It's Lucille Ball's birthday Thursday, August 6. The comic actress would have been 104, although her inspired brand of physical comedy is ageless. Ball's dizzy "I Love Lucy" character made an indelible mark on the early days of television, when she and her husband, Cuban actor-musician Desi Arnaz, were two of America's biggest stars. Here are scenes of her and her family relaxing at home in the 1950s and 1960s.
Arnaz and Ball with their second child, son Desi Jr., at home in January 1953. The creators of "I Love Lucy" wrote her pregnancy into the show. More Americans watched the January 19, 1953, episode in which "little Ricky" was born than watched President Eisenhower's inauguration ceremony the next day.
In what looks like a scene from their TV show, Arnaz and Ball clown around with a newspaper in 1955. The couple were married for 20 years.
Ball has her hair styled in this undated photo taken at Ball's apartment at the Hilton Hotel in New York.
Ball clowns around with Arnaz in their Hollywood swimming pool. She was six years older than her husband, a fact they tried to conceal from the public.
Leader of a Latin orchestra, Arnaz was a skilled musician who could play a variety of instruments. Here, he and Ball perform a duet in 1955.
The couple play cards at their Hollywood home in 1955. Behind the public laughter, their marriage was often rocky. They divorced in 1960, although the two remained friends.
Ball kisses Desi Jr., dressed as a drum major, in the backyard of their Hollywood home in the late 1950s. Desi Jr. played drums in a band that included Dean Martin's son and later caused a mini scandal when, at 17, he briefly dated 23-year-old actress Patty Duke. Now 62, he still makes occasional appearances as a musician.
Ball plays with her dogs in the back garden of her home in the late 1950s. The beloved late actress has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one each for her film and TV work.
Ball relaxes in her bedroom in 1960, the year she and Arnaz divorced. Several years later, she married comedian Gary Morton and remained with him until her death in 1989 at the age of 77.
Ball painting in her garden, about 1960. After "I Love Lucy" ended, she starred in two more long-running sitcoms for CBS: "The Lucy Show" (1962-68) and "Here's Lucy" (1968-74). Ball appeared on the cover of TV Guide a record 39 times and was voted the magazine's greatest TV star of all time.