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Lucille Ball - Career & Financial Facts

lucille ball career and financial facts1. In the 1920s Lucille Ball's mother used the "envelope system" when it came to budgeting money. Each week she set aside $1.25 for insurance, $4 for a new clothes washer, and $2 for a new set of porch furniture. Page 23 Source

2. When Lucy was about 11 she returned some amber beads she found at the scene of a car accident. Her honesty was rewarded with an exciting gift: a real gold wristwatch. Perhaps her honesty was a reflection of the fact she was a Girl Scout! Page 25 Source  Source

3. 13 year old Lucy had a summer job as a short order cook at a hamburger stand. Two years later she worked at an ice cream stand in the park. Page 30 Source

4. When she was 15 Lucille Ball and her friend put on a play at school. They charged 25 cents per ticket and made $25, which they gave to the 9th grade class for a party. Page 34 Source

5. Lucy's second modeling job was at Hattie Carnegie's dress shop where she was paid $35.00 per week to model dresses and coats. Page 54 Source

6. In 1931 Lucy was living in New York and earned $40.00 per week posing for cigarette and coffee ads. She shared a room with a friend and they paid $18 a week for it. What kind of neighborhood did they live in? A bullet once ricocheted through the window during a gangster gunfight outside. The bullet punctured the unoccupied bathtub and water drained out, flooding the room below it. Page 65 Source

7. While working as a showgirl in New York at the age of 17 Lucy woke up one day to discover she was down to her last 4 pennies. Subway fare to work was 5 cents, so she panhandled for another penny. However, she was extremely lucky because someone handed her a $10 bill! Page 49 Source

8. Lucille Ball worked as a dress shop clerk and a Walgreens soda jerk. She later got a job modeling coats and was paid $25 a week. Page 52-53 Source

9. In 1933 Lucy was hired to work in a movie (Roman Sandals), because she was becoming a well-known poster girl. The producer of the movie was Sam Goldwyn and Lucy was paid $125 a week for six weeks (but the job stretched into 6 months). Page 70 Source

10. After Roman Sandals she was offered a stock contract at Columbia that would pay her $75.00 a week. Every pay day she went to the bank and made a deposit into her "survival account"! Unfortunately, she was laid off soon afterwards. Page 80 Source

11. After being laid off from Columbia, Lucy was immediately hired by RKO studios for $50 a week and began working in the movie Roberta. A few months later she was given a raise to $75.00 a week. (Katherine Hepburn was being paid $2,000.00 a week!) Page 93 Source

12. A tree once fell on Lucy's Studebaker and it cost her $400 to get it fixed. Lucy most likely did not have car insurance at this point. Car insurance was a relatively new idea. Get a history of car insurance here. Source

13. In the late 1930s Lucy was working non-stop and gained a good reputation. As she took on more roles she was given more pay increases. She went from a contract paying $50 a week to a contract that was paying her $1,000 a week (for 40 weeks a year) in 1939. She also was living in a $1,300 a month apartment. Page 111 Source

14. Where did Lucy's wedding ring come from? The Woolworth's five and ten discount store! Having decided to get married on the spur of the moment Desi Arnaz sent friends to buy the ring on his behalf. No jewelry stores were open so the friends went to Woolworth and bought a brass wedding band. Desi was extremely unhappy with the ring, but Lucy loved it. Source The home Lucy quickly bought after her marriage to Desi cost $16,900. They paid a $1,500 down payment and got a ten year mortgage. Page 138 Source

15. Lucy once won $18,000 playing craps in Las Vegas. She immediately got a cashiers check, sent it to her financial manager, and invested it. Page 140 Source

16. When they married Lucy and Desi kept separate financial accounts. Maybe that was a good idea because at one point Desi owed the IRS $30,000 in back taxes. They each contributed equally to the household expenses and paid for their own individual purchases. Their business manager handled and invested their money. They were each given $25 pocket money each week. Source

17. In 1942 Lucy signed a new contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM Studios) and received a pay raise to $1,500 a week. By 1945 she would be making $3,500 a week. In 1950 Lucy earned $85,000 for her role in The Magic Carpet which took 5 days to film. Page 155/198 Source

18.
Lucy paid $2,000 to divorce Desi in 1944, but even after paying the lawyer fees she decided to try to make her marriage work again. The fees were obviously non-refundable. Source

19. In 1957 Lucy and Desi signed a $12 million contract with Westinghouse to do a series of I Love Lucy monthly specials. Later on in the year they would sell all 179 episodes of I Love Lucy back to CBS for $5 million.  Source

20. In 1962 Lucy bought out Desi's interest in Desilu Studios for $3 million and became the first female president of a major television studio. Source

More Facts and Sources
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Andrew Carnegie   Barack Obama   Bill Cosby   Bill Clinton  Charlie Chaplin  Dick Van Dyke  Duncan Hines  Elvis Presley  
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