Produced Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III on March 2, 1917, in Santiago, Cuba, Desi Arnaz fled Cuba to America along with his family in 1933. Born into a rich family, the Arnazes fled Cuba for Miami after a revolution in 1933. After working several odd jobs to help support the family, Desi got his first musician’s show as a guitarist for the Siboney Septet.
After working briefly for Xavier Cugat in Nyc, Arnaz returned to Miami to direct a combo of his own and introduce the Conga Line to American audiences. It was such a success, both locally and nationwide, that Arnaz returned to The Big Apple to begin his own group. He was offered a part in the 1939 Broadway musical Too Many Girls and later starred in Hollywood’s movie version. They were married in 1940.
Arnaz made three more movies before being inducted to the Army during WWII. He formed a brand new orchestra after being dispatched and recorded several hits throughout the late 1940s. Arnaz and Ball had a clear target in your mind when the show started development. Not only did they request the the show be shot on film compared to the more affordable kinescope, however in addition they kept full possession of the program under their production company, Desilu Productions. The show aired in 1951.
The show touched on many private and taboo problems of the time, including union and pregnancy. So when a couple both on and off camera, Arnaz and Ball’s show had parallells to their real union, giving birth for their son on the show on the exact same day that Ball gave birth to their own son in actual life. The novelty of the show, coupled with Arnaz and Ball’s powerful chemistry, proved to be a success. I Love Lucy became the No. 1 show in the nation for four of its six seasons. The show finished in 1957.
Desi’s marriage to Lucille Ball finished in 1960. He sold his share of Desilu Productions to Ball in 1963. Next, Arnaz made several forays into television, working mostly behind the scenes. He functioned as a producer on such shows as The Mothers-In-Law in the late 1960s. Along with his second wife, Edith, he lived in Del Mar, California. He died of cancer at his house there in 1986 in the age of 69.