Arts & Entertainment

Celebrating Lucille Ball's 100th birthday

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View of the "Lucille Ball At 100 & 'I Love Lucy' At 60" opening gala at The Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles, on Aug. 4. The event celebrated Lucille Ball's 100th birthday and the recently released "Best of I love Lucy" DVD collection from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment.
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TV's favorite red-headed housewife will turn 100 on Saturday. Lucille Ball, who died at age 77 in 1989, was best known for her sitcom "I Love Lucy," which premiered in 1951. The Hollywood Museum together with CBS DVD/ Paramount Home Entertainment presented "Lucille Ball at 100 and `I Love Lucy' at 60," a private gala reception and exhibit spotlighting the "Queen of Comedy" in Hollywood on Thursday evening.

In addition to unveiling the Hollywood Museum's new Lucille Ball exhibit, the gala event celebrated the TV legend's life with a Lucy look-alike contest and the release of a new 14-episode DVD set, “The Best of ‘I Love Lucy.'"

The Hollywood Museum's exhibit will be on display from Aug. 3 to Nov. 30. According to a museum press release, the exhibit will showcase awards received by Ball throughout her career, a collection of photography from Ball's personal life, and many original scripts and costumes from "I Love Lucy" as well as Ball's other films and television programs.

Before starring in "I Love Lucy," Ball had already established a career as an entertainer working on several radio programs and appearing in more than 60 films.

Kathleen Brady, author of "Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball," says, though building her television empire in Hollywood was a priority, family was the actress’ number one treasure.

"As soon as Lucy began to make any money in Hollywood after she came out to the West Coast in the 30s, she brought her mother, and her brother, and her grandfather out. So those relationships were so important to her. She was the ideal and perfect daughter. And I think people don't know that."

Ball married Cuban band leader Desi Arnaz in 1940. Together they founded TV production company, Desliu productions which is credited with pioneering the modern television sitcom format. Their television program "I Love Lucy" was top-ranked for four of its six seasons.

Comedian Paula Poundstone said "I Love Lucy" broke barriers and inspired new generations of women to go into comedy as a profession.

"She’s willing to look gross and stupid, and silly. And not that you have to in order to be funny - but there was sort of no boundaries to what she was willing to do," Poundstone said.

"I Love Lucy" ended in 1957 and Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960. Together they had two children, Desi Jr. and Lucie. Lucie Arnaz was in attendance at Thursday's event.

Audio: Kathleen Brady, author of the book "Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball," spoke to KPCC’s Steve Julian about a part of the actress' life that not everyone knows about.