Lucille Ball the Communist: Why the FBI Kept Tabs on the ‘I Love Lucy’ Star

Lucille Ball was one of the most popular stars of her time. And she is still very popular today. While Lucy Ricardo got up all sorts of hi-jinx inside I Love Lucy, Ball had a very quiet life. But the actress caught a few eyes in 1953 when she found herself involved in an inquiry by the House ‘s Non – American Activities Committee where she admitted to registering to vote Communist in 1936.

Ball Lucille
Ball Lucille | Gene Lester Images / Archive / Getty Images

Why Lucille registered a Member to vote as a Communist

During the 1953 investigation, a Member admitted that she had in fact registered as a Communist in 1936. But she said that she did so only for her sick socialist grandfather. She said she was never an active member of the party.

The committee forgave her and millions of Member supporters, as well as CBS. So everyone moved on. All but J. Edgar Hoover.

The FBI continued to monitor Ball Lucille

According to 1989 Washington Post article, The FBI director continued to gather evidence about Ball. However, the FBI says it has never officially investigated it.

The Post found the FBI’s secret file on Ball and her then-husband, Desi Arnaz. In the file, there are memos that are marked “secret” and sent to Hoover by the memo, “according to your request. “

The FBI’s findings include The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper, claiming that in 1951 a Member was on a list of celebrities who, at one time, “had been vocal. the face [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy but then kept their mouths shut. ”

In 1946, Arnaz performed in a show sponsored by the Hollywood Independent Arts, Sciences and Professionals Citizens’ Committee, a body alleged by the FBI to be anti-communist. Information regarding Arnaz’s appearance was included in the file.

Additionally, in 1973, a Hollywood writer reported that they had attended a Communist Party membership meeting at Ball House. But there was no Member.

J. Edgar Hoover named Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz some of his ‘favorite stars’

In the file Hoover asked Ball and Arnaz to join the Communist party, he also kept a clipping of an Associated Press article about Arnaz ‘s 1959 arrest for drunkenness. The Post notes that “Hoover was well known for gathering weapons to use his enemies for future transplants.”

It’s no secret that Hoover didn’t follow much The Untouchables, a series produced by Ball and Arnaz’s Desilu Studios that praised Finance representative Eliot Ness for achievements accomplished by the FBI. The Post reports that Hoover “his G-men were monitoring the show for errors. ”

And yet, in a 1956 interview, Hoover said that Ball and Arnaz made the list of their “favorite stars.”

Ball Lucille and Desi Arnaz Earl Leaf / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

One of Hoover ‘s fans did not appreciate the FBI director’ s interview response and wrote him a letter stating that. The letter is in the file.

“I ask if there is no mistake or injustice of some sort as he lists Lucy and Desi among your favorite entertainers that you think are a good example for American youth, ”read the letter.

Of course, today, Ball is not remembered for being involved in the McCarthy communist witch hunt, but how she contributed to the world of entertainment. She died on April 26, 1989. Her death has been seen all over the world.

Scroll to Top