An actress whose name is synonymous with “love,” Lucille Ball is known for her smarts and perseverance as much as her talent. Like many leading ladies of her time, Ball started as a model and chorus girl – both roles she would later parody on her show – and rose to fame through a series of middling roles in the 1930s and 40s, enough lackluster parts to earn her the nickname “Queen of the B’s” (as in B-pictures). Once Ball transitioned from glamorous showgirls and haughty dames into comedy, she truly found her voice – and her power. As the head of Desilu Productions, she was the first woman to own her own studio and, finally able to choose her own projects, left her old image behind. With I Love Lucy and, later, The Lucy Show, under her belt, she returned to film to not only find better roles but also creative and financial ownership in her pictures. Over half a century later, Ball is still making the world laugh.