Today (March 2) is Desi Arnaz’s birthday. He was born in 1917 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Now, we “got some ‘splaining to do” on some of Arnaz’s best moments throughout his life.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Family Life
Desi Arnaz is most known for playing Ricky Ricardo in the sitcom, “I Love Lucy.” What was so influential about the show is Ball and Arnaz were actually married in real life as well.
He starred in his first Broadway show called “Too Many Girls” in October 1939. This is where he met his future wife, Lucille Ball. They were married shortly after on November 30, 1940.
Arnaz became a father on June 17, 1951, when Lucie Arnaz was born. The two had another baby, Desi Arnaz Jr., on Jan. 19, 1953. However, the stresses from life and work, amongst other issues, led to a divorce in May 1960.
He eventually got remarried to Edith and the two lived in Del Mar, California together.
Desi Arnaz’s Early Career
While he’s most known for “I Love Lucy,” it’s not where Arnaz started his career.
Rather, Arnaz had a music career that started back in 1937. According to Biography.com, Arnaz worked for Xavier Cugat in New York. However, he eventually went back to Miami where he was widely known for introducing the Conga Line to U.S. audiences.
From there, he moved to New York to be the lead of his very own band. In “I Love Lucy,” Arnaz puts his musical talents to use by singing and performing throughout the show’s course.
Best ‘I Love Lucy’ Moments
Today, “I Love Lucy” continues to return in the form of reruns. The humor and the blatant on-screen chemistry between Arnaz and Ball were truly impossible to replicate.
The six-season show dominated during the era of sitcoms. It was the most-watched show for four of its seasons and was at the top of the Nielsen ratings at the very end of its run.
The show had one of the first mixed marriages on television.
In the show, Lucy plays the mischievous and lovable wife who is constantly getting involved in hilarious schemes and misunderstandings. Meanwhile, her husband Ricky is often dragged along in them or is forced to help create solutions.
As husband and wife in real-life, one of the best moments on the show was when Ricky finds out that Lucy is pregnant. At the time, Lucille was actually pregnant with their son. She was one of the first actresses that publically showed her pregnancy on television.
According to Parade, this was a fan-favorite moment. In a sweet gesture, Ricky serenades her with the song “We’re Having a Baby.”
Ricky has a number of funny and touching moments with his son on the show as well. Fans loved the moment when Ricky is telling his son an animated story, partially in Spanish, as he gallops around the room.
His other most famous moments include fixing or being roped into Lucy’s schemes.
At the end of any scheme, Ricky Ricardo always showed how much he loved his wife.
Desi Arnaz’s Famous Accent
Arnaz’s strong accent on the show was widely important. At the time, it had influenced a number of individuals whose native language was not English.
Although the show pokes fun at his accent, Arnaz had become an icon of inspiration for countless Latinx people.
Lucy is at the forefront of giving her husband a hard time for his accent. She will often casually repeat words back to him the way he says them. It makes for great humor and shows just how much thought went into the show’s writing.
In one scene, Lucy is helping Ricky with his English. He begins to get frustrated with how many words end in “-ough” in the English language.
Throughout the show, Lucy is the only one who can poke fun at his accent. If anyone else did, Ricky just stared blankly at them.
Arnaz Other Appearances
In every episode of “I Love Lucy,” Ricky Ricardo was simply irreplaceable.
However, his livelihood came from more than just “I Love Lucy.” He and Lucille Ball also owned Desilu Productions. After their divorce, Arnaz gave Ball his portion of the company in 1963.
He worked behind the scenes as a producer in “The Mothers-In-Law” in the late ’60s. The “Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” ran throughout the ’50s and ’60s as well. These one-hour specials would feature different guests each time. Arnaz had a huge impact on the entertainment industry with countless appearances during his life.