The Legacy of Lucille Ball

Saturday marks 100 years since the birth of Lucille Ball.  Born on August 6, 1911, she passed away in 1989, but her legacy lives on.  She was more than just a comedian, she was also a savvy executive in the entertainment business.  She was, of course, an extremely talented performer, a wonderful actress with impeccable comic timing.  She worked in radio and on film, but made her mark in television, starring in five sitcoms, including the pioneering I Love Lucy.  She was the first woman in television to be head of a production company -- Desilu, which produced, among other classics The Andy Griffith Show, Mission: Impossible, The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Three Sons, I Spy, and one of my personal favorites, Star Trek.

In honor of the centennial of Lucille Ball's birth, a number of tributes are taking place.  The Hallmark Channel will air a 48-hour marathon of I Love Lucy episodes.  The Hollywood Museum will have a special exhibit highlighting her career and achievements.  It Books will publish an anniversary edition of Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, written by Coyne S. Sanders and Tom Gilbert with a forward by TV critic Tom Shales.  The Paley Center for Media in New York will offer screenings of Lucille Ball miscellanea, including some of her rare appearances on The Carol Burnett Show.  Ball's hometown, Jamestown, New York, is holding The Lucille Ball 100th Birthday Festival of Comedy, featuring Lucille Ball lookalikes and other entertainment.

I Love Lucy still holds up today as a pillar of humor and a keystone of television history, a testimony to Lucille Ball's genius.  She is an icon of comedy, TV, and show business, and will never be forgotten.