WATCH: Lucille Ball Tear Up During Standing Ovation at 1981 Emmy Awards

by Madison Miller

Lucille Ball was no stranger to awards. In her countless years in the television industry, and even after her death, she has gotten extensive recognition for her contributions to TV and even film.

From Emmys to Golden Globes to American Comedy Awards, recognition came with her trailblazing career. “I Love Lucy” was an instant hit and longstanding classic.

Lucille Ball Emmys 1981

In 1981, Lucille Ball went to the 33rd Primetime Emmy Awards. At the time, she was about 70 and her career in television had begun to gradually slow down.

However, when she walked into the room, every single person in the audience stood up and gave her a standing ovation. The famous “I Love Lucy” theme song is in the background as she approaches the podium. The standing ovation lasts for over 30 seconds as Ball looks adoringly into the crowd.

Ball was in tears as Shirley MacLaine handed her an award honoring her 30th year of television with a signed plaque. Eventually, she gets ready to read off the nominations for an award as well. Clearly, Lucille Ball had a huge impact on future generations of TV creators, many of which are sitting in that room.

Other Awards

In 1956, Ball was given the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress for her role on “I Love Lucy.” The show itself had also won awards like Best Situation Comedy over the years.

She also won two Emmys for her work on “The Lucy Show” in both 1967 and 1968.

One of the more interesting awards the show was given was the title of “Fake Product You Want to Buy.” This is in reference to the episode in which Lucy is selling Vitameatavegamin because “It’s so tasty too!” The show was given this strange honor by TV Land in 2007.

“I Love Lucy” was a rare gem in that it ranked high and was an instant hit as soon as it aired. Other popular TV shows took time before they gained such massive support. “I Love Lucy” never ranked below third place during its entire run. When there were only 15 million TV sets, 11 million were tuning in to watch.

After ‘I Love Lucy’

“I Love Lucy” ended in 1957. However, Lucille Ball’s career did not end just because the popular sitcom did.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz owned Desilu Productions. When they divorced in 1960, he signed over the rights. The company helped produce shows like “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “Star Trek.”

Lucille Ball also acted in “Here’s Lucy” and “The Lucy Show.”

In 1985 she played a homeless woman in “Stone Pillow,” a made-for-TV movie. She had been in several other films like “Yours, Mine and Ours” and “The Facts of Life” after the show as well.