The first person ever to appear on the cover of TV Guide, Desi Arnaz Jr. was not afforded this honor for his film or TV credits, but by virtue of his lineage. The son of television legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Desi Jr. was born by Cesarean section on January 19, 1953--the very same day that his fictional counterpart "Little Ricky" was born on the immensely popular TV show I Love Lucy. So momentous was this event (at least to those people who had TV sets at the time) that it squeezed out the news of Eisenhower's inauguration on the front pages of the nation. When he was old enough to decide that he wanted to earn his celebrity rather than merely enjoy it, Desi helped form the rock band Dino, Desi and Billy with two teen-aged friends, one of whom was the son of Dean Martin. Desi made his acting debut (in a manner of speaking) on I Love Lucy in 1957, learned the rudiments of his craft in small parts on his mother's subsequent The Lucy Show (1962-68), then graduated to "regular" status on Mom's Here's Lucy. His first film appearance was in Red Sky at Morning in 1970. Although most of his films were not first rate, Desi Arnaz Jr.'s best film showing was in 1992's The Mambo Kings, in which he offered an intimidatingly accurate portrayal of Desi Arnaz Sr.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- His birth was one of the most-publicized events in TV history, and even took priority over Eisenhower's inauguration on the front pages of some newspapers.
- In April 1953, appeared on the first cover of TV Guide with his mother, Lucille Ball.
- Made his acting debut on I Love Lucy in 1957.
- Played the drums in the band Dino, Desi and Billy, which also included Dean Martin's son; their songs "I'm a Fool" and "Not the Lovin' Kind" were hit singles in 1965.
- Played his father in the 1992 film The Mambo Kings.
- He and his wife own the Boulder Theater, a cinema that was converted into the home of the Boulder City Ballet Company.