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Desi Arnaz

Born on 2 March 1917 in Cuba, Desi Arnaz was raised in tumultuous times but rose above them to become a world-famous musician, actor, and producer. Named Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha, III at birth, Arnaz was born into a wealthy family, but after the Batista revolution in Cuba, his family was compelled to move to Miami, Florida where he worked as a menial laborer in his youth before his musical talents were discovered by Xavier Cugat. He moved to New York City where he eventually formed his own orchestra, but he soon became a hit on the Broadway stage. When the production he starred in, Too Many Girls, was picked up to be a major motion picture, Arnaz moved to Hollywood and quickly achieved star status in film and television.

Arnaz’s career as a performer was interrupted while he served in the U. S. armed forces during World War II, but upon its conclusion he returned to the entertainment business and in 1951 began the world-famous TV show I Love Lucy with his then-wife Lucille Ball. He produced and starred in the show and established Desilu Production Studios with Ball. The show became a hit, eventually running for nine seasons. During his career as an actor, director, and producer, Arnaz made significant strides in the industry. It was under his guidance that TV production moved from New York to Hollywood, that sitcoms came to be filmed in front of a live audience, and he is credited with the idea of TV reruns.

Arnaz worked on quite a few other TV shows and eventually earned two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his work in TV and one for his contributions to the film industry. Desi Arnaz eventually away from lung cancer in December 1986.