Skip to main content

New Schedule: Beginning May 30, many Smithsonian museums will return to their normal operating hours, open seven days a week, including the National Portrait Gallery. We’re excited to welcome you! 

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball
Harry Warnecke, 1900 - 1984
Robert F. Cranston, 26 Jul 1897 - 1978
Lucille Ball, 6 Aug 1911 - 26 Apr 1989
Color carbro print
Image: 40.9 x 33.2 cm (16 1/8 x 13 1/16")
Sheet: 41.2 x 33.5 cm (16 1/4 x 13 3/16")
Mount: 50.6 x 37.8 cm (19 15/16 x 14 7/8")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
Costume\Dress Accessory\Feather
Lucille Ball: Female
Lucille Ball: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Lucille Ball: Performing Arts\Performer\Comedian
Lucille Ball: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Television
Lucille Ball: Performing Arts\Producer\Television
Lucille Ball: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Lucille Ball: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Television industry leader
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Elsie M. Warnecke
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Jamestown, New York
Best known for delighting television audiences with her hilarious antics, comedienne Lucille Ball had hoped to make her mark as an actress on the big screen. From 1929 to 1950, she appeared in more than seventy films, but Hollywood stardom remained elusive. Weary of roles that offered steady work but little satisfaction, Ball was delighted when CBS offered her the chance in 1950 to star in a new television show based on her radio program, My Favorite Husband. When she proposed casting her husband, Desi Arnaz, as her costar, CBS balked at the idea of pairing Ball with the Cuban-born bandleader. The network relented after the couple agreed to pay for and produce the show’s pilot through their own newly formed company, Desilu Productions. A huge hit with the public when it debuted on CBS in October 1951, I Love Lucy proved to be the perfect showcase for Ball’s comedic talents.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery