Actress and comedianne Lucille Ball's mother, DeDe Ball, was a concert pianist. Lucy had to fight network executives to have her real-life husband, Latin music king Desi Arnaz, play her husband in their pioneering sitcom, I Love Lucy. After that classic show ended its six-year run (1951-57), the couple followed up with three years of The Luci-Desi Comedy Hour. At the same time, Desi hosted two seasons of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, with Lucille appearing as "Lucy Ricardo" in six episodes. In 1953, they starred together in the movie The Long, Long Trailer. The two formed and ran Desilu, a highly successful production company (I Love Lucy, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables).
Lucille's brother, Fred Ball, was Desi's band's road manager in the 1940s and 1950s. He was also on the Board of Directors of Desilu Productions . He was fired by Desi after the two had an argument.
Desi and Lucille had two children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. As children, the siblings had walk-on appearances on their parents' show I Love Lucy, as well as on their mother's show following her divorce from Desi, The Lucy Show. From 1968-1974, they played their mother's children on her third sitcom, Here's Lucy.
Lucie Arnaz went on to play opposite Neil Diamond in 1980's The Jazz Singer and briefly had her own television show in 1985, The Lucie Arnaz Show. She is a singer who has released several albums and had a lengthy career in musical theatre. In 1993, Lucie won an Emmy award for her documentary about her parents, Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie.
Desi Arnaz, Jr. portrayed his own father in The Mambo Kings (1992) and has had roles in numerous movies and TV shows, including episodes of The Love Boat, Matlock, and the 1980s series Automan. Starting in the 1960s, he was part of a band with Dean Martin's son, Dean Paul Martin, called "Dino, Desi & Billy." After Dean Paul died, his brother Ricci Martin joined the band, which changed its name accordingly.
Both the Arnaz and the Ball families have other interesting connections. The Balls are distant relatives of first U.S. President George Washington, as well as William Sprague, who helped found the city of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Desi Arnaz's maternal grandfather was a co-founder of Bicardi Rum. Desi's father, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz II was the youngest mayor of Santiago de Cuba and then a member of the Cuban House of Representatives until the Castro revolution. Desi's dad was the grandson of another former Cuban mayor.