Posted by medusamorlock on August 6, 2009
Today would have been the 98th birthday of beloved actress and comedienne Lucille Ball, who died a little over twenty years ago. Of course it’s almost impossible to believe that we no longer have Lucy with us, because she’s around us every day, as solid a piece of pop culture as there is anywhere. Even if you haven’t watched an episode of I Love Lucy in years, when you do go back it’s like visiting with an old friend. I recently watched a few on TV and honestly was completely charmed again — they retain every bit of their comedy bite and brilliance. Though perhaps her television credits somewhat eclipsed her movie work in the minds of the public at large, Lucille Ball started in motion pictures as a chorus girl beauty in the early 1930s, and made 80 or so films before revolutionizing television comedy twenty years later. In honor of the great Lucy, let’s look at some clips to remember and celebrate the redhead who was as funny as she was beautiful, and a hell of an all-around actress.
I like how Lucy frequently used real Hollywood celebrities on her series. How about Lucy and her daughter Lucie Arnaz, along with Ginger Rogers, in a clip from Here’s Lucy from 1971? Lucy and Ginger had appeared together in 1937′s Stage Door (and Lucy also made uncredited appearances in three other Rogers’ movies before that). As you’ll see, both ladies still had what it takes as they break into dance in this amusing sequence.
How about Lucy and her husband Desi Arnaz appearing with Ida Lupino and Howard Duff in an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour from 1959?
And screen legend Orson Welles guest-starred in an episode of I Love Lucy highlighting his skills as a magician as he uses Lucy in one of his famous illusions…
Everybody loves this sequence from I Love Lucy where Lucy dances with movie star Van Johnson…how about you?
Lucy and Ethel (the wonderful Vivian Vance) had a poolside encounter with Rock Hudson, too:
And because it’s the funniest Lucy Ricardo-Meets-Hollywood encounter ever, here are two clips from the episode guest-starring William Holden. Perfection!
How about Lucille Ball in the movies? She’s more than a match for Bob Hope in Paramount’s Fancy Pants, a remake of Ruggles of Red Gap.
Lucy and Bob were frequent onscreen co-stars, and made an appearance together on the 1989 Academy Awards — Lucy died just a few weeks later.
Lucy appeared in the 1976 Shirley MacLaine television special Gypsy in My Soul, sharing show biz memories and dancing prowess…
Lucy’s all comedy and the title character in this trailer for 1950′s The Fuller Brush Girl:
Lucy, Desi and MGM capitalized on the couple’s I Love Lucy fame for the very funny 1953 big screen comedy The Long Long Trailer:
I certainly remember going to the movies and seeing Lucy — I was addicted to reruns of I Love Lucy — in 1968′s Yours, Mine and Ours, opposite Henry Fonda:
You might like to see Lucy in the screen version of the Broadway musical Mame, from 1974. Not universally beloved, but she’s giving it her all:
I highly recommend checking out the almost endless sites on the web about Lucy, all interesting and clear evidence of the love and esteem in which Lucille Ball is still held. Particularly recommended are the official Lucille Ball website here, there’s a nice tribute from Time magazine here, a succinct survey of her importance to television here from the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz center in Lucy’s hometown of Jamestown, NY, and for a good overview, check out the Lucille Ball Wikipedia entry.
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