This past Saturday, December 2nd marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Desi Arnaz. He died just 3 years before Lucy of lung cancer.
Desi was born as Desidario Alberto Arnaz ye de Acha the Third in Santiago, Cuba on March 2, 1917. His father was the mayor of Santiago. The 1933 Batista revolution had landed his father in jail and as well stripped Desi's family of wealth, property and power. His father was released mostly because the U.S. officials believed him to be neutral during the revolt. The family fled to Miami, Florida.
One of Desi's first jobs in America consisted of cleaning canary cages. However, after forming his own small band of musicians, he was hired by Xavier Cugat, the "king of Latin music. Desi soon left Cugat, and formed his own Latin band and literally launched the conga craze in America.
Desi was cast in the Broadway play "Too Many Girls, " which as well brought Desi to Hollywood to make the film version of the play. It was on the set of "Too Many Girls" that Desi and Lucille Ball met. They were married on November 30th, 1940 and approximately ten years later they formed Desilu Productions and soon began I Love Lucy.