Before Lucille Ball became a household fixture on many television screens, she worked her way up in Hollywood. Before she got her breakthrough role appearing as Lucy Ricardo on “I Love Lucy,” she appeared in two films nominated for “Best Picture”: Top Hat and Stage Door in the 1930s.
During the 1930s, Ball transitioned from performing on-stage to performing in front of a camera. In the 1935 film, Top Hat, she appeared with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as the flower girl. While it was a minor role for Ball, the Academy Awards nominated the film for “Best Picture.” It was also nominated for “Best Art Direction,” “Best Original Song,” and “Dance Direction.”
In 1990, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, calling it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It also ranked number 15 on the 2006 American Film Institute’s list of best musicals in addition to its nominations.
In 1937, Ball appeared alongside Katherine Hepburn as an aspiring actress named Judy Canfield in Stage Door. Like Top Hat, the film was also a critical success. The 10th Academy Awards nominated Stage Door for “Best Production,” “Best Director,” “Best Supporting Actress,” and “Best Screenplay.”
Lucille Ball’s Hard Work Culminates With Emmy Wins
Later in 1977, years after “I Love Lucy” stopped taping, Ball was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award. In 1979, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Association awarded her with their honorary award. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. In 1989 she was the recipient of the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
In 1960, she received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One at 6436 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to motion pictures. The other was located at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to the arts and sciences of television.