DESI ARNAZ SR. - CONTRACT SIGNED 05/01/1957 CO-SIGNED BY: MARTIN N. LEEDS - HFSID 171169
DESI ARNAZ and MARTIN LEEDS
Desi Arnaz and Martin Leeds sign a contract for Leeds becoming the Executive Vice President of Desilu Productions.
Carbon Document Signed: "Desi Arnaz", 15p, 8½x11. Los Angeles, California, 1957 May 1. Co-signed: "Martin N. Leeds". Contract between Martin N. Leeds and Desilu Productions for Leed's exclusive services for a period of seven years as Executive Vice President of Desilu Productions for $100,000. In 1957, the year of this contract, Lucille Ball and DESI ARNAZ, the owners of Desilu Productions, sold the rerun rights to their comedy series, I Love Lucy, to CBS for $5 million and used the proceeds to purchase the 14-acre RKO lot in Hollywood (both Ball and Arnaz had previously been contract players for the studio). Actress/comedienne Lucille Ball (1911-1989) and her husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz (1917-1986), had formed Desilu in 1950 to produce their comedy series, I Love Lucy (1951-1957), after CBS had denied Lucy's request for Desi to play the role of her husband. By 1957, their company was already producing The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (1957-1960), and it would launch two new series, the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse and The Ann Sothern Show, the following year. Desilu later produced some of the greatest hit television series of the 1950s and 1960s, including Our Miss Brooks, Make Room for Daddy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Untouchables, Mission Impossible, Mannix and Star Trek. Lucy and Desi, who were married in 1941 and had two children, were divorced in 1960. Upon their divorce, they divided Desilu's assets in half; two years later, Lucy bought out Desi for $3 million. MARTIN LEEDS, who was an executive with Desilu, later joined CBS. In his 1993 book, Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Leeds revealed that Arnaz had considered himself for the role of Eliot Ness on The Untouchables, which Desilu would first air in 1959. Realizing that Leeds was right when he said the world wasn't ready for Ricky Ricardo to pull the plug on Al Capone, Arnaz would cast Robert Stack in the role (Van Heflin and Van Johnson had been his first two choices). Staple holes at upper left corner of all pages. Pencil note (unknown hand) on first page. Fine condition.
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