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

Photos: Happy 100th, Lucille Ball

by Claire O'Neill
Aug 5, 2011

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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. LIFE Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball pose at the Desilu Studios in 1958.

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Claire O'Neill

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.

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.

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