'Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Weren't Lucy & Ricky Ricardo' is out now

From the late 1950s, Darwin Porter, student body president at the University of Miami, organized"Lucy & Desi" Day at the college, a party of the country's most popular entertainers and favorite bunch, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

'Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Weren't Lucy & Ricky Ricardo' is out now

However, when he arrived to take them to the event, the snide and bickering couple he discovered resembled anything but America's sweethearts.

"She cried denunciations at him, at one point calling him [an ethnic slur]. She accused him of having sex with two prostitutes the night ahead," writes Porter in his brand new book with Danforth Price, "Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Were Not Lucy & Ricky Ricardo," (Blood Moon Productions, out now).

"He didn't deny that, but maintained,'It doesn't mean something, my fooling around with some hookers. Peccadilloes don't count."

The publication, which is Volume 1 of the authors' Ball/Arnaz bio, is 576 pages long and covers the years until the conclusion of their marriage, documenting their professions, hardships, and many, many fans in all their gossipy glory. Volume II is set for release later this season.

Taking acting lessons in New York City as a teen, she was overshadowed by fellow student Bette Davis, who she found"intimidating and overburdened ." She also studied dance under Martha Graham for many years before Graham asked her to drop the course. "You're miserable as a dancer," Graham told her. "You are just like a quarterback taking up ballet. Perhaps you could find work as a soda jerk."

In 14, Ball wound up in a connection with 23-year-old Johnny DaVita, who, the authors write, conducted illegal booze from Canada and served as the city gigolo.

She later moved in with DaVita, who occasionally defeat her, and also shaped sections of her personality around his gangster ways.

"Living with DaVita catalyzed some personality changes in her," the authors write. "She also developed a foul mouth to coincide with his own and those of his hoodlum friends."

Later, while auditioning for roles in Times Square under the point names Montana Ball and Diane Belmont before settling on her name, she scrounged to endure, such as partaking in nude modeling and turning the occasional trick. She often ate meals left over by diners in local cafes, and brought a purse with a plastic liner on dates she could take residence half-eaten steaks.

She was briefly cast in the popular theatrical revue"The Ziegfeld Follies," but was fired after two weeks because, she was told,"You've got no tits, and you can not dance."

Distraught, she considered a life as a gun moll for DaVita, thinking,"I really could join Johnny on his spirits runs down from Canada, with the police following us."

She eventually found work as a model, and since she sought acting roles, obtained guidance from Lela Rogers -- mom of her great friend Ginger Rogers -- which she would later follow.

"If you would like to be a celebrity within two years, get auditioned on the casting couch," Lela informed her. "That's the advice that I gave my very own daughter."

Becoming one of Manhattan's most well-known models, Ball was a routine at hot nightspots like the Cotton Club. She dated Albert"Cubby" Broccoli, who would go on to produce the James Bond movies, then spent time with his cousin, Pat DiCicco.

DiCicco, a rumored associate of Lucky Luciano, would later marry movie star Thelma Todd and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Ball told friends in the time that she'd expected to marry himand confided to actress Joan Blondell,"Pat taught me tricks in bed I believe he discovered in a brothel in Shanghai."

But her association with gangsters almost had dire effects. Dancing in Harlem one night, she suddenly sensed threat, grabbed a friend's hand and ran contrary to the club. The man she was fearful of wound gunning a man down.

And while staying in Manhattan's Kimberly Hotel, she had been taking a bath one night and"while she had been soaking in the bathtub, she had been fired upon and the tub was riddled with bullets," the authors write. "Miraculously, she escaped harm, but the area downstairs was flooded."

She'd look in over 50 movies that decade, frequently in small, uncredited or barely there functions before discovering favor as a reliably comedic bit player. By the end of 1934, a projecting burial led Ball into Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn. "She had been told Cohn was callous, egotistical, and mean-spirited," the authors write,"and that every female under contract to him had to bow to him sexually." (Cohn reportedly once told comedian Red Skelton,"I am entitled to the broads since I have them .")

For Ball, it was an issue of practicality. "I have resisted so far, but other gals like Joan Crawford did all right," Ball told a friend. "At a party one night, I heard her telling a few people that the casting couch was much better than the cold hard floor" After sleeping with Cohn, Ball began to get cast in better films. However, her career still evolved gradually, as she had been repeatedly told by casting agents and others she had no talent for acting, and was not large-breasted enough to become a sex symbol.

She signed with RKO Pictures following her release from Columbia, but at RKO, she continually lost components to rival and future pinup celebrity Betty Grable. This caused her to create two key changes. To differentiate herself from the blonde actress, she dyed her hair red for the very first time. Others considered that this was also when she started taking her craft seriously.

"It was because of Grable that Lucille quit yawning her way through a picture and did a real acting," said Kay Harvey, an actress and model.

Over the coming years, Ball began distinguishing herself on film for her talent with a wisecrack. Personally, meanwhile, she dated the likes of Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Orson Welles and Milton Berle, that had been the first man to talk with her about the capacity of television.

Following co-starring in a surprise 1939 hit called"Five Came Back," she had been approached about the movie adaptation of a Broadway play called"Too Many Girls." It was here that she first set eyes on the drama's 22-year-old lead, Desi Arnaz, who had already enjoyed flings with Grable, Rogers, and superstar Carmen Miranda.

"As she later confessed, she could not take her eyes off Desi after he walked onto the platform," the authors write. "She later wrote about his'broad shoulders and torso' and'his narrow hips in tight football pants,' and'how he swayed into the tricky rhythms of their bongo drums'" The two would not formally meet until 1940 at RKO Pictures. The next day, Arnaz moved in with her.

Their love story would be filled with affairs, animosity, barbarous disagreements and, finally, amazing success. After both flaming out in the movies, a change to television made them superstars. "I Love Lucy" (1951-1957) became the most watched series in the country, and the studio that they found, Desilu, was a leading producer in the new medium. From 1957, the couple would even own what was left of RKO. As the show's fame eventually started to wane in the late 1950s, the couple aired a diminished version titled"The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour."

But given their shared roving eye, perhaps the most surprising aspect of their story is that they stayed together as long as they did.

"Marriage is OK, but adultery is more enjoyable," said Arnaz. "Only ask Lucy."

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