Lucille Ball

With her perfect timing and gift for physical comedy, Lucille Ball silenced early critics and went on to become America's favorite redhead. Born Aug. 6, 1911, in Celeron, N.Y., she quit school at 15 to try stage acting, but it was her modeling work that led to movie roles.

After uncredited roles in Moulin Rouge (1934) and Top Hat (1935), Ball moved up to featured billing in Follow the Fleet (1936) and Stage Door (1937). But true stardom eluded her until 1951 when the fledgling television medium came calling with a comedy series. Dubbed "I Love Lucy," the show was a runaway hit, turning Ball into a megastar and earning her two Emmys.

Ball remained a TV staple into the '70s with two more successful sitcoms, occasionally venturing back to films (Critic's Choice in 1963 and Yours, Mine and Ours in 1968). Ball continued to make TV appearances almost until her death April 26, 1989.