Lucille & Desi – a match made for success

Showbiz marriages are rarely what they appear with a Grand Canyon of a gulf between the public image and the private reality. A case in point being Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz who starred in the phenomenally successful 1950s sit-com I Love Lucy as a happily hitched couple. Off screen it was a tempestuous affair with his drinking, gambling and infidelity taking its toll on suburban bliss.

  Together they launched and ran what became the most successful sit-com of all time with 40 million viewers and a long shelf-life after it stopped production. But the snap crackle and pop that made it happen became too much and they divorced as the show ended. Both went on to remarry but stayed friends.

 Being the Ricardos, a recently released Amazon Prime movie, tells the tale of one turbulent week when the show was running.

Lucille Ball was born 6 August 1911 at 5pm Jamestown, New York, with a messed-up childhood, her father dying when she was three and partly brought up by austere grandparents. She started her career modelling, went into B movies and married Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, six years her junior when she was 29. A decade later when her radio show “My Favorite Husband” made the transition to TV, she insisted that Desi be cast as her spouse, considering that they might salvage their marriage if he was working locally, rather than constantly touring with his band.

  He was born 2 March 1917 12.30pm (unverified) Santiago, Cuba.

  Lucille had an intense 8th house Leo Sun, a lucky 10th house Jupiter in money-magnet Scorpio and a 5th house Saturn which all pointed her towards an executive role in the business, running the Desilu studio and other later shows, including Star Trek. Her Sun was square Mars and Saturn in Taurus so she would be tough – and short-tempered; and she also had the generational highly-strung and can-be-fanatical Uranus opposition Neptune. She had her Capricorn Moon on her Ascendant in a possessive opposition to Pluto on the cusp of her 7th – so stormy relationships were hardly a surprise.

  He was a fiery and creative Sun Mars in Pisces widely trine Pluto and Moon in Cancer – so given to emotional extremes himself. His Uranus in a constantly-wandering conjunction to his Venus was opposition her Sun; and worse his Saturn was conjunct her Neptune and opposition her Uranus which would give rise to doubt, suspicion and constant uncertainty; with his Sun Mars in an argumentative opposition to her Mercury.

  One key to their success may have come from his Jupiter in Taurus conjunct Lucille’s North Node.

  Their relationship chart does have a charming, lucky composite Venus trine Mars, sextile Jupiter Uranus. But surprisingly little else.   

11 thoughts on “Lucille & Desi – a match made for success

  1. This somehow brought to mind the marriage of Princess Margaret (Leo) and Lord Snowdon (Pisces). She was definitely the
    boss in that union….imperious and dominant while he was more laid-back and perhaps a little bit subservient. As with the Ball-Arnaz coupling, it ultimately fell apart.

  2. Lucille’s Sun and Mars make close hard aspects to Desi’s BML – powerful wife! Interesting in the 50’s. These relationships can sometimes be hard to let go of, like Moon/Pluto on steroids.

    In the composite, Jupiter/Uranus in Aquarius (broadcasting, television, comedy) at the midpoint apex of the Venus (Juno) trine Mars (Moon), forming a mini-grand trine.
    Chiron/NN in pisces – perhaps indicates troubles, maybe some sort of shared pain that encourages forgiveness?

    In the Davison chart Venus in Gemini sits between the Saturn/Pluto, in a close trine to Jupiter in Aquarius and is out of bounds – a marriage that is culturally enduring, if short in itself and groundbreaking in a way. Also in the Davison the 11th house Uranus in Aquarius is stationary Rx, conjunct Psyche and opposite a 5th house Leo Mars – this also looks groundbreaking in the area of mass entertainment and television.

    • Forgot to add – Saturn/Neptune conjunction in the synastry. I see these aspects in synastry and composite a lot in couples that are very different and come together “despite everything” and like the BML aspects can be very enduring for better or worse. I dismissed it for years as too generational, but I saw it so much in these scenarios I had to rethink.

  3. Sun Leo, Cap moon woman – she’ll want to be in charge. And his chart is mostly wanting to get along and be agreeable with Cancer/Pisces/Aqua planets.

    And their synastry is full of oppositions – their moons … Leo-Aqua … Pisces-Virgo … Jupiters opposite … cap-uranus/can saturn.

    There’s a clear dynamic there. The marriage held together by a cant-live-with-them/can’t-live-without until it broke. Because it really doesn’t have much else.

    • Chemistry between them was so electric that fans are enthralled with the snap, crackle, pop to this day.

      Interesting how a woman to whom power came naturally coped in the 1950’s. Leo sun, Capricorn moon couldn’t choose a partner who would be more powerful. She went for a younger, dynamic man, who had intuitive cleverness and physical magnetism. Her “dumb redhead” was such an act. Was as if she didn’t dare reveal her actual Elizabeth I nature. The comment about cant-live-with-them/cant-live-without says it all. Intense attraction created onscreen charm. The TV world reflected oppositions in their relationship that fascinated viewers.

      I wonder about the staying power of relationships where the woman is the dominant partner. Difficult for an ambitious man to endure? Power is a masculine characteristic. Amazing interaction between those two, but no peace or longevity.

  4. Growing up in the 50’s, I was glued to the TV to watch this show. It also doubled as the daytime babysitter as my mother was working nites, drinking, and having babies.

    Desi was cast as the strong man with all the smarts while Lucy was cast as the redhead ditz. I’ve heard that Nicole Kidman was to be cast as Lucille in a movie remake but I can’t see her pulling it off. SHe’d have to be an absolute natural ditz on the screen for it to be effective.

  5. Thanks for this, Marjorie. Ball and Arnaz were magic as a couple on television.
    Goes to show–once again–how Hollywood is all about illusion.

    • “Hollywood is all about illusion”; on this point, has anybody done a chart for Hollywood itself?

      One could look at the foundation of the township itself, or one could look at the when the first studio moved there.

      Presumably Neptune is somehow highlighted/magnified there.

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