Marriage to Desi Arnaz
'I Love Lucy'
"I'm not funny. What I am is brave."
– Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York, to Henry Durrell Ball and his wife Desiree. The elder of the couple's two children (her brother, Fred, was born in 1915), Lucille had a hardscrabble childhood shaped by tragedy and a lack of money.
Ball's father, Henry (or Had, as he was known to his family) was an electrician, and not long after his daughter's birth he relocated the family to Montana for work. Then it was off to Michigan, where Had took a job as a telephone lineman with the Michigan Bell Company. Life came undone in February 1915 when Had was struck with typhoid fever and died. For Ball, just 3 years old at the time, her father's death not only set in motion a series of difficult childhood hurdles, but also served as the young girl's first real significant memory.
"I do remember everything that happened," she said. "Hanging out the window, begging to play with the kids next door who had measles, the doctor coming, my mother weeping. I remember a bird that flew in the window, a picture that fell off the wall."
Desiree, still reeling from her husband's unexpected death and pregnant with Fred, packed up and returned to Jamestown, New York, where she eventually found work in a factory and a new husband, Ed Peterson. Peterson, though, wasn't a fan of kids, especially young ones, and with Desiree's blessing, he decided the two of them would move to Detroit...