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Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple

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After eight years on the air, Desi Arnaz did not love Lucy any more. On screen, they were dynamite—a comedy pairing more successful than any Hollywood had ever produced. But when the cameras stopped rolling, they fought, screamed and threatened each other more each season. Finally, an argument in Desi’s production office turned violent. Lucy hurled a cocktail glass past hi After eight years on the air, Desi Arnaz did not love Lucy any more. On screen, they were dynamite—a comedy pairing more successful than any Hollywood had ever produced. But when the cameras stopped rolling, they fought, screamed and threatened each other more each season. Finally, an argument in Desi’s production office turned violent. Lucy hurled a cocktail glass past his head, and Desi demanded a divorce. He moved out that night. After nearly twenty years, America’s favorite couple was finished. When they first got married, no one in Hollywood thought it would last six months. Lucille Ball’s acting career was on the skids, and Arnaz was just another Cuban bandleader. But together, their irresistible chemistry produced one of the greatest television empires of all time, and a love story as passionate as it was explosive.


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After eight years on the air, Desi Arnaz did not love Lucy any more. On screen, they were dynamite—a comedy pairing more successful than any Hollywood had ever produced. But when the cameras stopped rolling, they fought, screamed and threatened each other more each season. Finally, an argument in Desi’s production office turned violent. Lucy hurled a cocktail glass past hi After eight years on the air, Desi Arnaz did not love Lucy any more. On screen, they were dynamite—a comedy pairing more successful than any Hollywood had ever produced. But when the cameras stopped rolling, they fought, screamed and threatened each other more each season. Finally, an argument in Desi’s production office turned violent. Lucy hurled a cocktail glass past his head, and Desi demanded a divorce. He moved out that night. After nearly twenty years, America’s favorite couple was finished. When they first got married, no one in Hollywood thought it would last six months. Lucille Ball’s acting career was on the skids, and Arnaz was just another Cuban bandleader. But together, their irresistible chemistry produced one of the greatest television empires of all time, and a love story as passionate as it was explosive.

30 review for Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    The author makes a statement to the effect that ‘I Love Lucy’ worked so well because Lucy had the ability to give the impression of the order of sanity in the beginning of the show and by the end of the show the disorder leading to apparent insanity was accepted because the beginning of the episodes established order had been laid down which gave a ground to the chaos that ensued (Lucy stomping grapes, working in chocolate factory, or freezing in a freezer, e.g.. The writers knew what the end po The author makes a statement to the effect that ‘I Love Lucy’ worked so well because Lucy had the ability to give the impression of the order of sanity in the beginning of the show and by the end of the show the disorder leading to apparent insanity was accepted because the beginning of the episodes established order had been laid down which gave a ground to the chaos that ensued (Lucy stomping grapes, working in chocolate factory, or freezing in a freezer, e.g.. The writers knew what the end point was going to be and provided the plausibility in order to make the implausible all the more funny!). Each of our lives have an inauthenticity brought on by the paradoxes of our existence which makes our stay on this planet all the more pleasurable if we too see our predicament as if we were watching a rerun of ‘I Love Lucy’ and are best served by accepting the insanity of our situation because there is some sanity that grounds it, even though we don’t always know that we know what it might be, but we are best served if we act as if we knew. This book was Hollywood name dropping at its best. I loved the connections that were brought out in the story of Lucy and Desi. One of the few things I’m an expert on is old movies. I know all the players from the old movies, but often I am not aware of the off screen connections. This book connected a lot of stars and directors and the time period together for me (I’d be really hard pressed to come up with a list of star names that weren’t mentioned in this book. Let me see, I think the book didn’t mention Lew Ayers, but it did prominently mention Ginger Rogers his wife multiple times through the story). I didn’t realize that Lucy’s (and some of Desi’s) connections ran so deep within the Hollywood community. One doesn’t even need to be a fan of Lucy and Desi to enjoy this book (I am of course), because there was a story about trying to make it in Hollywood in the 30s and then ultimately developing a media powerhouse and then the ultimate fading into the background that can appeal to all readers. Also, the marriage itself: what a complex relationship and fascinating in itself even if you had never heard of the players you would find that part of the story worth reading for itself. The reader gets a love story, a history of Hollywood, the creation of an entertainment business, a story of the most influential of the early TV shows, and a whole lot of Hollywood stars from the 30s and 40s popping in and out of the story. Not a bad listen overall and I bet you didn’t know vibrations in Lucy’s fillings led to the discovery of a Japanese spy in California during the war or that Lionel Barrymore fell asleep in a cottage of Lucy and Desi with a cigarette in his mouth and burned down the cottage while only being narrowly evacuated from the fire just in the neck of time?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debra Belmudes

