Who was Frederick Henry Ball?
Frederick Henry Ball was an American movie studio executive. He was the brother of actress and model Lucille Ball. Born in a Baptist family to a concert pianist and a telephone lineman, he did not have an acting career like his sister did. However, he was on the Board of Directors of Desilu Productions, the studio that his sister co-owned. He also managed hotels and restaurants along with his wife Zo during his later life. He was related to George Washington, the first President of the United States, from his father’s side. Another direct ancestor was Edmund Rice who founded Sudbury, Massachusetts. After his father’s death in 1915, his mother remarried, following which Ball and his sister was raised in their grandparents’ house. As an adult, he received much popularity for being the sibling of a famous actress. He was happily married with four children. In February 2007, Ball died a natural death in Cottonwood, Arizona. He was survived by his children as well as seven grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
In the 1930s, Fred Ball moved to California to join his sister. He initially started with the job of a page boy at a nightclub called ‘Cafe Trocadero’. He then went on to serve as the band road manager for actor cum musician Desi Arnaz. In 1951, his sister and Desi purchased Desilu Productions and Ball joined its Board of Directors.
After managing the administration at Desilu, Ball did not pursue an acting career unlike his sister. However, he continued to administer hotels and restaurants including the Palm Desert Hotel. In his later years, he, along with his wife, operated a motel in Cottonwood. Ball was also a real estate broker and agent who self-managed and maintained his holdings in mobile home parks and motels.
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Family & Personal Life
Fred Ball was born on July 17, 1915, in Jamestown, New York, U.S.A to Henry Durrell Ball, a lineman and Désirée Evelyn Hunt, a concert pianist. He and his sister Lucy were related to George Washington through their father. Other ancestors included Edmund Rice who founded the town Sudbury in Massachusetts and William Sprague who helped discover Charlestown, Massachusetts.
While his mother was pregnant with him, his father contracted typhoid and died. Three years later, his mother married salesman Edward Peterson, following which Ball and his sister were raised by their grandparents.
As a young man, he married a lady called Zo and had four children.
A Tragedy that Divided the Family
Ball’s grandfather, Fred Hunt, who was an eccentric socialist and worked in the furniture industry, once gave him a gun as a birthday gift. In 1927, a neighbourhood kid named Warner Erikson was accidentally shot with the gun and was paralyzed; he died five years later. Ball’s grandfather became embroiled in a court case regarding the boy’s death and was forced to sell his home and declare bankruptcy. After this incident, the family split up and never lived together again. Ball’s grandfather eventually died in 1944.
On February 5, 2007, Fred Ball died in Cottonwood, Arizona, due to natural causes, at the age of 91. He was cremated and buried in the Hunt family plot at the Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown where his parents, sister, and grandparents are buried. Ball was survived by his wife, four kids, Melissa LeBritton, Pamela Ball Von Pinnon, Geoffrey Ball and April Jackson, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife Zo breathed her last in May 2013, at the age of 93.