11 surprising facts that almost no one knows about Lucille Ball

"I'm not funny. What I am is brave." So said the eternal queen of comedy, Lucille Ball. In a way, she was right: She surrounded herself with the best writers, co-stars and producers, and through her brilliance, boldness and incredible comic timing, made the outlandish plot situations she found herself in both hysterically funny and-even more important-absolutely believable.

Still, it was a long climb to the top, as she enjoyed, in her words, "a well-paid apprenticeship." For two decades, the girl from Jamestown, New York, worked her way through all aspects of show business, from Shriner shows to modeling to Broadway. In the early '30s she was in the movies, briefly glimpsed in lavish productions starring Eddie Cantor or the Three Stooges. Pluck and determination were her true strengths-along with that exquisite, almost supernatural sense of how to land a joke. It would take until she was 40 for the elements to come together to create I Love Lucy, by which time she had learned plenty about surviving in Hollywood. "Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it and I'm afraid of people who do," she once said. "Luck to me is something else: hard work-and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't." Today, we offer a special 'I Love Lucy' tribute by counting down 11 facts you may not know about Lucille Ball.

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By DoYouRemember