November 19, 2011

Lucille Ball's Wedding Anniversary

Today would have Lucille Ball's Wedding Anniversary to Gary Morton. Although her first marriage to Desi Arnaz is better known, that marriage actually lasted less then Ball's second marriage.

Lucille Ball and producer Gary Morton, were married in 1961 in New York City. In 1960, Morton met Ball in New York City a few months before she opened on Broadway in the musical "Wildcat." They were married at the Marble Collegiate Church. Morton served as executive producer of Ball's third series "Here's Lucy" and was a co-executive producer of her ill-fated 1986 series "Life With Lucy." The couple was married for more than 27 years when Lucille Ball died in 1989.

In 1961, Lucille Ball did a musical on Broadway, Wildcat, co-starring Paula Stewart. That marked the beginning of a thirty-year friendship between Lucy and Paula Stewart, who introduced her to second husband Gary Morton, a Borscht Belt stand-up comic who was thirteen years her junior. Morton claimed he had never seen an episode of I Love Lucy due to his hectic work schedule. Ball immediately installed Morton in her production company, teaching him the television business and eventually promoting him to producer. Morton also played occasional bit parts on Ball's various series.

Lucy is better known for her first marriage to Desi Arnaz. They were divorced on May 4, 1960, just two months after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Until his death in 1986, however, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other. They were first married November 30, 1940 at the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. They met in 1940 while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. At first, Arnaz was not fond of Lucy. When they met again later that day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year. They filed for a divorce in 1944 but shortly after Ball obtained an interlocutory decree of divorce, she reconciled with Arnaz.

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