Lucille Ball is one of the most revered figures in the history of films entertainment. There are things that even the diehard fans of I Love Lucy didn’t know about the entertainer and unlikely influencer. The fact that she isn’t a natural redhead, investigates by the FBI. Join Facts Verse as we explore secrets Lucille Ball was hiding her whole career.
She Wasn’t a Natural Redhead
When most people first think of Lucille Ball, they likely think of her with red hair. During the actress’s most famous years, she became known for her iconic hair color. However, those that are aware of Lucille’s earlier days in Hollywood may know that the actress wasn’t always a redhead. In fact, Lucille Ball is born a brunette and she works for a good deal of her time in Hollywood.
Before creating I Love Lucy with husband Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball is a fledgling Hollywood star working with RKO Pictures. Lucille ends up being let go by RKO Pictures before getting the idea for I Love Lucy. When the film premieres, she gets her iconic red hair, and she’ll keep it over until her remaining career.
The person credits the inspiring Lucille Ball to change the color of her hair, hair stylist’s name is Sydney Guilaroff. Lucille changes her hair color for films before, with her appearing as a blonde in a couple of features. However, she had never before been seen as a redhead. The look clicked, and Lucille kept it. I Love Lucy takes all of Lucille’s other works in popularity. It may be hard for most fans to picture the actress without her iconic red hair.
She Changed Her Name to Diane Belmont
Very early on in Lucille Ball’s career, she was having an identity crisis. She had just begun modeling and wasn’t sure exactly how she wanted to present herself. Around the late 1920s, she changed her professional name for some time to Diane Belmont. The name didn’t end up sticking, and she ended up becoming best known as Lucille Ball.
According to Lucille, she comes up with the name Diane Belmont when she drives around and saw the Belmont racetrack. Lucille claims that she likes the name Diane and the way it sounds when paired up with the racetrack’s name. She performed a few modeling jobs as Diane Belmont, though decided to give the name up when venturing into acting.
She Didn’t Like the Business Aspects of Her Work
When it comes to the partnership of Lucille and Desi, Lucille is the artist and Desi is the businessman. However, this creative relationship all came crashing down in the wake of the pair’s 1960 divorce. Although they try to keep things the same professionally after their divorce, their emotions end up getting in the way. During the 1960s, Desi sold his entire share of Desilu Productions to Lucille Ball.
They create Desilu Productions to work together because their jobs aren’t allowing them to spend enough time with each other. With the success of I Love Lucy, the production company became a pretty big deal. The smart people they are, Desi and Lucille saw the opportunity to produce other shows under the Desilu Productions banner. Besides I Love Lucy, Desilu Productions also went on to produce such notable programs as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.
When Lucille Ball gets Desi Arnaz’s shares of Desilu, she becomes the first-ever female CEO of a Hollywood production company. Fans are proud of Lucille for her accomplishment. It seems that the actress will perform on the stage than toiling away in the offices of her company.
According to daughter Lucie Arnaz, Lucille Ball was never quite comfortable with the business aspects of running Desilu Productions. Instead, she would’ve much rather been performing in front of the cameras. Still, besides Desi, there was nobody that could run the company and keep its integrity the way that she could. She remains on board before selling the company off in the late 1970s, though her children seem to be in charge of it today.
Although Lucille Ball didn’t enjoy the business aspects of running Desilu Productions, she makes some pretty good decisions! Lucille stuck her neck out to keep both Star Trek and Mission: Impossible on the air, and they will go on to become major hits!
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The FBI Investigated Her
Though the public adores Lucille Ball, there is one time during I Love Lucy‘s original run that the actress affects by a notable controversy. When I Love Lucy was on the air, America was incredibly afraid of Communists. This fear sparks the creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which tasks with investigating possible Communists in America.
There were many notable Communists in Hollywood, but most of them kept their mouths shut. Stars’ blacklist for their Communist affiliations and labels as a Communist could be enough to completely end your career in the entertainment industry. Because of this, Lucille Ball frightens when she finds out that she suspects of being a Communist herself.
The government didn’t suspect that Lucille Ball was a Communist for no reason. During the actress’s younger days, she had apparently checked a box on a voter registration panel labeling herself as such. According to Lucille, she did this because her grandfather was a Communist and she appreciated his values at the time. However, Lucille also went on to say that she wasn’t active in the party and hadn’t thought about her Communist beliefs since her grandfather’s passing years prior.
On the surface, it seemed that Lucille’s insistence that she wasn’t an active Communist was enough to appease the American government. She testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee and discovers to have no active Communist affiliation. However, the FBI continued to investigate both the star and her then-husband for many years. It remains uncertain if they were being spied on purely for their possible Communist affiliations, or if there were other things the pair were suspected of.
The FBI investigated Lucille and Desi under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, though the politician claimed to be a big fan of the couple in public. It doesn’t seem as if the FBI’s years of investigating the Hollywood power couple turned up much. There was one person who alleged that they had attended a Communist meeting at Lucille Ball’s house. However, the same person went on to peculiarly add that the beloved television star wasn’t even there at the time.
The FBI also alleged that Desi Arnaz performed a show in the 1940s that was sponsored by an organization that was alleged to be a front for the Communist Party. However, Desi was always incredibly patriotic and despised Communism, having fled from a Communist country as a boy. Another thing that J. Edgar Hoover apparently didn’t like was the series The Untouchables, which was produced by Desilu Productions. The politician felt that the show was inaccurate.
She Almost Died Filming I Love Lucy
One of the most memorable scenes from I Love Lucy’s run remains the scene where the character of Lucy is attempting to learn how to make wine from stomping grapes. The scene occurs in the episode “Lucy’s Italian Movie”, and remains one of Lucille’s most inspired physical routines. However, it has been revealed in the time since that episode’s original airing that much of the physical comedy of the scene wasn’t completely intentional. Not only that, but Lucille Ball may have actually been in some intense physical danger!
The woman that was hired to film the scene alongside Lucille Ball was hired for her abilities to stomp grapes. The producers tracked down a real grape stomper, and the one who took the job didn’t speak English very good. When it came time for Lucille to perform the classic scene, there was a miscommunication with the real-life grape stomper that caused her to get incredibly angry with Lucille and attack her for real. Because of this, the fight that ended up making it into the final cut of the episode wasn’t actually staged!
According to Lucille, she feared for her life during the moments when that authentic Italian grape stomper had her in her grasps. No one that was watching was aware that anything had gone wrong, with them simply believing that Lucille was just giving her all to the performance. The take ended up being included in the episode, though the audience might not be so keen to laugh if they realized that Lucille’s life was at risk! The actress was certainly a hard worker that enjoyed giving her all to her physical performances, and she was likely just glad that her sacrifice paid off.
Even if you thought you knew everything there was to know about Lucille Ball, hopefully you were able to learn something new in this video! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Lucille Ball wasn’t a natural redhead, or did you think that she always looked like Lucy Ricardo? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!