    Oh my, I am in tears. What a wonderfully nostalgic look back at Hollywood history and the truth about the behind-the-scene lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz ... I had no idea!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    I rarely give a 5 star "amazing" rating to a book but this one deserved it. This was a delicious read and a true delight to revel in. I was so sad when it ended. Who doesn't love Lucy? The writer did a great job laying out their lives and drawing you into them. This WAS their life and knowing it wasn't what was portrayed on televison made for wicked and delightful reading. I couldn't wait for the next chapter at the same time I was counting the pages hoping it never ended. It's rare I find a boo I rarely give a 5 star "amazing" rating to a book but this one deserved it. This was a delicious read and a true delight to revel in. I was so sad when it ended. Who doesn't love Lucy? The writer did a great job laying out their lives and drawing you into them. This WAS their life and knowing it wasn't what was portrayed on televison made for wicked and delightful reading. I couldn't wait for the next chapter at the same time I was counting the pages hoping it never ended. It's rare I find a book that makes me feel the way this one did so I have no problem with the high ranking I am giving this one. If you Love Lucy, if you are a fan of the show, IF you really want to know the true story of their lives...read this book. It puts it all out there and I ask nothing more than that of a book. Highly recommend!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Jones

    Lots of great stories, but needs editing for typo errors This book contains many amazing facts and stories about both Lucy and Desi, from birth to death! Covering Desi's privileged upbringing in Cuba to the political turmoil which brought his now-destitute family to the United States, his is a fascinating tale. Equally fascinating is Lucy's life, her many attempts at fame from Broadway to Hollywood, and support of her family. Receiving significant treatment as well are the stories of their tumultuo Lots of great stories, but needs editing for typo errors This book contains many amazing facts and stories about both Lucy and Desi, from birth to death! Covering Desi's privileged upbringing in Cuba to the political turmoil which brought his now-destitute family to the United States, his is a fascinating tale. Equally fascinating is Lucy's life, her many attempts at fame from Broadway to Hollywood, and support of her family. Receiving significant treatment as well are the stories of their tumultuous relationship, the Desilu studio, and their desire for children which almost never came true. The main issue is a need for editing. Extraneous hyphens, gross misspellings, and formatting errors made for great distraction during reading. Otherwise, a wonderful book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Warren G. Harris gives a detailed look into the professional and personal lives of legendary television icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Beginning from their childhood and transitioning into the story of their lives working in show business, falling in love, getting a divorce, and lives after their marriage and sitcom, "I Love Lucy," had ended. It is told through a third party narrative as Harris gathered information from co-workers, friends, family, and television archives that can give as tr Warren G. Harris gives a detailed look into the professional and personal lives of legendary television icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Beginning from their childhood and transitioning into the story of their lives working in show business, falling in love, getting a divorce, and lives after their marriage and sitcom, "I Love Lucy," had ended. It is told through a third party narrative as Harris gathered information from co-workers, friends, family, and television archives that can give as true an interpretation as can be. It is a heart-breaking story about Lucy and Desi's struggles in show business and marriage that takes a look into America's favorite couple and how they revolutionized the TV industry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Lee

