• Desi Arnaz was a Cuban-American performer, best known for his role in “I Love Lucy”.
• He was married to Edith Mack Hirsch from 1963-1985, and to Lucille Ball from 1940-1960.
• He received an Emmy for his work on “I Love Lucy”, and a Golden Globe for his achievements in television.
• He was a producer and creator of many popular TV shows and films.
• He died from lung cancer at age 69 in 1986.
Desi Arnaz was one of the greatest performers both on and off the screen, which earned him popularity throughout the world. He is perhaps still best known to the world as Ricky Ricardo in the sitcom “I Love Lucy”, in which he co-starred with Lucille Ball, his then-wife. Desi’s second wife was Edith Mack Hirsch – the two were married from 1963 until her death in 1985.
Biography- Age, Childhood, Education
Edith Mack Hirsch was born on the 15th April 1917 in Illinois USA; growing up was tough for Edith, and education was hard to obtain. Nevertheless, she managed to go to a neighborhood secondary school situated in Illinois.
Desi Arnaz and his second wife Edith Mack Hirsch.
Meeting and Marrying Desi Arnaz
Three years after his divorce from Lucille Ball, Desi and Edith met, and it took them just six months to get married. Desi was so in love that he knew on the spot that she would become his wife, proved correct as the two remained together until she died. During their marriage, Desi had cut down on his career, making only a few appearances such as a Spanish matador, Senor Delgado in the show “The Mothers-in-Law”. They didn’t have children; Edith passed away on the 25th March 1985 in Del Mar, California USA from cancer. Desi died the following year on the 2nd December.
Edith’s husband, Desi Arnaz
Born as Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III on the 2nd March 1917 in Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, the son of Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Alberni II, and his wife Dolores de Acha. While growing up, Desi enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as his family owned ranches, and even a vacation villa on a private island located in Santiago Bay, Cuba. His father, the mayor of Santiago was stripped of his position after the Cuban Revolution of 1933; incarcerated, Alberto Arnaz spent six months in jail during which time the family property was confiscated, and after he was released from jail, the Arnaz family fled to Miami, Florida.
Desi started attending St. Patrick Catholic High School in Miami, and with the English language being a problem for him, he also attended Saint Leo Prep to improve his language skills.
As his family was new in the country, and stripped down from their lavish past, Desi had to find a job to support himself and also provide for the family. Desi started as a canary cage cleaner, but that didn’t last long as he turned to performing arts. He formed a small band of musicians, and was soon hired by Xavier Cugat, at the time the king of Latin music. However, his stint in Cugat’s band didn’t last long either, as he desired to start his own Latin band. Desi became one of the greatest Latin musicians, launching the conga craze in the USA.
He turned completely to show business, and in 1939 secured his first acting appearance, starring in the Broadway musical “Too Many Girls”.
The following year, the entire musical was made into an on-screen film, and it was then that he met his future wife, Lucille Ball. Throughout the ‘40s, Desi was building a name for himself, starring in many films of the decade, including the romantic comedy “Father Takes a Wife” (1941), then “Cuban Pete” (1946), and “Holiday in Havana” (1949).
Rise to Stardom
It was in 1951 that he and Lucille launched their own sitcom, “I Love Lucy”, airing through 1957, and bringing Desi world fame. He won one Primetime Emmy Award for his work on the series, and in 1956 was awarded the Golden Globe for his achievements in television, particularly the American comedy.
He has been credited for inventing many techniques that contribute to the quality of sitcoms which are now taken for granted, including performing in front of a live audience, and re-running of old episodes. Desi remained active until the ‘80s, but following his marriage to Edith, for the better part he remained off the screen, appearing only as a guest star in a couple of episodes of “The Mothers-In-Law” (1967-1968), then in “The Virginian” (1970), “Ironside” in 1974, and starring in the comedy crime-drama film “The Escape Artist” (1982).
In addition to his work as an actor, Desi is also known for producing numerous popular TV series, apart from “I Love Lucy”. Some of the credits include the TV series “Willy”, which ran from 1954 to 1955, then “The Untouchables” (1961-1963), and of course, “The Mothers-In-Law” (1967-1969).
Desi Arnaz Net Worth and Personal Life
At the time of his death, Desi was worth $20 million. His successful career contributed to his wealth in a large part, and his legacy continues to live on.
Before Edith, he was married to Lucille Ball, who was six years older than him.
The couple married on the 30th November 1940 and remained together for 20 years. However, their romance was marred by problems; Lucille was aware of Desi’s infidelities and his alcohol problems, which resulted in separation just four years after their wedding ceremony. Nevertheless, the two reconciled and their romance went on until 1960, welcoming two children along the way, Desi Arnaz Jr. who is also an actor, and Lucie Arnaz, an actress, singer, and producer.
Desi passed away from lung cancer on the 2nd December 1986, 69 years old,; he was a heavy smoker all of his life, smoking Cuban cigars up until his sixties.
Arnaz published an autobiography in which he talked about his affairs and problems with alcohol, among other things. The book is entitled “A Book”, and he was planning on writing the sequel under the title, “Another Book”, however, he passed away before achieving his goal. He was outlived by his mother, who died around two years after his death.