Desi Arnaz, the Cuban who revolutionized entertainment in the United States | Culture

The story of Desi Arnaz is that of the American dream of a Cuban immigrant who arrived in the United States without money and without barely speaking the language but who sacrificed himself to the maximum for triumph. That sacrifice was from perfecting his English at all costs to not be discriminated against in the entertainment world to clean bird cages to buy a guitar or eat only cans of pork and beans to manage well the little money he had.

He knew how to open in a hole in the entertainment market American and ended up becoming a popular figure and a revolutionary in this sector. The professional successes that Arnaz was having in music led him to create his own band and to participate successfully in a musical. Thanks to the show he met his first wife, the famous actress Lucille Ball, and both formed a success binomial with a series, 'I love Lucy', which in some of its chapters was more successful than the inauguration of President Eisenhower.

Over time, Desi Arnaz became a successful and successful producer in business, although his addiction to alcohol, tobacco and personal problems also ended his first marriage and contributed to his passing too young for the talent he developed ahead of him. behind the cameras, at 69 years old victim of cancer.

Desiderio Alberto Arnaz and Acha III, his real name, was born in Santiago de Cuba on March 2, 1917. He was the son of a wealthy Cuban politician, and his family owned three ranches, a palatial house and a holiday mansion on an island. private in the Bay of Santiago. However, after the Cuban Revolution in 1933, Desi's father was imprisoned and all his property confiscated, so when he was released the family fled to Miami.

In the United States, the young Desi Arnaz joined St. Patrick Catholic High School to improve his English while playing guitar at the Roney Plaza Hotel. He tried several professions to help his family, but was determined to guide his vocation for the show and in one of his attempts to work was accepted as a guitarist in the Siboney Sextet.

Xavier Cugat, the musician who led a Latin band in New York, discovered the musical potential of Desi and made him an offer to perform with his orchestra. This fact gave the idea to impulsive Arnaz to create his own band, and so, in December 1937, he formed the Desi Arnaz Orchestra in Miami Beach. With her he presented the conga to the American public with great success, which gave recognition to his band helped Desi to obtain a first success in the North American music industry. Thanks to the conga, in 1939 he received the offer to audition for a Broadway musical entitled 'Too many girls'. This opportunity supposed another one the following year, to go to Hollywood to act in the cinematographic version of that musical.

It was at this time when Arnaz met his future wife, Lucille Ball, a famous actress with whom he married in 1940 and with which he formed a successful television and business duo remembered even today in the American television industry.

He made three more films before receiving, in 1943, the notification to serve in World War II. During his two years the troops were responsible for entertaining them. After its loss in the Army it formed a new orchestra with which recorded several successes at the end of that decade of the 40, in which already it was the undisputed leader of the orchestra in the radio program of Bob Hope in 1946 and 1947. In 1946 he produced his single 'Babalu', which received unanimous acclaim from critics.

In 1948, with his wife Lucille Ball, he started the business of a production company called Desilu, who used to develop his performances on stage, on screen and on the radio, and with which he produced several successful shows such as' The Andy Griffith Show ',' The Dick van Dyke Show 'and'Star Trek'

The following year took place the development of 'I Love Lucy', a successful television series that CBS had on the air for six years and that became the most successful program in history. Arnaz and Ball had a clear objective when the series began to develop: to maintain the total ownership of the program under their production company, Desilu Productions.

Initially, television executives worried that Arnaz's accent would affect his credibility as Ball's husband, so the couple produced a pilot chapter with their own money and, after the success, finally got the support to develop the series, which was finally issued in 1951.

The program touched many personal issues and taboos of the time, including marriage and pregnancy. And as a couple who were both inside and outside the camera, the Arnaz and Ball show had several situations parallel to their actual marriage, for example, giving birth to their son on the show the same day that Ball gave birth to her son in real life. The novelty of the series, together with the strong chemistry of Arnaz and Ball, proved to be a success. 'I Love Lucy' became the number one show in the country in four of its six seasons, until in 1957 the series ended.

In 1956 Desi Arnaz won a Golden Globe in recognition of the impact his work had had on American comedy both in front of and behind the camera. He also had not one, but two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to both television and film.

The marriage of Desi with Lucille Ball He finished in 1960. He divorced him because of his problems with alcohol and infidelities. Then Arnaz sold his part of Desilu Productions to Ball in 1963 and married, on his birthday that year with Edith Mack Hirsch. As of that moment, Arnaz made some incursions in the television, but already always working behind the scene like producer in programs like "The mothers in law" at the end of the Sixties.

Desi Arnaz died in Hollywood on December 2, 1986, at 69, victim of lung cancer. His first wife, Lucille, was with him in the last moments.

His legacy transcends his musical and comic character, being considered the inventor of television and having participated in 24 films as an actor, 14 as a producer, two as a scriptwriter and four as a director, as well as having composed 10 soundtracks for cinema and T.V. series.


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