The Davenport & Company Lecture
When on a September evening in 1951 Lucille Ball stepped before an audience to film the first episode of her new television program, no one who was present – including the actress herself – suspected that history was about to be made. But on that September night, the star she was destined to be was finally born. For millions of television viewers, and for years to come, Lucille would in effect become her greatest creation, Lucy Ricardo. While that role revealed her true gifts, it changed her life immeasurably, and the remarkable individual who was Lucille Ball slowly began to be obscured in the shadows of Lucy.
Kathleen Brady looked beyond the all-too-familiar image of the star who dominated television for two decades to reveal the woman behind the icon. From her childhood, when her virtual abandonment instilled in her a relentless drive for love and attention, through her struggling early years in vaudeville and Hollywood, through her troubled relationship with Desi Arnaz, which became the basis for one of television’s most famous marriages, Lucille vividly recounts the story of this passionate, vulnerable, and often fiercely demanding woman.
Speaker: Kathleen Brady
Kathleen Brady is a past co-director of the Biography Seminar at New York University and a former reporter for Time Magazine. She was named a Fellow of the Society of American Historians for her biography Ida Tarbell: Portrait of a Muckraker (1984). Her critically well-received biography of Lucille Ball titled Lucille, The Life of Lucille Ball was published in late 1994 and is currently in its fifth printing.
Brady was featured on the American Masters PBS special about Lucille Ball and narrated the first installment of the 1993 PBS series "The Prize." She also appears on the A&E Biography of the Rockefeller family. The 1994 ABC-TV movie, "A Passion for Justice," starring Jane Seymour, was based on Brady's research into the life of Mississippi journalist and civil rights activist Hazel Brannon Smith.