Thinking about Desi Arnaz (1917 – 1986)

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Back in the fall and winter of 1964, my brother and I started school in Wisconsin and would hear a lot about “Ricky Ricardo”. It did not take long for us to figure out that Lucy’s husband was the only Cuban that they knew about.

Desi was born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III on this day in 1917. His father was a politician and mayor of Santiago de Cuba, or the second largest city in the island.

In the 1930’s, Mr Arnaz sent Desi and his wife to the US. He joined them a little late.

In the US, Desi worked in odd jobs and eventually found himself playing “bongos” on stage. In 1940, he met Lucy and they were married quickly. They worked separetly for most the 1940s until the idea of “I love Lucy” in 1951.

A few years ago, Fernando Hernandez, author of “The Cubans” joined us for the story of Desi Arnaz, TV star and executive. By the way, Fernando wrote two more books about Cubans in the US: “The Cubans, Our Footprints Across America” and “Cuba and the USA: A Musical Journey“.

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