Desi Arnaz (Desiderio Alberto Arnaz yde Acha III) was born in Santiago, Cuba on March 2, 1917. His story is one that every Cuban American should be familiar with:
“His father was the mayor of Santiago.
The 1933 revolution led by Fulgencio Batista had landed his father in jail and stripped the family of its wealth, property and power. His father was released because of the intercession of U.S. officials who believed him to be neutral during the revolt.
The family fled to Miami, Florida. One of Desi’s first jobs in America consisted of cleaning canary cages. However, after forming his own small band of musicians, he was hired by Xavier Cugat, the “king” of Latin music.
Desi soon left Cugat, formed his own Latin band and literally launched the conga craze in America. he was cast in the Broadway play “Too Many Girls”, resulting in his being brought to Hollywood to make the film version of the play.
Desi later wrote an autobiography entitled “A Book.”
In 1986 he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died on December 2, 1986.”
Fernando Hernandez and I did a show about Desi Arnaz, from his early days as a bandleader to “Ricky Ricardo” to a very important TV executive with Desilu.
— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) March 3, 2014