The queen is dead the queen of television comedy, that is. After a remarkable career that made her one of the world's best-known and well-loved entertainers, Lucille Ball is dead following heart surgery.
What can one tell the public that it doesn't already know about the woman who dominated TV comedy for 23 years and whose classic "I Love Lucy" series - which aired in 77 foreign countries - is still being rerun more than 30 years after she filmed the last segment?Well, maybe a few pertinent things.
Did you know, for example, that her first drama teacher told her she was wasting money on acting lessons and suggested she choose another profession? How fortunate we all are that she ignored this terrible advice.
Did you know that her first four Broadway jobs, as a chorus girl, ended in four prompt dismissals? Or that, just as she began to gain recognition as a model, she almost lost her life in an automobile accident and was told she would never walk again? It took her eight months in bed and three years of persistent, painful effort to reverse the doctor's gloomy prediction.
Surely it can come as no surprise, then, that Lucille Ball was an avid disciple of Norman Vincent Peale's doctrine of positive thinking.
Likewise, did you know that her "I Love Lucy" show pioneered what, in the early 1950s, was a revolutionary production technique involving the use of three cameras? It was a technique that directly influenced the shift from live television to film.
Did you know that, by one estimate, her face has been seen by more people, more often, than the face of any human being who ever lived?
Anyway, whatever else she is remembered for, Lucille Ball is to be hailed for furthering the kind of entertainment that, in her words, provides "hope, faith and fun" as an antidote to the "violence, sex, muck and mire" so often shown on the screen.
Now she is gone. But the world still loves Lucy.