Brown - Dark
Place of Death
Del Mar, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Ricky Ricardo (I Love Lucy)
Latin Pop, Mambo, Cuban Traditions, Tropical
Party/Celebratory, Stylish, Amiable/Good-Natured, Cheerful, Happy, Refined/Mannered, Joyous, Rollicking, Fun, Carefree, Sophisticated, Campy, Exuberant, Playful, Boisterous
Producer, Actor/Actress, Director
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Desi Arnaz was born to a wealthy family in Santiago de Cuba. His ancestors had been among the original recipients of Spanish land grants in the eighteenth century. His father, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz (March 8, 1894 - May 31, 1973) was Santiago`s youngest mayor and then served in the Cuban House of Representatives. The 1933 revolution, led by Fulgencio Batista, overthrew the American-backed President Gerardo Machado, landed his father in jail for six months, and stripped his family of its wealth and power. Arnaz`s father was released when U.S. officials, who believed him to be neutral during the revolt, intervened on his behalf. Arnaz and his parents then fled to Miami, Floridan 1939, he starred on Broadway in the successful musical Too Many Girls. He then went to Hollywood to appear in the 1940 movie version at RKO, which starred actress and comedienne Lucille Ball.
Arnaz appeared in several movies in the 1940s, most notably Bataan (1943). Shortly after he received his draft notice, but before he was actually inducted, he injured his knee. Although he made it through boot camp, he was eventually classified for limited service, and ended up directing United Service Organization (U.S.O.) programs at a military hospital in the San Fernando Valley. In his memoirs, he recalled discovering that the first thing soldiers requested was almost invariably a glass of cold milk, so he arranged for beautiful starlets to greet the wounded soldiers as they disembarked and pour milk for them. After leaving the Army, he formed another orchestra, which was successful in live appearances and recordings. After he became engaged in television, he kept the orchestra on his payroll throughout the period he remained an active producerDesi produced and starred in I Love Lucy, in which he played a fictitious version of himself, Cuban orchestra leader Enrique "Ricky" Ricardo. His co-star was his real-life wife, Lucille Ball, who played Ricky`s wife, Lucy. Television executives had been pursuing Ball to adapt her very popular radio series My Favorite Husband for television. Ball insisted on Arnaz playing her on-air spouse so the two would be able to spend more time together. The original premise was for the couple to portray Lucy and Larry Lopez, a successful show business couple (he a band leader, she an actress) whose glamorous careers interfered with their efforts to maintain a normal marriage. Market research indicated, however, that this scenario would not be popular, so Arnaz changed it to make Ricky a struggling young orchestra leader and Lucy an ordinary housewife who had show business fantasies but no talent. Desi would often appear at, and later own, the Tropicana Club which, under his ownership, he renamed Club Babalu. Initially, the idea of having Ball and the distinctly Latino Arnaz portray a married couple encountered resistance as they were told that Desi`s Cuban accent and Latin style would not be agreeable to American viewers. The couple overcame these objections, however, by touring together in a live vaudeville act they developed with the help of Spanish clown, Pepito Pérez, together with Ball`s radio show writers. Much of the material from their vaudeville act was used in the original "I Love Lucy" pilot, including Lucy`s memorable seal routine. (The pilot originally ran as the third episode of the show`s first season.)
With Ball, he founded Desilu Productions. At this time, most television programs were broadcast live and, as the largest markets were in New York, the rest of the country received only kinescope images. Karl Freund, Arnaz`s cameraman, developed the multiple-camera setup production style using adjacent sets that became the standard for all subsequent situation comedies to this day. The use of film enabled every station around the country to broadcast high-quality images of the show. Arnaz was told that it would be impossible to allow an audience onto a sound stage, but he worked with Freund to design a set that would accommodate an audience, allow filming, and also adhere to fire and safety codes.
Network executives considered the use of film an unnecessary extravagance. Arnaz convinced them to allow Desilu to cover all additional costs associated with the filming process, under the stipulation that Desilu owned and controlled all rights to the film. Arnaz`s unprecedented arrangement is widely considered to be one of the shrewdest deals in television history. As a result of his foresight, Desilu reaped the profits from all reruns of the series.
Arnaz also pushed the network to allow them to show Lucille Ball while she was pregnant. According to Arnaz, the CBS network told him, "You cannot show a pregnant woman on television." Arnaz consulted a priest, a rabbi, and a minister, all of whom told him that there would be nothing wrong with showing a pregnant Lucy or with using the word pregnant. The network finally relented and let Arnaz and Ball weave the p
Colegio de Dolores
Full Name at Birth
Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y De Acha III
Page Display = 2 (Legacy)
Count - Awards
Philip Morris Cigarettes (Magazine Advertisement) 
Desiderio Arnaz (better known as Desi Arnaz) (March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986) was a Cuban-born American musician, actor and television producer. While he gained international renown for leading a Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, he is best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American TV series I Love Lucy, starring with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. He and Ball are generally credited as the inventors of the rerun in connection with the show.
Actor, Director, Musician, SInger
Desi Arnaz II
Desi Arnez Jr. (son), Lucie Arnaz (daughter)
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