‘I Love Lucy’: Watch Lucille Ball’s Hysterical 1984 Hall of Fame Induction Speech

by Katie Maloney
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Thirty-seven years ago today, Lucille Ball was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. And in true Lucy fashion, her acceptance speech was hilarious.

Undoubtedly, Lucille Ball built her own path in television history. Her headstrong, outspoken, and hilarious antics on the sitcom, I Love Lucy, solidified her spot as a comedy icon. So, it’s no wonder why she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984. According to the Academy’s website, the honor is reserved for those “who have made outstanding contributions in the arts, sciences or management of television.” Whether she was falling around in melted chocolate, cracking jokes with her husband, or subtly transforming the way society viewed women at the time, Lucille Ball certainly made outstanding contributions to television and the world.

Fellow comedian, Carol Burnett introduced Lucille Ball. During her introduction, Burnett said that people often asked her to describe Lucy.

“I say, ‘If I could be half the woman she is, I would be happy,'” said Burnett.

The next year, Carol Burnett was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lucille Ball introduced Burnett during the ceremony.

Lucy Made Everyone Cry During Her Acceptance Speech

Then it was time for Lucille to accept her award. And in true Lucy fashion, she melded both humor and emotion into one moving speech.

“Boy this is really a great evening,” said Ball. “I didn’t know what to expect. Did you?” she asked as she turned to people standing off stage. She then shrugged her shoulders feigning apathy as the audience laughed.

“I am very aware of being blessed by having many talented and creative people surrounding me. We all know we never do anything alone,” she said as she began to tear up.

Her co-stars Vivian Vance and William Frawley had both passed away years before the ceremony. And her former husband Desi Arnaz was unable to attend.

“I just wish a lot of them could be here tonight,” Ball continued with tears in her eyes.

“I love you all very much, thank you,” she concluded.

Lucille Ball makes her acceptance speech at Hall of Fame Induction.

Why Did The Academy Stop Giving The Award They Presented Lucille Ball In 1984?

The original award that honorees received was pretty gigantic. The glass statuettes were in the form of two ballet dancers. An artist named Pascal designed the sculptures and he called them “Discipline of Creation.” The awards were a couple of feet tall and difficult to handle so, after the first few years, the Television Academy decided to go with a different award design. Since 1988 inductees have received a crystal television on top of a cast-bronze designed by art director Romain Johnston. Now, honorees don’t have to worry about fumbling with the award while trying to give their acceptance speech.

A few years after her induction in to the Hall of Fame, Lucille Ball received Kennedy Center Honors in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989. In conclusion, there really isn’t an award that Lucy hasn’t received.

Carol Burnett poses with the giant Television Academy Hall of Fame award.
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