Who is Desi Arnaz?

Desi Arnaz was a legendary actor popularly known for his stunning performance in an American sitcom called I Love Lucy, where he portrayed the character of Ricky Ricardo. Arnaz is also a musician, comedian, producer, and bandleader.

Quick Info
Full nameDesiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III
Date of BirthMarch 2, 1917
Birth PlaceSantiago de Cuba, Cuba
OccupationActor, musician, bandleader, comedian, producer
Spouse(s)Lucille Ball
​​(m. 1940; div. 1960)​
Edith Mack Hirsch
​​(m. 1963; died 1985)
Death DateDecember 2, 1986 (aged 69)

Early life

Desi Arnaz was born on 2nd March of 1917 in Cuba’s second-largest city named Santiago de Cuba. Thus, he belongs to Cuban nationality as well as American. His original name is Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III. He is the son of a Cuban politician named Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Alberni II, who served in the House of Representatives of Cuba. His mother’s name is Dolores de Acha. As for his maternal grandfather, he was the largest owned rum company named Bacardi & Co. So, he grew up in a wealthy family and owned their private island and a couple of mansions until the Cuban Revolution of 1933.

Arnaz and his family moved to Miami of the United States. He joined the private school named St. Patrick Catholic High School when he graduated with a degree in arts from the Catholic arts university located in St. Leo of Florida called Saint Leo Prep. Arnaz.

Before turning into an acting career, he worked at a retail company and later joined his father’s business.

Desi Arnaz

Professional career

Desi Arnaz started to make a name for himself after forming a band named Siboney Septet. He led the bar, and his performance impacted the Spanish bandleader and musician, Xavier Cugat. He was invited by Cugat to perform in the tour, after which Arnaz gained popularity, after which he decided to form Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

He and his band became popular in the clubs, after which he was discovered by the composer and lyricist team partner, Rodgers and Hart. Soon, Arnaz made his Broadway debut by appearing in the musical named Too Many Girls, where he met the love of his life, Lucille Ball. After the musical’s success, he made his film debut the following year by appearing in the movie version of the same musical. Then began his acting career from which he started appearing in different other movies, namely Bataan, in 1943 for which the audience highly praised his performance.

In 1945, Desi Arnaz created another hit orchestra on 16th November and also played it live for the wounded soldiers in Birmingham Hospital. His music was also broadcasted in the radio show named The Pepsodent Show.

In 1951, Arnaz starred in the TV sitcom named I Love Lucy along with his wife. He also made his music for the sitcom. It was premiered on 15th October and became very successful, after which Arnaz and his wife rose to the peak of their career. In 1950, Arnaz opened his own production company named Desilu Productions for which he worked himself as the cameraman and started Multicam style for filming. He also decided to make it happen to live among the audience and record on the other side. It was the new invention of Arnaz, which became the starting point for other TV shows.

Desi Arnaz then started producing and hosting the different types of shows like The Ann Sothern Show, Those Whiting Girls, and many more. He also created a romantic comedy film called Forever, Darling, in 1956 and starred in the movie himself. It was just the beginning of his successful career. He then produced and supported other producers in making different shows after opening his own production company named Desi Arnaz Productions. Arnaz has hosted countless hit shows and produced numerous films and TV series like Mission: Impossible, The Lucy Show, The Mothers-In-Law, and so on.

Desi Arnaz

Personal life

Desi Arnaz got committed to actress Lucille Ball during the 30th November of 1940. They together had a daughter named Lucie Arnaz, born in 1951, and a son named Desi Arnaz Jr., born in 1953, and both of their children chose the acting career following the footsteps of their parents.

Arnaz and his wife had quite an unhappy married life as Arnaz was alcoholic and unfaithful at the same time. He, too, was under the pressure of handling their production company, which he opened with Lucille, Ball, and was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disease called diverticulitis. They eventually got divorced in 1960, and Arnaz tied his knot with another woman named Edith Eyre Arnaz the following year on 2nd March of 1963. This time, he decided not to remain under pressure and dropped the quantity of work in his production company.

Even after their divorce, Desi Arnaz was close to his ex-wife and got close at the end of his time. It is also said that he had written about his love for Lucille was real in his diary. He died of cancer when he was 67 years old in the year 1985. Arnaz also got the chance to play with his grandson together with the love of his life, his ex-wife, before dying.

Desi Arnaz


Even though Desi Arnaz may have died, his legacy remains. His contribution to the film industry and motion pictures is still given credit for which he is honored with 2 Hollywood Walk of Fame stars, of which one is located at 6301 Hollywood Boulevard, and the other lead is at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard.

Arnaz was awarded Golden Globe for Best Television Achievement award in 1956 for his outstanding performance in I Love Lucy, but he never received the Emmy nomination.

In honor of Arnaz and his wife, Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz has been opened in the city of New York called Jamestown. There is also a memorial park in Celoron of New York in honor of his wife, Lucille Ball Memorial Park, where Arnaz’s bandshell is displayed.

I Love Lucy has been recreated and released on 12th July of 2018 and was broadcasted publicly through radio, and various other projects have been conducted as well.

Google celebrated Arnaz’s 102nd birthday through Google doodle on 2nd March of 2019.


Net worth

Desi Arnaz had an estimated net worth of 20 million dollars. He earned all those millions from producing and hosting different shows and movies, and all the more thanks to his production company.