‘I Love Lucy’: Take a Tour of Lucille Ball’s Childhood Home

by Jennifer Shea

“I Love Lucy” fans can now take a virtual tour of Lucille Ball’s childhood home! The house is located in Celoron, New York. And it’s where Ball lived from her father’s death in 1915 (she was 3 at the time) until 1927, when her mother’s family lost the house in a lawsuit.

The tour is led by Bill Rapaport, who with his wife Mary now owns Ball’s childhood home. It features all the key facets of the house that Ball grew up in. And it was filmed in 2015 by COZI TV.

Some highlights of the tour are the horizontal wooden curtain rod in the parlor over which Ball used to hang a sheet for theatrical performances for her family; Ball’s original bathtub; and Ball’s bedroom, shared with her cousin Cleo, from which she used to look out the window at the lilac bushes, which are still standing on the property.

Watch the tour for yourself here:

‘I Love Lucy’ Star Knew She Wanted to Perform At an Early Age

As a child, Ball already knew she wanted to go into the performing arts. She left high school at age 15 for a drama school in New York City, per Britannica. But she was shy and intimidated by the school’s star student, Bette Davis, according to Biography.com. Ball’s initial attempts to be an actress were unsuccessful. So she turned to modeling.

It was because of Ball’s modeling gigs that a Hollywood agent noticed her. The agent invited her out to California to help promote the film “Roman Scandals,” according to the Lucy Desi Museum.

More film work followed. Including, four years later, a significant role in the Katharine Hepburn-Ginger Rogers movie “Stage Door.” That was the beginning of a movie career spanning 72 films.

Ball Was a Trailblazer on Her Show

“I Love Lucy” brought more than its share of firsts – first show filmed in the three-camera format before a live audience, first on-air pregnancy, first television millionaires. But Ball couldn’t have done it without the help of Desi Arnaz, who she got to know on the set of “Too Many Girls.” They married in 1940, six months after they met, per History.com.

According to Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, Ball’s husband was the business genius to Ball’s showbiz genius. The two of them together formed Desilu Studios to produce “I Love Lucy.” The studio later became a television powerhouse.    

“My father was a great business mind and he ran the studio and she was never happier than when she could rely on that,” Arnaz told Yahoo! Entertainment in 2019.

Ball, for her part, just wanted to “play in the sandbox” of Hollywood. Not unlike her early penchant for performing in front of her family in that cozy house in Celoron.