Thinking about Desi Arnaz (1917 – 1986)

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 my friends knew anything about.

Desi Arnaz 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 on the island. In the 1930’s, Mr Arnaz sent Desi and his mother to the US. He joined them a little later.

Over here, Desi worked in odd jobs and eventually found himself playing “bongos” on stage. In 1940, he met Lucille Désirée Ball and married quickly. They worked separately for most the 1940s until the idea of “I love Lucy” came up in 1951. The TV show was a smashing success in the 1950’s. The story of “Ricky Ricardo” was born.

We also remember him for “Desilu,” the TV production company that changed television and released many of the sitcoms that we grew up watching, such as Mannix, The Untouchables, Mission: Impossible and Star Trek.

Desi Arnaz, who came here in the 1930’s with his mother, became one of the most successful businessmen and executives of the 20th century. He died in 1986.

Back in 2012, Fernando Hernandez, author of “The Cubans” joined us for the story of Desi Arnaz, TV star and executive.  Click below to hear the podcast.

P.S. Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

1 thought on “Thinking about Desi Arnaz (1917 – 1986)”

  1. It’s simply my opinion, but I don’t think they were a well-matched couple. They were too different.

Comments are closed.