Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III

2 Feb

AKA Desi Arnaz

Arnaz was born in Santiago, Cuba on March 2nd, 1917. His father was Santiago’s youngest mayor until the Cuban Revolution caused for this father to be jailed. He was released after six months and the family fled to Miami.

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Arnaz got interested in show biz and played guitar for Xavier Cugat. Arnaz is credited for bringing the conga to America! He got offered a role on Broadway in the show Too Many Girls where he met Lucille Ball. He was drafted for WWII but due to a knee injury got assigned to the U.S.O and entertained the troops. During one of this stints, he hired old friend Marco Rizo to play piano and arrange the orchestra. Loyal to his freinds, Rizo was kept on to arrange the orchestra on ILL.

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Together Arnaz and Ball founded Desilu Productions. While he may not have been the best husband, he did make good TV. Arnaz is responsible for the three camera style of shooting, having a live audience (and live reactions) and for the re-run!  Arnaz pushed for the comedy on ILL to be in “good taste” and didn’t allow for racist jokes. The only exception being Lucy was allowed to make fun of his English. He even had the show dubbed in Spanish and had Spanish subtitles, but Arnaz was quite patriotic and proud of being the American Dream. Arnaz also maintained that ILL refrain from making jokes about mental or physical handicaps.

Rumors abound that Arnaz was unfaithful to Ball and had an alcohol problem. Ball ultimately divorced Arnaz and bought him out of the company they co-owned. They remained on good terms, with Arnaz quoted as saying/writing “I Love Lucy was never just a title.” Desi married again on March 2, 1963 to  Edith Mack Hirsch until her death in 1985.

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Towards the end of Arnaz’s life, he and Edith moved to Corona, California to breed horses– which is where I grew up from 2-17 years old!

Arnaz died of lung cancer December 2nd, 1986.



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