Tomorrow marks what would have been the 100th birthday of comedy legend Lucille Ball. If you grew up with a TV in your home, chances are you watched at least one episode of I Love Lucy, Ball's wildly popular (and revolutionary three-camera technique) show about a mischievous '50s housewife trying to constantly steal the spotlight from her entertainer husband (played by real-life then-husband, Desi Arnaz). But the reality is, you probably watched it more than once, at least enough to know that Lucy's maiden name is "McGillicuddy," that a huge cheese can make for a convincing baby and what "Vitameatavegemin" is.
Ball never could get out of the shadow of Lucy Ricardo, though she starred in several other popular sitcoms, including The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. But Ball remains The Queen of Comedy and has influenced several generations of female comedians.
One of Ball's trademarks was her ability to weave her Hollywood connections into her zany story lines, calling on movie stars to play themselves in her show. This began with the Hollywood story arc in I Love Lucy and became a more regular feature on her later shows. As a tribute to her ability to pull a comedic performance from pretty much anyone (including dreamboat William Holden), here are our favorite guest stars.
7. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Burton steals the show with jokes aboutNational Velvet
and Liz's shopping habits.
6. John Wayne
The Duke gets a '50s rubdown.
5. Ginger Rogers
Ginger teaches the girls how to do the Charleston
4. Vincent Price
A diabolical caricature of himself, right down to the gothic script "VP" monogram on his dressing gown.
3. William Holden
Imagine seeing George Clooney at a diner. Now imagine he stares right back at you.
2. Carol Burnett
Burnett really steals the scene here.
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1. Harpo Marx
Start at 1:43 for the iconic mirror routine, unless you want to hear Lucy tell Dick Cavett what it was like working with Harpo.
Editor's note: In an episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy sneaks a cheese aboard an airplane by pretending it's a baby. An earlier version of this post misidentified the Italian foodstuff she tried to sneak aboard, proving we're not the Lucy snobs we want you to believe we are.