Star Bios; Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz's Life

Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Archa III was born in 1917 to a wealthy Cuban landowners.But that soon changed. At the age of 16, Desi and his mother had to flee to Miami because of their troubles in Cuba.

When Desi arrived in America it was a struggle for him and his mother. But soon after he arrived he joined the Siboney Septet at the Roney Plaza. Later, he started working with the Xavier Cugat's band in 1937 and later put together his own rhumba band. In 1940, he appeared in both the stage and movie versions of "Too Many Girls". Then on the movie set he met his future wife, Lucille Ball. Later that year Desi and Lucille got married. The marriage was subject to the road most of the time and to Lucy's movie career. When the couple came up with the idea for a T.V. series, they fought to do it together to save thier marriage.

But the network didn't think the T.V. series would work with Desi being Cuban. But that didn't stop Lucy and Desi. In the summer of 1950 they went on tour, performing for live audiences to prove that the show would work. Early in 1951 the couple produced a film pilot with their total savings of 5,000 dollars. Well, the rest is TV history!

Desi made that 5,000 dollars into millons in just four years. He convinced the show's sponsor, Philip Morris, that Lucy having a baby on the show would give them great publicity, he was right: the birth of Little Ricky drew 44 million viewers, and the story made headlines everywhere across America. With him as a successful executive at DesiLu Productions, he also produced "December Bride," "Make Room for Danny,""Our Miss Brooks," and other shows. Even fashion wise Desi brought back smoking jackets, adult denims, and matching he-and-she pajamas.

In his private life, Desi was a party animal, entertaining extensively on this yacht, The Balboa. Lucy could only take so much of this. After Desi and Lucy divorced in 1960, Desi divided his time between his Corona horse-breeding ranch and his Del-Mar retreat. In 1963 Desi married Edith Mack Hirsh, to whom he spent the reat of his life with. A couple of years later he formed Desi Arnaz Productions. But that didn't last long.In 1974 Desi wrote his autobiography, A Book, which hit the best-seller charts.

Desi's second wife, Edith, passed away in 1985 of cancer. Desi spent the rest of this life struggling with alcohol, and, with the help of his son, he finally stopped drinking entirely. Though this gave him quality time, the years of abuse had taken their toll. The last time Lucy and Desi talked was on November 10, 1986, 46 years after they first exchanged vows. Desi later died on December 2, 1986 at the age of 69.

*Go to Desi's Picture Gallery