NPR logo Photos: Happy 100th, Lucille Ball

From The Library Of 'Life'

Photos: Happy 100th, Lucille Ball

Saturday marks what would be Lucille Ball's 100th birthday. She is immortalized as Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy, but a few lesser-known facts: She was born Lucille Desiree Hunt; suffered a severe bout of rheumatoid arthritis at age 17; and had a rocky career on stage and in grade B movies before her television stardom.

This never-before-published portrait from 1942 was an outtake in a photo essay about Ball before her television stardom. At the time, she was in the midst of shooting her first major lead in DuBarry Was A Lady. John Florea/LIFE hide caption

toggle caption John Florea/LIFE

This never-before-published portrait from 1942 was an outtake in a photo essay about Ball before her television stardom. At the time, she was in the midst of shooting her first major lead in DuBarry Was A Lady.

John Florea/LIFE

Ball does a comedy bit on the set of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, 1958. Leonard McCombe/LIFE hide caption

toggle caption Leonard McCombe/LIFE

Ball does a comedy bit on the set of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, 1958.

Leonard McCombe/LIFE

Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball pose at the Desilu Studios in 1958. Leonard McCombe/LIFE hide caption

toggle caption Leonard McCombe/LIFE

Of course she was on the radar for Life magazine. And in honor of her birthday, life.com has curated a gallery of never-before-published photos of the actress through the years.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.