Lucille Ball the Communist: Why the FBI Kept Tabs on the ‘I Love Lucy’ Star

by Jeremy Spirogis
Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball was one of the vital beloved stars of her time. And she continues to be deeply adored today. While Lucy Ricardo bought as much as all types of hi-jinx in I Love Lucy, Ball lived a comparatively quiet life. But the actor did increase a couple of eyebrows in 1953 when she discovered herself concerned in an investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee the place she admitted that she’d registered to vote as a Communist in 1936.

Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball | Gene Lester/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Why Lucille Ball registered to vote as a Communist

During the 1953 investigation, Ball admitted that she had certainly registered as a Communist in 1936. But she stated she solely did so to appease her ailing socialist grandfather. She stated she was by no means really an lively member of the celebration.

The committee forgave her and Ball’s thousands and thousands of followers, in addition to CBS, understood. So everybody moved on. Everyone besides J. Edgar Hoover.

The FBI continued to regulate Lucille Ball

According to a 1989 Washington Post article, The FBI director continued to gather proof about Ball. Though, the FBI claims it by no means formally investigated her.

The Post obtained the FBI’s secret file on Ball and her then-husband, Desi Arnaz. In the file, there are memos which can be marked “confidential” and addressed to Hoover with the memo, “pursuant to your request.”

The FBI’s findings embrace The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper, alleging in 1951 that Ball was on an inventory of celebrities that had, at one time, “been vocal in their opposition to [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy but then later kept their mouths shut.”

In 1946, Arnaz carried out in a present sponsored by the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, a company the FBI claimed was a communist entrance. Information relating to Arnaz’s look was included within the file.

Additionally, in 1973, a Hollywood author stated they attended a Communist Party membership assembly at Ball’s home. But Ball wasn’t there.

J. Edgar Hoover referred to as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz a few of his ‘favorite stars’

In Hoover’s requested file on Ball and Arnaz’s doable involvement within the Communist celebration, he additionally stored a clipping of an Associated Press article about Arnaz being arrested in 1959 for public drunkenness. The Post notes that “Hoover was notorious for collecting ammunition against his enemies to use for future face-offs.”

It’s no secret that Hoover wasn’t a fan of The Untouchables, a collection produced by Ball and Arnaz’s Desilu Studios that praised Treasury agent Eliot Ness for accomplishments achieved by the FBI. The Post reviews that Hoover “had his G-men monitor the show for mistakes.”

And but, in a 1956 interview, Hoover stated that Ball and Arnaz made his listing of “favorite stars.”

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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One of Hoover’s followers didn’t admire the FBI director’s interview reply and wrote him a letter telling him so. The letter is included within the file.

“I’m wondering if there is not a mistake or misquote of some kind since it lists Lucy and Desi among your favorite entertainers who you think set a good example for the youth of America,” learn the letter.

Of course, today, Ball will not be remembered for her involvement in McCarthy’s communist witch hunt, however her contribution to the world of leisure. She died on April 26, 1989. Her demise was felt world wide.

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