Desi Arnaz Biography

 The Life of the Creator of I Love Lucy

Name: Desiderio Alberto Acha Arnaz III.
Birth date: March 2, 1917.
Birthplace: Santiago, Cuba.
Breakthrough: Starred in hit Television Series I Love Lucy.

This Desi Arnaz biography is the story of a Cuban-born actor, musician and TV producer who started the international craze on Mambo through his Desi Arnaz Orchestra. However, on most Desi Arnaz biographies, he is remembered for his role in the hit Television series I Love Lucy.

Arnaz played the struggling Cuban-born musician “Ricky Ricardo” whose cheerful wife Lucy (played by real wife Lucy Ball) was always engaged in some sort of hilarious mischief.

Behind the scenes, he was a savvy businessman and a doting father to his two children. His invaluable contributions in the early years of motion picture and television earned him 2 stars on the aisles of Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Arnaz was born on March 2, 1917 to an influential family in Santiago, Cuba. His father Desiderio Alberto Arnaz served in the House of Representatives and was Santiago’s youngest mayor. His mother Dolores was the daughter of Alberto de Acha — one of the 3 founders of Bacardi Rum.

According to Desi Arnaz Biography in Wikipedia, his family owned a palatial home, three ranches and a vacation mansion on a private island located in Santiago, Desi tells in his autobiography titled “A Book.”

Following the rise to power of Fulgencio Bautista in the 1933 revolution, his father was jailed and all their properties confiscated. He was released after six months and brought his family to Miami, Florida. In Miami, Desi worked as honey dipper, canary cage cleaner and many other odd jobs to survive.

In 1936, he played percussion and guitar for a Latin Orchestra then went to New York City to work for Xavier Cugat the “King of Latin Music.” After 6 months, he returned to Miami and formed his own orchestra that introduced the Conga Line to American audience.

In 1937, Desi Arnaz became a recording artist which produced his signature song “Babalu” that became a phenomenal hit. He starred in the musical Broadway “Too Many Girls” in 1939, and then went to Hollywood a year later to appear on its movie version where she met comedian actress Lucille Ball.

This famous Hispanic actor appeared on four other movies until he received his military draft notice in 1943. Arnaz injured his knee before he got inducted and was classified for limited service. He was assigned at the San Fernando Military Hospital and directed USO programs.

He left the military after the war and formed a new orchestra that made strings of successful recordings and live performances, and in 1950, with just $5,000, Desi and wife Lucille formed a production company called Desilu Productions.

Desi and Lucille are one of the most recognized American couples in history, all due to the I Love Lucy show. Even today some of the most popular items are the I love Lucy photos which many collect along with the DVDs of the show.

A year after creating Desilu Productions, Desi produced and starred with real-life wife Lucille Ball in the classic comedy TV series I Love Lucy which ran for six years at CBS.

Aside from I Love Lucy, Desi also produced other TV series like “Those Whiting Girls”, “The Ann Sothern Show” and a film that starred Lucille “Forever, Darling” in 1956.

Any Desi Arnaz biography I read showed an ambitious artist who wanted more out of life, that is probably the reason for his new real estate ventures in 1957. He opened Desi Arnaz West Hills Hotel the same year. It had 42 spacious rooms and a restaurant that featured his personal recipes. During this time, he and Lucille built their home at the Thunderbird Golf Club on a land he won over a poker game.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorced in 1960 and three years later, he married his second wife Edith Hirsh. After his second marriage, his show business activities were greatly reduced.

To promote his Autobiography “A Book,” he played drums and sang Spanish songs in “Saturday Night Live” in 1976 when his son Desi Jr. was the host the show. He and Edith transferred to California where he enjoyed the rest of his fruitful life in semi-retirement.

In December 2, 1986, after many years of smoking Cuban cigars, Desi lost his battle to lung cancer.

I Love Lucy Photos and Games
I Love Lucy Memorabilia

Here is a selection of photos, games and articles that bring you back to the famous I Love Lucy show. All autographed products come with a certificate of authenticity.

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