Sample Biography Essay: Lucille Ball

Today we’re sharing a sample biography essay about Lucille Ball. She was a real star of the US cinema. This piece of writing was produced by writers at  Read it and write your own masterpiece!


The status of women in the United States has significantly improved since World War II. Congress has passed many acts to improve the lives of women allowing them to reach equality. The abilities of women began to manifest themselves during and after the second World War. (William Henry Chafe 9) Their abilities included working hard and learning fast on the job while they still maintained their essentials of home life. (Van Horn 141)

There were many women during the time since the second World War who proved that the status of women did in fact change. (William Henry Chafe 9) Television offered a brand-new field for women’s imaginations. (Ella Taylor 21) Nanette Fabray and Imogene Coca, Jayne and Audrey Meadows, Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen and Lucille Ball instantly became national figures. (Kaledin 26)

sample biography essayLucille Ball was the most loved television comedienne of her time. She was an American icon and is considered the first lady of television. With her strong work ethic and her determination, Lucille not only changed the face of television, she also paved the way for a lot of other female actresses.


Lucille Ball was born August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Setting her mind on becoming an actress early, she left high school at age 15, and with her mother’s blessing, enrolled in John Murray Anderson Drama School in New York City. Though she auditioned repeatedly, Ball was told she had no talent, and was never accepted to the school. With no experience behind her and very few acting roles for women available, Ball took a job as a model, using the name Diane Belmont. Moderately successful, Ball became an Earl Carrol showgirl and began modeling for popular fashion designer, Hattie Carnegie. Carnegie chose Ball to be the Chesterfield Cigarette Girl in 1933. The position won her national exposure for the first time, and caught the attention of Hollywood. Lucille Ball’s first role was an appearance in Eddie Cantor’s musical, “Roman Scandals” in 1933. (PageWise, Inc.)

Ball continued to audition for movies, and caught bit parts in low budget feature films like, “Blood Money” in 1933 and “Kid Millions” the following year. The success of her first roles would lead to bigger and better parts. Ball would appear in over 60 films by the late 1940s, including feature films starring Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Bob Hope. (PageWise, Inc.)

After performing in the musical “Too Many Girls,” in 1940 with popular Cuban band leader, Desi Arnaz, Ball fell in love with her co-star, and married him later that year. Band and career schedules clashed often, and the newlyweds often found themselves on opposite sides of the country. Lucy filed for divorce in 1944, but managed to patch things up just one day before the divorce was to be finalized. (PageWise, Inc.)

The young couple decided that the only way to make their marriage work was if they worked together on a project. Ball and Arnaz pitched an idea to CBS that would involve the unlikely marriage of a wild red head to a Cuban band leader. At first, CBS officials balked at the idea, claiming that the American public would never accept such a couple. So, the husband and wife team formed their own production company called “Desilu,” and hit the road, taking their show idea and turning it into a popular and highly praised vaudeville act. When CBS still refused to consider the show, the Ball and Arnaz used their own money to film the pilot episode of the show. “I Love Lucy” premiered in October of 1951, and instantly became the most popular television show in America. CBS picked it up before the show’s thirty minute episode was over. (PageWise, Inc.)


Television’s rise in popularity throughout the fifties saw the emergence of the situation comedy, a style that captivated audiences by presenting a story with a beginning, a middle, and a happy end. One of the most popular of these shows, “I Love Lucy”, continues to appeal to both young and old some forty years later — and counting. For most people, the answer to how “I Love Lucy” continually and effectively draws viewers to the screen is that “It’s funny.” There is more to this funny show than meets the eye. (Michael McClay 14)

The first four years on the air, “I Love Lucy” was number one in the Neilsen Ratings. During its entire history, the show never fell below number three. “I Love Lucy” won more than 200 awards, 5 Emmys and the respect and admiration of the country. (Michael McClay 15)

In January of 1953, the “I Love Lucy” introduced an eyebrow-raising episode in which Lucy gave birth on the air to “Little Ricky.” (Michael McClay 14) “Lucille Ball, while pregnant during her television show, I Love Lucy, was demonstrating that having a baby should not force any women to give up her work. Over two million more people watched Lucy’ s television birth in 1953 than watched President Eisenhower’ s inauguration address the next day”. (Kaledin 27)

For television viewers of the fifties, Lucy and Ricky could have been familiar neighbors from down the street. People could relate to this young couple, the Ricardos, who were experiencing the trials and tribulations of marriage as typical Americans were. They lived in a modest brownstone in Manhattan with common worries such as paying the rent and affording new household commodities. The humor came when ordinary situations were exaggerated as Lucy managed to get herself into trouble time and time again, and proceeded to untangle herself from the mess. Ricky, her husband, would often discover her numerous schemes, and the best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz, somehow managed to get involved as well. “The zany redhead and the thick-accented Cuban were an oddly-matched pair, not only as a comedy team but as a married couple too.” (Bart Andrews 23) The combination of these factors yielded a television show that portrayed situations that average Americans could identify with.

