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Ball Of Fire: The Tumultuous Life And Comic Art Of Lucille Ball (2003)

Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball (2003)

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3.86 of 5 Votes: 1
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0375413154 (ISBN13: 9780375413155)

About book Ball Of Fire: The Tumultuous Life And Comic Art Of Lucille Ball (2003)

This book was recommended to me by an avid "I Love Lucy" fan. I was intrigued by her description of a real life woman and her husband as less than ideal. Like the biography I read about Laurence Olivier, I was left with a feeling of disappointment.Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911. She began her career in her mid-teens as a chorus girl and model. Her career started to gain traction in the late 1930s. She began to appear in movies with the Three Stooges, Bob Hope, William Holden and Henry Fonda. Somewhere around 1939 she met a Cuban performer by the name of Desi Arnaz. They married on November 30,1940. Around 1948 Lucille was performing a radio serial "My Favourite Husband".This eventually led to the TV show "I Love Lucy". The show's success was a combination of Lucille's mix of glamour and slapstick and Desi's business acumen. Although the show was based on the real life couple of Lucille and Desi reality did not match the screen presentation. Lucille Ball carried a great deal of insecurity about her talent and her beauty. Desi Arnaz liked to party and enjoyed the company of other women which was not helpful to his wife. When "I Love Lucy" ended Lucille tried to capture the magic of that show in other sit-com endeavors without Desi. She was unable to do so. Her prevailing attitude is summed up by the following quote: "The encroachments and reminders of age were too painful for Lucy to contemplate, and too close too ignore."She became increasingly bitter and unpleasant to work with. Her whole life had been devoted to her career and she was eventually forced into retirement which she regarded as "a living death". What I found particularly sad was how the careers of Lucille and Desi effected the lives of their children: Lucie and Desi Jr. "...A normal childhood...for Desi Jr. and Lucie, it was impossible. Not only were their parents celebrated, rich and divorced, their father was an alcoholic and their mother a deeply conflicted figure...".It seems the only togetherness of mother and children occurred when they appeared on the show "Here's Lucy". According to the author Lucille "thought mostly in terms of career rather than motherhood. Desi Jr. became an addict and had troubled relationships with older women. Lucie moved out when she was 18. She soon married but the marriage didn't last. They both managed to weather their stormy upbringing as Lucie became a successful actor in her own right and Desi Jr. became sober. The book was interesting. The author stayed away from sleazy details. Although it seems that he was some what critical of Lucille Ball in reality, he does not come across in a mean spirited way.

TV comedy mostly irritates the hell out of me, with a few notable exceptions, one in particular being Lucille Ball.She had that distinct something. I only needed look at her to be triggered into fits of belly laughter. It's a rare gift, we tend to think. But as with so many such greats, Ball's comedic craft was actually the result of decades of hard work. There was little spontaneity in what she excelled at, it was the product of gruelling repetition, so many times did she practice every smallest detail for a any scene or sketch - frequently driving her fellow cast members to despair. Such is the requisite professional devotion shared by illusionists, mime artists, circus performers, speciality dancers and great singers.It brightened my week immensely reading about this fascinating, committed artiste who, in my toddlerhood, was portrayed by a tiny carrot-headed marionette dancing across my screen in sequins and high heels, in the opening credits. She was the only screen persona guaranteed to have me rolling around the carpet. Watching blurry old reruns still has the same effect on me, so timeless is the joy she invokes in the human psyche. Her apprenticeship involved learning on the job, on the pre-TV big screen, in supporting roles to legends like the Marx Brothers. As an adult I've had passing opportunity to catch up on even her earlier work, which I'd missed out on watching her as I was growing up. It was therefore great to read the backstory of this entertainment history-making trailblazer, dubbed in an earlier Hollywood incarnation "Queen of the Bs".A thorough, well written biography with great photographs.

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If you're an avid I Love Lucy fan, this is a great read. You'll delve into how Lucille started off her career in Hollywood, how her relationship with Ricky blossomed over the years (as well as its downfalls) and several other facts about her tumultuous life that you probably never knew about. You'll also go behind the scenes and learn about her friendships with cast members: Ethel and Fred. Overall, after you've finished with this book you'll have a higher degree of respect for this woman that brought comedy to millions of people around the world for over 50 years.
—Puja Sheth

Lucille Ball is my mom’s idol. She loves that woman. She has every biography, every cookbook and every salt and pepper shaker you can imagine emblazoned with a red heart and two stick figures happily smooching. I Love Lucy is the most famous comedy of all time. I never watched television growing up – modern tv, that is – so I have a deep appreciation for past entertainment that not a lot of people my age do. Therefore, it was only a matter of time until the bug of curiosity bit me and I picked up a biography on the famous redhead herself. And what I discovered was as equally tragic as it was incredible. Lucille Ball fought her way to the top. An aspiring actress, she wanted to do drama but her talent was positioned squarely in the slapstick genre. After marrying a handsome Cuban musician named Desi Arnaz, her life went from interesting to intense. Desi was a brilliant showman and producer and from the second they met, they fell instantly in love – and never fell out of it. However, their marriage was incredibly strained, and it seemed as if every moment of their life was filled with heartbreak, struggle, violent fighting and tears. On the flipside, they loved each other so much that they could not live without the other. When they started I Love Lucy things almost didn’t get off the ground because they did not want to cast a Latin American man (Desi) as an American husband on a sitcom. Nobody would believe that a white woman was married to a Cuban, they said. You could say that they ate their words. I Love Lucy has endured for over 50 years. The story of Lucille Ball’s life, though, is somewhat less sparkling. She was terribly unhappy, mainly because her marriage to Desi was chaotic beyond all reasonable belief. They divorced after the Lucy show ended, but they loved each other to the end. However, she never got over the divorce and she carried the stress of losing Desi and her marriage with her for the rest of her life. Lucy’s story is one that is terribly sad, yet incredibly inspiring. She was a pioneer for women in show business, becoming the first woman CEO of a studio, and she was one of the few women of the 30s and 40s who supported her family on her own – an independent woman if you ever saw one. It’s best to focus on the positive when it comes to her personal life. But to me, she will always and forever be Lucy Ricardo, that crazy redhead that we all know…and we all love.
—Summer Lane

Really long, informational book about Lucille Ball! I loved, loved, loved it!! Stefan Kanfer did an amazing job giving you every little detail about Lucy's life. Who was her first date? Where was she born? If you want to know this, read this book! It's amazing and really funny and detailed. I read this book when I was working on a school report about historic women, and I got Lucille Ball. I found it and wasn't sure about it at first, but then I started reading and fell in love!!! Beautiful, detailed writing that keeps you turning pages and makes you feel like Lucille is still alive today and talking straight to you!

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