    This is a long, long book. If you are a fan of Lucy, you will probably enjoy it - but it does prattle on about every bit of minutia in the industry. It also leaves out details of the few juicy bits it teases you with. A really big annoyance are the typos - there were at least a half dozen occurrences of "7 Love Lucy" for example. Pretty basic proof-reading if you ask me. Good enough for vacation reading but not recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Great bio of two legends who, more than anyone else, ushered in the television age (as well as women in comedy and minorities in Hollywood production). Lucy may be far more iconic but Desi was just as influential behind the scenes. His company, Desilu, was the biggest TV production company in the 1950's and ultimately became Paramount TV, so the next time you watch Star Trek, thank Desi.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I grew up watching Lucy & Desi (or was it Lucy & Ricky?) so reading this book was a no-brainer. It contained a lot of interesting info that I never knew before. And it seemed a little long but perhaps I've just been busy lately. I'm just sorry that they both suffered with so much unhappiness. More proof that success and wealth are not everything. I grew up watching Lucy & Desi (or was it Lucy & Ricky?) so reading this book was a no-brainer. It contained a lot of interesting info that I never knew before. And it seemed a little long but perhaps I've just been busy lately. I'm just sorry that they both suffered with so much unhappiness. More proof that success and wealth are not everything.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandy James

    Solid biography. I loved reading it on my Kindle so I could pop to youtube when a particular scene from I Love Lucy was mentioned so I could refresh my memory on that particular episode. Great read for nostalgia fans.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pat McKinney

    Never Ending Book Started out okay, but after reading about a third of the book I started feeling like I was reading an encyclopedia. Just written down facts about what movie star was in what movie, but nothing very interesting. There was nothing there that made me want to finish the book. I’m certain there was more of the same, but it just seemed to go on forever. When I was younger, I would plug along until the very end (thinking it would get better). It never did, then I would be mad because I Never Ending Book Started out okay, but after reading about a third of the book I started feeling like I was reading an encyclopedia. Just written down facts about what movie star was in what movie, but nothing very interesting. There was nothing there that made me want to finish the book. I’m certain there was more of the same, but it just seemed to go on forever. When I was younger, I would plug along until the very end (thinking it would get better). It never did, then I would be mad because I wasted all that time on a crappy book. I am bailing on this one because there are a lot of wonderful and interesting nonfiction books out there just waiting to be read. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I am conflicted on this read...it was well written and easy read. I am a huge I Love Lucy fan which I am slowly realizing is different than being a Lucille Ball fan. Two different women. It is easy to sink into the world of I Love Lucy and realize its fake...for television. That was definitely not Lucille Ball's life. I highly respect her work in a predominantly "men's" world at that time. She was one tough classy lady but I think I was more drawn to the characters and life in I Love Lucy. So wh I am conflicted on this read...it was well written and easy read. I am a huge I Love Lucy fan which I am slowly realizing is different than being a Lucille Ball fan. Two different women. It is easy to sink into the world of I Love Lucy and realize its fake...for television. That was definitely not Lucille Ball's life. I highly respect her work in a predominantly "men's" world at that time. She was one tough classy lady but I think I was more drawn to the characters and life in I Love Lucy. So what am I trying to say....if your interested in Lucille Ball and her life before, during and after I Love Lucy...good read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I really enjoyed this book. It very interesting to learn more about their collective pasts and then together. The only real downfall I felt, was that none of the movies or TV shows mentioned were ever italicized, underlined, bolded, quoted or anything. It made the whole continuity of the book suffer. Also as a reader who didn't watch "I Love Lucy" live, some events, persons, etc., were mentioned with no other background information as the reader was already supposed to know them. I constantly fe I really enjoyed this book. It very interesting to learn more about their collective pasts and then together. The only real downfall I felt, was that none of the movies or TV shows mentioned were ever italicized, underlined, bolded, quoted or anything. It made the whole continuity of the book suffer. Also as a reader who didn't watch "I Love Lucy" live, some events, persons, etc., were mentioned with no other background information as the reader was already supposed to know them. I constantly felt the need to google or imdb certain actors, movies, TV shows, so I could actually completely understand the context. Overall though, would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to know the history of the show its famous couple.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Some interesting discussion about the rise of Desilu and a good timeline of the key events in Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's life, but not too many insights about what drove these unique characters to excel in show business. Author Warren G. Harris also skims over some details. For example, several times toward the end of the book, he refers to Lucy's cousin Cleo as a "near sister," yet he never ties her into Lucy's life, apart from mentioning her living with their grandparents as a child. Althou Some interesting discussion about the rise of Desilu and a good timeline of the key events in Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's life, but not too many insights about what drove these unique characters to excel in show business. Author Warren G. Harris also skims over some details. For example, several times toward the end of the book, he refers to Lucy's cousin Cleo as a "near sister," yet he never ties her into Lucy's life, apart from mentioning her living with their grandparents as a child. Although this is an interesting and easy-to-read book, a little more depth would have been welcome.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Already a fan of Lucy I have been such a fan of Lucille Ball for many years but never realized the struggle she endured to achieve what she did. I liked the way this book followed both Lucy and Desi through their early lives and to their deaths. It followed their coming together and growing their dynasty and also their ultimate separation and later years. It was very objectively written without much opinion and strong factual support.