In the fifties, as women were assuming household roles once again, the Ricardos followed the rules: Ricky was the breadwinner, Lucy always answered to Ricky, was allotted only so much spending money per month for groceries and other household necessities, and was reprimanded when she overindulged and bought a new dress or hat. Hilarious outcomes always followed Lucy’s attempts to cover up the many occasions she did something that was sure to displease Ricky. (Bart Andrews 45)

It is interesting to note that the attitudes Ricky displayed towards Lucy, as she seemed childish at times, would not be accepted in today’s terms. Lucy was often portrayed as the stereotypical woman-in-distress, who always needed her husband, the man, to bail her out. She also was symbolic of the inept woman: the “woman driver,” the “over-spender” who can’t budget, and the basic downfall of man — during one episode, because of her antics, Ricky lost a potential job. To get what she wanted, she often whined, as per her “But Rickeeee. . .” trademark. (Bart Andrews 47)

The “I Love Lucy” show continued the ever-popular and age- old “battle between the sexes” scenarios. Ricky and Fred would try to “teach” the girls a lesson now and then, and vice versa. In many ways the “Ricky & Fred” team vs. The “Lucy & Ethel” team put men and women on equal ground, as the two continually schemed against one another with similar rates of successful schemes and backfired ones. This was one way for Lucy to escape the submissive housewife image with some defiance of her own. There was a constant desire to outdo the other sex, which perhaps was a signal of the changing times and changing roles men and women would hold in the coming decades. (Glenna Matthews 31)

Even more representative of society’s accepted roles between men and women were in Lucy’s attempts to be a star. This was an ultimate dream for all Americans—to make it big. Audiences would delight in Lucy’s antics, although she often did not succeed. Yet her TV life was still rich: a great husband, close friends, and eventually a son. Given this failed attempt at stardom, but with her equally satisfying life, everyday people could embrace Lucy even more; she was one of them. Ricky, however, seldom proved to be the supportive husband; he would often discourage her from auditioning at openings and other entertainment acts. Above all, what Ricky wanted was a wife who would be a wife, nothing more. (Glenna Matthews 34)

There is something phenomenal about entities that stand the test of time. “I Love Lucy” is just such a thing. Aside from its comedic value, the show made strides in the fifties that made possible what we see in television today: in aesthetic, technical, and business aspects. Lucille “the First Lady of Comedy” Ball has indefinitely left her mark as “LUCY FAN,” “BABALU,” “DESILU” and “I LV LCY” are emblazoned across car license plates, and numerous fan clubs are still going at full force. Lucy memorabilia is just as popular now as it was in her day, and shops and cafes with names such as “I Love Sushi,” “I Love Ricky,” and “I Love Juicy” keep the spirit alive as well. (Jess Oppenheimer 56) An excellent summation of I Love Lucy’s simplest appeal was given by TV writer Jack Sher: “The captivating thing about Lucy and Ricky is the fact that they hold a mirror up to every married couple in America. Not a regular mirror that reflects the truth, nor a magic mirror that portrays fantasy. But a Coney Island kind of mirror that distorts, exaggerates, and makes vastly amusing every little incident, foible, and idiosyncrasy of married life.” (Andrews, xiii).


Today, “I Love Lucy” is syndicated in more than 80 countries and remains one of the most popular TV shows of all time. (Jess Oppenheimer 62)

Lucille Ball, the Jamestown-born star of stage, film and television whose comic genius dazzled and amused generations of Americans, was officially honored as a New York “Woman of Distinction”. The Senate’s “Women of Distinction” program was created in 1998 to honor great New York women. Past honorees include 19th Century suffragists and women accomplished in sciences, academics, business and the arts. In addition to historic figures, the “Women of Distinction” program also honors present day women whose achievements merit them special recognition. (New York State Senate)

The unique roles that Lucille Ball have played in shaping our lives is undeniable. It is for this reason that the Lucy Awards were established in 1994 by founding chair Joanna Kerns and co-chairs Bonny Dore and Loreen Arbus to pay tribute to the work and legacy of the great Lucille Ball, who played a extraordinary role in revolutionizing the television industry. The award is given annually to honor talented individuals who exemplify the remarkable vision and accomplishments embodied in the life of Lucille Ball. Past recipients include: Tracey Ullman, Elizabeth Montgomery, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Garry David Goldberg, Angela Lansbury, Garry Marshall, Marlo Thomas, Fred Silverman, Imogene Coca, Brianna Murphy and Madelyn Pugh Davis. (Sue Cameron, URL)

With all the millennium hype pretty much over, and all the Top Entertainer and Top Celebrity lists having come and gone, there were worries that Lucy might not be so much in the public eye after we hit 2000. As it turns out, the mighty Web auction house, eBay, always a good barometer of public taste, has more than 1,000 Lucy items up for sale. (The Lucy Archives, URL)

The number of Lucy sites/tribute pages on the Web also keeps growing, with no end in sight. A typical search engine will call up hundreds of thousands of pages when you enter the words “Lucille Ball.” Just searching the tube at random will yield dozens of delights. There’s always “I Love Lucy” and the “Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” on Nick-At-Nite; the former runs every night and latter can be found on Saturday nights. (The Lucy Archives, URL)

These facts prove once again that Lucille Ball was none other than the queen of television comedy. She remains the standard by which other female television comedians are judged.


  1. Chafe, William Henry. The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.
  2. Van Horn, Susan Householder: Women, Work, and Fertility, 1900-1986: New York 1988
  3. Taylor, Ella. Prime-Time Families: Television Culture in Postwar America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989.
  4. Kaledin, Eugenia: American Women in the 1950s, Mothers and More: Boston 1984.
  5. Lucille Ball biography. PageWise, Inc. Retrieved at:
  6. Brady, Kathleen. THE LIFE OF LUCILLE BALL. New York: Hyperion Publishing, 1994.
  7. McClay, Michael. I Love Lucy. New York: Warner Books, 1995.
  8. Andrews, Bart. THE “I LOVE LUCY” BOOK. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1985.
  9. Matthews, Glenna. Just a Housewife: The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1987.
  10. Oppenheimer, Jess. LAUGHS, LUCK…AND LUCY. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1996.
  11. 11.  New York State Senate –
  12. Sue Cameron. History of Women in Film. Women in Film. Retrieved at:
  13. The Lucy Archives. A sitcom site. Retrieved at:

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