Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III was born in 1917 to a family of wealthy Cuban landowners. In 1933, Desi and his father fled to Miami.
Desi started working with the Xavier Cugat band in 1937 and later put together his own rumba band. In 1940, he appeared in both the stage and movie versions of Too Many Girls
. He met Lucille Ball on the set and they immediately hit it off; they married in November 1940. Their matrimony was subject to the conflicting requirements of Desi's bandleader career and Lucy's movie career. When the couple came up with the idea for a TV series, they fought to do it together.
In the summer of 1950 Lucy and Desi went on tour, performing for live audiences to prove whether Desi was believable as Lucy's husband. Early in 1951 the couple produced a pilot with their total savings of $5,000. The rest, of course, is television history.
Desi parlayed the $5,000 into millions in just four years. He convinced the show's sponsor, Philip Morris, that Lucy having a baby on the air would be a publicity bonanza -- and he was right. The filmed birth of Little Ricky in 1953 drew 44 million viewers, and the story made headlines from coast to coast. While a successful executive at Desilu Productions, Desi also produced December Bride
, Make Room for Daddy
, Our Miss Brooks
, The Untouchables
After Lucy and Desi divorced in 1960, Desi continued in show business, producing several shows and making cameo appearances on TV. Desi also wrote an autobiography, owned a successful horse breeding farm, was a professor at San Diego State University, and was appointed ambassador to Latin America under President Nixon. He died in 1986.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Ricky Ricardo is a music aficionado. He begins his career as a drummer, but after marrying Lucy, he gets a job as bandleader at the Tropicana Club. He eventually buys the club and renames it Club Babalu. Ricky and Lucy often squabble about her many attempts to get into his show, which often leads to him ranting and raving in Spanish. When Ricky is offered a part in a movie, he, Lucy and the Mertzes take off for sunny California -- but the film never comes to fruition. Ricky is close friends with Fred, and the two of them often marvel at their wives' plotting, though they often team up to play tricks on them as revenge.