‘I Love Lucy’: How Many Emmys Did Lucille Ball Win for Show?

by Joe Rutland

There is little doubt Lucille Ball was successful on CBS’s “I Love Lucy” during its run. Surprisingly though, Ball didn’t exactly rack up a ton of awards.

That’s right. Ball, who played a big role in keeping CBS’s entertainment division alive in the 1950s, only won one Emmy Award in 1956. It was for “Best Actress-Continuing Performance.”

Now Lucille Ball won an Emmy in 1953 for “Best Comedienne” but it was not tied to “I Love Lucy.” Just a single Emmy for Lucy Ricardo, though. That’s pretty amazing in itself.

Lucille Ball Wins Two Emmys For ‘The Lucy Show’

Did Ball win other Emmys? Yes, she won for “Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series” in 1967 and 1968 for “The Lucy Show.”

She also received two honorary Emmys, recognizing her work in television. Lucille Ball was a Hall of Fame honoree in 1984 and received the Governor’s Award in 1989.

The fact that Ball didn’t win more Emmys for her role on “I Love Lucy” might leave some fans scratching their heads. Who was better than Ball in the years she didn’t win an Emmy for playing Lucy Ricardo?

Those Emmy voters didn’t think she earned it. But there are millions of “I Love Lucy” fans all over the world who would strongly differ in their opinion. At one point, “I Love Lucy” was syndicated in 80 countries. That’s 8-0. When the original show aired on CBS, 44 million people would regularly tune in to see the hijinx between Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel.

Ball ‘Literally Starved’ in Years Before ‘I Love Lucy’

Getting to the top of television’s mountain was definitely a treacherous road for Lucille Ball. She worked on Broadway, did movies in Hollywood, and nothing seemed to click.

Yes, the “Queen of Female Television Comedians” pretty much lived paycheck-to-paycheck herself for a bit.

“I literally starved,” Ball said in an interview. She is referring to her early years struggling to perform in New York City before Hollywood came calling. “I was young, very backward and awkward. Vaudeville was the only thing I knew so I tried to break in.

“Unfortunately for me, Vaudeville was already dead and gone,” Ball said. “The lack of food and work forced me into modeling. I finally became a showgirl, and my first job in Hollywood was as a showgirl. I came out here to Los Angeles only expecting to stay for six weeks. I’ve never left.”

Good choice, Lucy.