Lucille Ball Said She ‘Literally Starved’ in Years Just Before ‘I Love Lucy’

by Emily Morgan
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While Lucille Ball seemed cheerful during her time on “I Love Lucy,” the star wasn’t always in such high spirits.

Fans remember Ball best for iconic roles on sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy,” from 1951 until 1957, and “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” which aired from 1957 until 1960.

However, the Hollywood icon wasn’t always in love with tinsel town. Near the end of her life, Ball went on the record, confessing that she was disappointed with the direction television was taking.

During an interview before her death, Lucille Ball opened up about her experience in the entertainment industry and how she had watched it ebb and flow throughout the years.

Lucille Ball Before ‘I Love Lucy’

After making a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s most influential people, she never shied away from criticizing the industry. The “queen of comedy” made herself known as a businesswoman in the 1930s and appeared in more than 50 films before she starred in the most successful comedy series on American television. However, it wasn’t an easy road for Ball.

“I literally starved,” Ball told the two students about her early years struggling to perform in New York City before Hollywood came calling. “I was young, very backward and awkward. Vaudeville was the only thing I knew so I tried to break in.

Unfortunately for me, Vaudeville was already dead and gone. The lack of food and work forced me into modeling. I finally became a showgirl, and my first job in Hollywood was as a showgirl. I came out here to Los Angeles only expecting to stay for six weeks. I’ve never left.”

Even though she endured challenges, it would pay off for Ball. Forty-four million people tuned in regularly during its tenure on CBS. In addition, “I Love Lucy” aired in syndication in more than 80 countries.

Furthermore, when Ball wasn’t on the set, she worked at Desilu Productions, famously described as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most successful television companies. In 1968, she took it a step further and branched out to form her own company: Lucille Ball Productions.

Yet even in her old age, she stayed humble. During the interview, she attributes the show’s success to the writers who crafted the stories.

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