People, Places and Events on Stamps

Desi Arnaz

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The I Love Lucy stamp was issued as part of the Commemorate the Century: 1950's issue on May 26, 1999.

Cuban bandleader and actor Desi Arnaz, born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz III, fled his native Santiago, Cuba, with his family after a revolution in 1933. After working briefly for Cuban band leader Xavier Cugat in New York, Arnaz returned to Miami, where he introduced the "Conga Line." It was such a hit that Arnaz returned to New York to start his own band.

He was offered a role in the 1939 Broadway musical "Too Many Girls" and later starred in the film version. He met his future wife Lucille Ball there. During his two years of Army service during World War II, he entertained the troops. After that, he served as orchestra leader on Bob Hope’s radio show from 1946 to 1947. In 1949, Ball and Arnaz co-founded Desilu Productions to run "I Love Lucy", a television comedy series that ran for six years on CBS and became the most successful television program in history.