The Story Of Lucille Ball Essay Research

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The Story Of Lucille Ball Essay, Research Paper The Story of Lucille Ball Turn on a television in virtually any country in the world and you’ll see Lucy – knee-deep in grapes in an Italian vineyard, stuffing herself with chocolates as they stream down a conveyor belt, becoming drunker and drunker as she flubs take after take of a commercial for an elixer called Vitameatavegamin. Through stage, screen, and most of all through television, Lucille Ball has become one of the most legendary actresses the world has ever known. Life was not always so glamourous for the wide-eyed, carrot-topped star. She endured poverty, trauma, abandonment, and lonliness before she even turned twelve. Her father Had Ball died of tuberculosis in 1912, when Lucy was just three. Not long after he

passed away, Lucy’s mother DeDe (short for Desiree) was married to Ed Peterson. Ed didn’t like children, especially Lucy and her little brother Fred (Brady 8). When money became tight, he talked DeDe into moving from their small town of Celeron, NY to Detroit. Fred was sent to live with DeDe’s parents, Fred and Flora Hunt, and Lucy was sent to live with Ed’s mother, known as Grandmother Peterson. Living with Grandma Peterson was Lucy’s unhappiest time. She was old-fashioned, and extremely strict. Lucy had to do strenuous chores from dawn to dusk, except when she was at school. A devout Christian, Grandma Peterson believed anything that brought happiness was a sin. There were no birthday parties, toys, or friends. Often alone, Lucy created an imaginary playmate names

Sassafrassa. Together they would sing, dance, perform skits, and go on adventures. “Sassafrassa” told Lucy she was beautiful, funny, and talented, and that one day she would be rich and famous (Ball 21). Grandma Peterson shunned vanity of any kind. She punished Lucy whenever she caught her staring at herself in the mirror, and often ridiculed the girl’s looks. With her crooked teeth, big eyes and feet, mousy brown curls, and scrawny figure, Lucy was an easy target. When Lucy was nine, DeDe and Ed moved back from Detroit, and Grandfather Hunt bought a large house just outside Celeron for the family to live in. Despite her harsh ways, Lucy credits much of her success to Grandmother Peterson. “I don’t suppose that hard work, dicipline, and a perfectionist attitude did me

any harm. And when life seemed unbearable, I learned to live in my imagination, to step inside other people’s skins – indispensible abilities for an actress”, wrote Lucy in her book Love, Lucy (pg.37). “On the other hand, I have her to thank for the gnawing sense of unworthiness and insecurity that haunted me for years. The Puritan idea that everything pleasurable is somehow bad almost ruined the first joys of our I Love Lucy success. The hardest thing for me was getting used to the idea that I deserved it.” Moving to the new house on Eighth Street, which today is called Lucy Lane, marked the begining of Lucy’s happy childhood. She grew close to her mother, her brother, her grandparents, and her Aunt Lola. Lola’s baby daughter Cleo stayed in their house while her

mother ran a beauty shop. Cleo and Lucy became good friends, and they had the fun Lucy had only pretended to do with Sassafrassa. As a freshman in high school, Lucy and her friend Pauline Lopus performed their first actual play, an amature comedy called Charley’s Aunt. Charley’s Aunt showed Lucy the wonderful feeling of getting real laughs on the stage. From then on she was in every show that came along. At fifteen, Lucy’s mother agreed to let her study at New York City’s John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton Dramatic School. Classes were extremely tough. One student always stole the spotlight – a dynamic vixen named Bette Davis. Lucy felt scared and alone. After one semester, the school told her mother Lucy had no talent and she was wasting her money. Kicked out of drama