Here's the advice Lucille Ball gave to aspiring actors and entertainers
During the 1960s, it seemed as though every producer, director and agent in Hollywood was attempting to find their version of a "Lucille Ball." This meant someone who was independent, goal-oriented, hilarious and someone who would make their ratings skyrocket.
The "Lucille Ball" type took the country by storm — but here was the problem: There was no one like her. Ball was a breath of fresh air and she did what she wanted — something that many female entertainers hadn't been able to do prior.
Her success was unparalleled as a star in all phases of the entertainment business. From that landmark evening on October 15, 1951, when CBS premiered I Love Lucy to now, Ball never really left our television screens.
To understand the success of Ball, it's better if we got to know her a little bit. In a 1955 interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Ball said that she attributed all of her success to one simple thing: hard work.
In fact, that is the advice she gave to all newcomers who asked her how to make it big in the business.
"I know it sounds rather easy and simple to tell an eager youngster to get out and work hard," Ball said. "They get a lot of advice like that from parents. But show business is not different than any other business. If you want to reach the top, you've got to start somewhere near the bottom. Learn to be a good listener and remember what you learn."
Of course, Ball had something to say to those who believe that "making it in the business" was all about luck, and/or who they knew.
"Luck sometimes plays a part in everyone's career, but you can't rely on it," Ball said. "Even if fortune did place you in an advantageous position would you be prepared to deliver? I like busy people who know their capabilities and use them at the proper time."
Ball also said she considered it necessary for an aspiring performer to be able to communicate with other actors and exchange ideas and philosophies.
"When I was a youngster my family taught me that you get out of life what you put into it," Ball said. "Be selfish about your time. Don't waste it. Don't let a party or a good time dilute your effectiveness on the job."
According to the interview, early in her career, Ball said she felt a great sense of insecurity while around other seasoned performers. She was worried they would find her personality to be flat, or that she would have no poise.
Over the years Ball managed to shape her hardships into something greater... and hilarious. Her ability to grasp a situation or scene and transform it into something new is one of the many reasons fans became hooked.
She also developed the ability to do remarkable, realistic and startling impressions of other performers and people from pop culture.
Milt Josefsberg was a writer on The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, All in the Family and a few others. He, like the rest of the world, fell in love with Ball's unique style. He said after awhile he no longer questioned Lucy on if she was capable of meeting the demands of certain scripts.
"Since I've been on the show, Lucy has wrestled a bear, played with a porpoise and single-handedly wrecked an entire motion picture set," Josefsberg said. "Yet, when she is earthbound, she's peerless when it comes to timing and delivery."
Ball went on to be one of the greatest comedians of our time, the president of Desilu-Productions, a wife, a mom and an inspiration to many of the comedians we see today. Like Lucy said, it takes hard work.
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