1958-1960TV SeriesHimself - Host / Himself
The Jackie Gleason Show1957TV SeriesHimself
The Bob Hope Show1956TV SeriesHimself
I Love Lucy1956TV SeriesRicky Ricardo
December Bride1956TV SeriesHimself
I've Got a Secret1956TV SeriesHimself - Guest
What's My Line?1952-1956TV SeriesHimself - Mystery Guest / Himself - Guest Panelist
MGM Parade1956TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Our Miss Brooks1955TV SeriesHimself
A Star Is Born World Premiere1954TV ShortHimself
Stars in the Eye1952TV SpecialHimself
All Star Revue1952TV SeriesHimself - Guest Actor / Vocalist
The Ed Wynn Show1949TV SeriesHimself
Desi Arnaz and His Orchestra1946ShortHimself
The Autobiography of a 'Jeep'1943Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 23, No. 1: Hollywood in Uniform1943Documentary shortHimself
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 21941Documentary shortHimself - at Mocambo (uncredited)
Meet the Stars #6: Stars at Play1941Documentary shortHimself
Late Night with David Letterman1983TV SeriesHimself
CBS Salutes Lucy: The First 25 Years1976TV Movie documentaryHimself
Donny and Marie1976TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Latin Explosion: A New America2015TV Movie documentaryHimself - Musician / Actor
Entertainment Tonight2015TV SeriesHimself
My Music: Starlight Ballroom2015TV MovieHimself
Teens React2015TV Series shortHimself
Inside Edition2014TV Series documentaryHimself - I Love Lucy
Pioneers of Television2008-2014TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself / Ricky Ricardo - I Love Lucy / Ricky Ricardo
10 Things You Don't Know About2012TV Series documentaryHimself
A Star Is Born: Special Features2010Video
Frontline2010TV Series documentaryHimself
Great Performances2005TV SeriesHimself - Performer
E! True Hollywood Story2005TV Series documentaryHimself
TV Land Moguls2004TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
American Masters1995-2004TV Series documentaryHimself / Himself - Presenting Emmy to Rod Serling
TV in Black: The First Fifty Years2004Video documentary
The Desilu Story2003TV Movie documentaryHimself
Lucy! TV's Comedy Queen2003TV Movie documentary
The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in American Cinema2002DocumentaryHimself
The Nightclub Years2001TV Special documentaryHimself
I Love Lucy's 50th Anniversary Special2001TV Movie documentaryHimself
ABC 2000: The Millennium1999TV Special documentary
Television: The First Fifty Years1999Video documentaryRicky Ricardo
Junket Whore1998DocumentaryHimself
Judy Garland's Hollywood1997Video documentary
Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's1997DocumentaryHimself (with Lucy) (uncredited)
Bob Hope: Hollywood's Brightest Star1996Video documentaryHimself
Pioneers of Primetime1995TV Movie documentaryHimself / Ricky Ricardo
Ed Sullivan All-Star Comedy Special1995TV Movie documentaryHimself
Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie1993TV Movie documentaryHimself
Babalu Music! I Love Lucy's Greatest Hits1991VideoRicy Ricardo
I Love Lucy: The Very First Show1990TV MovieRicky Ricardo / Himself
Murphy Brown1989TV SeriesHimself / opening credits
Biography1987TV Series documentaryHimself
Roots of Rhythm1984TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage1983DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Texaco Presents: A Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television1975TV SpecialHimself
The Dick Cavett Show1974TV SeriesRicky Ricardo / Ricky Ricardo from TV series I LOVE LUCY
The Ed Sullivan Show1958TV SeriesHimself
Screen Snapshots: Memories in Uniform1954Documentary shortHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2004OFTA TV Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationBehind the Scenes
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn February 8, 1960. 6325-1/2 Hollywood Blvd.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionAwarded February 8, 1960 at 6254 Hollywood Blvd.
1956Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USATelevision AchievementThe American Comedy

TitleSalary
The Long, Long Trailer (1953)$125,000 + $150,000 (profits bonus)
I Love Lucy (1951)$2,000 /episode + 50% of the profits for the first 39 episodes as well as full ownership to negatives of all future shows (1951-52)
Cuban Pete (1946)$10,000
Bataan (1943)$650 /week
The Navy Comes Through (1942)$10,000
Four Jacks and a Jill (1942)$10,000
Father Takes a Wife (1941)$10,000

#Quote
1Lucy, she has no idea how happy she's made me. She's wonderful. I adore her with all of my heart. She's given me everything I could ask for. No pun intended, I Love Lucy.
2One of the big reasons for the show's success is Lucy. She is the greatest.
3Lucy had a quality which was rare; you can count the women who have had it on the fingers of one hand. While doing the wild antics of a clown, disheveled, rain-soaked, disregarding how she looked even with mud all over her, could make you laugh, and yet at the same time make you want to go to bed with her.
4On meeting Lucille Ball. I fell in love with those big beautiful blue eyes when I met her. It was unnatural how I could fall in love so fast
5On Lucille Ball. She's not someone I am likely to forget. I love her and will continue loving her till the day I die.
6On Lucille Ball: I loved her very much and, in my own and perhaps peculiar way, I will always love her. "
7Failure is the most terrible thing in our business. When we fail, the whole world knows about it.
8If you don't know what to do, don't do anything.
9[after wife Lucille Ball was accused of being a Communist] The only thing red about her is her hair, and that isn't even real.
10I Love Lucy (1951) was never just a title!

#Trademark
1"Lucy, I'm home", his catchphrase from _I Love Lucy (1951)_.
2Cuban accent
3Slicked back black hair
4Distinctive laugh

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