Happy Birthday to Desi Arnaz

December 2, 1917, is the birthday of Desi Arnaz, famed as the Cuban-American bandleader Ricky Ricardo on the popular TV comedy, “I Love Lucy”.  Red-headed Lucille Ball played his wife.  Reportedly, CBS executives were initially reluctant to portray Arnaz as Ball’s husband, saying that a North American audience would not accept the scandalous idea of all-American Lucy being married to a Cuban. (Whoa!  There goes the neighborhood.) This reluctance was despite the fact that Lucy and Desi were married in real life. The CBS executives eventually got over it, and the hugely popular show ran from October 1951 to May 1957.  Spin-offs were later launched. For more on Arnaz’s impact on the average American’s perception of Latinos, please visit NPR.

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