  15. 5 out of 5

    vdubrock

    This reminded me of my youth watching television. It is now 2018 and I'm 69 years old. I remember watching Lucy and Desi on TV with my parents. In the pages of this book I relived Lucille's antics on TV. And remembered much of her life that played on the edge of my growing up. I enjoyed learning the rest of the story. Thank you Mr. Harris for putting her life on paper for us all to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Interesting read I remember seeing reruns of "I Love Lucy" on TV all the time growing up. I didn't like the later Lucille Ball shows much, but the ones with Lucy and Desi are still a hoot. It was interesting to read about their real life romance and individual personalities. For all their problems, they come across as caring, decent people.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Walker

    A behind the scenes of Lucy and Desi Although I Love Lucy takes up a big chunk of this narrative, there is so much background on the lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I learned a lot about the film and television industry, who Lucy and Desi were in the real world, and all the supporting players that made it all possible. I recommend this if you were a fan of the show

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat Rocha

    This show was a huge part of my childhood. I loved to watch it when I got home from school on Channel 11 in Los Angeles. This book is incredibly inspiring. Even though they were not the perfect couple, Lucy and Desi had an amazing relationship that lasted well past their divorce. No matter what obstacles were thrown at them, they were able to over come them and build an empire and a legacy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Smith

    I thought this was a wonderful, honest telling of two well-known entertainer's lives, without it being too sappy, too harsh or too scandalous. It came across as factual and yet was entertaining throughout. For those who "LOVED LUCY" or for those who enjoy biographies, I highly recommend this!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Enjoyed the book but could be much better. It was am interesting account of there lives together but came off a bit cold. I enjoyed reading the facts of there lives but wished for more feelings and personal stories. Makes me long to read more about them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Sears

    I love Lucy I really enjoyed this book. I am a Lucy fan and this really helped me understand the history of Lucy and Desi. I was actually sad to reach the end of the book. Great read and recommended for anyone who loves Lucy!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara B

    Great book Loved this book. If you are are a fan of Lucy and desi this is a must read. Takes you behind the scenes and their early lives and what it took to get them on the I love lucy . a must. Read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Interesting read. As a huge fan of I Love Lucy I found this book to be interesting and informative. Learning more about each of the four main actors/actresses was a highlight of the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susy

    I'll always Love Lucy ❤️ I felt that this book was real. It showed the real lives, including love and struggle, of Lucy and Desi and all that they endured through their lives together and beyond.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Baron

    So well written, I couldn't stop reading! This book is filled with wonderful stories and it flows so beautifully that I was often moved to tears. Just one of the best celebrity bios ever.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Green

    Eye opening Hollywood has always been what you have to do when you want to get ahead. Just no one spoke about it. Interesting how much our tv today is because of Desi and Lucy Arnez.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joy Marie

    I loved Lucy Good story on their lives and how she started in the movie business, strong woman and very loving, I loved watching her shows when I was young, it is amazing to read her story and be reminded that she was a person with real personal issues.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Winton

    Full of details I never knew! Good read. I learned a lot about the lives of Desi and Lucy and characters surrounding them. Sometimes there were rabbit trails in thoughts or ideas, but overall a good read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Fantastic I first read the book that was Lucy's journal, and just loved it but of course it didn't tell the whole story. This was very detailed and covered everything. I would recommend it to everyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mekerei

    I watched "I Love Lucy" and "The Lucy Show" when I was young. I was interested in knowing more about Lucy. This was an interesting insight on Lucy and Desi's life. Lots of information of their volatile life and Lucy's screen history. Three and a half stars.

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