Desi Arnaz Jr. Biography

(Actor, Musician)

Birthday: January 19, 1953 (Capricorn)

Born In: Los Angeles, California,United States

Desi Arnaz Jr., born as Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, is a popular actor and musician. Born to two iconic Hollywood stars—Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz—he was thrust into limelight at his very birth. He made his first television appearance at the age of four and established himself as a musician by twelve. However, such glare of publicity also had a negative effect on him and he started falling in love from the age of thirteen, eventually fathering his first born at the age of fifteen, concurrently suffering from substance abuse. However, he was ultimately able to get out of it and establish himself as an actor. He has 38 credits to his name, his last film being The Mambo Kings (1992), in which he portrayed his father. Later on, he returned to his music. He is currently a resident of Boulder City, Nevada, where he purchased and renovated historic Boulder Theatre in 1997 and runs the Boulder City Ballet Company from that premises since then.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV

Age: 71 Years, 71 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Amy Arnaz (m. 1987–2015), Linda Purl (m. 1979–1980)

father: Lucille Ball

mother: Desi Arnaz

children: Haley Arnaz, Julia Arnaz

Born Country: United States

Actors Drummers

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males

Ancestry: French American, Irish American, British American, Cuban American

U.S. State: California

Childhood & Early Life

Desi Arnaz Jr. was born on January 19, 1953 in Los Angeles, USA. His father, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III, better known as Desi Arnaz, was a Cuban-American actor-cum-musician, while his mother, Lucille Désirée Ball, was one of Hollywood’s greatest icons. His elder sister, Lucie Désirée Arnaz, is also a successful actress.

At the time of his birth, his parents were starring in the popular television series, I love Lucy. On the very day he was born, his mother’s television character, Lucy Ricardo, gave birth to a son called Little Ricky.

When Desi Arnaz Jr. was three years old, he visited the sets of I love Lucy, where he found some other kid playing his parents’ son and felt his fist pang of jealousy. Neither did it help when people started calling him Little Ricky.

With time he started hating everything about Little Ricky and wanted to be better than him every respect. Eventually it gave rise to an identity crisis. Meanwhile in 1957, he first appeared in an uncredited role of a spectator in one episode of I love Lucy

By 1960, his parents’ marriage collapsed under the strain of his father’s alcoholism and infidelity. Eventually they divorced on May 4, 1960; but remained in good terms until the death of Desi Arnaz.

Sometime in 1961, he and his sister were sent to New York, where they studied at St. Vincent Ferrer School.

From 1962 to 1965, he appeared in six episodes of The Lucy Show, a follow up of well-known I love Lucy.

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Music Career

Around 1964, while studying at Good Shepherd. Beverly Hills Catholic School, Desi Arnaz Jr. became friendly with Dean Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin (Dino) and Billy Hinsche. Eventually the three boys formed their own band, Dino, Desi & Billy, releasing Since You Broke My Heart / We Know in the same year.

In 1965, the band released their best-known number, I’m A Fool, which peaked at the seventeenth position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also in the same year, they had another hit, Not the Lovin’ Kind, which peaked at the twenty-fifth position. Desi played the drum in them.

In 1965, they released their first album, I’m A Fool. It was followed in 1966 by three more, Our Time's Coming, Memories Are Made of This and Souvenir.  Also in 1966, the three boys made an appearance in the Dean Martin film Murderers' Row.

The band broke up in 1969. By then, they had released 17 singles and had toured as an opening act for the many well-known musical bands, including Beach Boys.

Acting Career

In 1968, while Desi Arnaz Jr. was around fifteen years old, he debuted in acting, starring as Craig Carter in the CBS sitcom, Here’s Lucy, for the first three seasons.  Also in the same year, he appeared in two episodes of The Mothers-In-Law.

From 1970 onwards, he began to make regular appearance on small screen, playing small roles in television series like The Brady Bunch, Love, American Style, Mod Squad, Night Gallery. Sometime around this time, he graduated from Beverly Hills High School.

In 1971, he debuted in films, appearing as Bo Jo Jones in Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones. Starring as William 'Steenie' Stenopolous in Red Sky at Morning was another hallmark of this year

In 1973, he played in the title role of Marco Polo in the Japanese musical adventure film, Marco, which was followed in 1974 by another title role, this time in Billy Two Hats.  Meanwhile he continued to appear in numerous television productions including She Lives! and Voyage of the Yes.

In 1976, he co-hosted one episode of Saturday Night Live with his father and appeared in one episode of The Streets of San Francisco.

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In 1977, he starred as Scott in Joyride, as Steve Aletti in Black Market Baby and as Rick Bender in Flight to Holocaust.

Throughout 1970s, he continued to appear in various television productions, starring in television films like How to Pick Up Girls!, To Kill a Cop and The Courage and the Passion in 1978 and Crisis in Mid-Air in 1979.  They were followed by Gridlock (1980), Advice to the Lovelorn (1981) and Fake-Out (1982).

From December 1983 to August 1984, he played the lead role of Walter Nebicher in 13 episodes of Automan. Thereafter, he continued to work sporadically, appearing in his last film, The Mambo Kings, in 1992, portraying the role of his father in it.

In 1998, he joined his old friends, Billy Hinsche and Ricci Martin (the youngest son of Dean Martin), to resume his musical career, touring with his band, Ricci, Desi & Billy, until he decided to retire from limelight in 2010.

Awards & Achievements

In 1972, Desi Arnaz Jr. received Golden Globe Award in the New Star of the Year – Actor category for his performance in Red Sky at Morning.

In 2002, he received nomination for Emmy-Outstanding Special Class Program Award.

Personal Life & Legacy

Desi Arnaz Jr. fell into an illusion of love since he was thirteen years old. By fifteen, he was in a relationship with Susan Callahan-Howe and fathered his eldest daughter, Julia Arnaz, with her in 1968. That Julia is his daughter was proved in a paternity test in 1991.

At seventeen, he began dating twenty-three years old Patty Duke, accompanying her to the 1970 Emmy Awards ceremony. Although she later told her son, Sean Austin (born in 1971) that Arnaz was his biological father, it proved to be otherwise.

In 1979, Arnaz married actress Linda Purl. However, the marriage ended in a divorce in the following year.

On October 8, 1987, Desi Arnaz Jr. married Amy Laura Bargiel and eventually adopted Haley, Amy’s daughter from her first marriage to Gary Charf. Amy died of brain cancer on 23 January 2015.

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