‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Credited a Film Great as Being Biggest Influence on Her Comedy

by Madison Miller

Lucille Ball from the highly popular sitcom “I Love Lucy” is often referred to as the “Queen of Comedy.”

Her unique comedy style made her stand out in the industry. She paved the way for countless other female comedians and actresses. Her physical, slapstick comedy marked with extravagantly accurate facial expressions made her an overall hit to audiences.

On top of that, Lucille Ball was the first woman to own her own production company. After Ball and Desi Arnaz got divorced he signed his portion of Desilu Productions to her.

While she is credited immensely for her impact on comedy, acting, and production, Lucille Ball always gave credit to those who inspired her along the way.

Lucille Ball Credits Marion Davies

According to IMDb, Ball often credited Marion Davies as an influence to her kind of comedy.

Ball had said in one of her memoirs that she was an extra in “Tillie the Toiler” in 1927. She would have been 16 at the time and it was filmed in Hollywood so some people don’t believe this claim from Ball.

Regardless, Ball seems to have been at least influenced by the stylistic choices Davies brought to her acting and comedy.

Marion Davies was the No. 1 female box office star in 1923. This was widely due to her success in movies like “When Knighthood Was in Flower” and “Little Old New York.” She was also in Broadway shows like “Chin-Chin,” “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Betty,” “Words and Music,” and “Miss 1917.”

She starred in 46 films during her career acting. However, her career faced a decline when the Great Depression came around.

The film “Citizen Kane” had also tampered with her reputation. The film features a character named Susan Alexander Kane, an untalented singer looking to be promoted, that is thought to be based on Davies. Since then, Orson Welles has defended Marion Davies as a gifted addition to the entertainment industry.

Ball Credits Carole Lombard

After her role in “I Love Lucy” as well as other shows and films, as well as her work on other shows through Desilu Productions, Ball is called the “Queen of Comedy.”

However, she didn’t think she deserved that title. Instead, Lucille Ball calls Carole Lombard, her idol, the ultimate “Queen of Comedy.” She used to watch her in the studio and mimick some of her acting styles.

Lombard was known for her roles in different screwball comedy productions. She appeared in roles like “High Voltage,” “The Racketeer,” “The Arizona Kid,” and “Twentieth Century.”

Unfortunately, she was killed at the age of 33 while aboard the TWA Flight 3. It crashed in Mount Potosi, Nevada. This is now a popular hiking location. Despite a short career, the industry recognizes her contribution to comedy, specifically screwball. That style had a lot of influence on Ball as she took the chance to make “I Love Lucy.”

Many people believed it would end her career, but Ball and Arnaz took the chance and it became a huge success.