The Desi Arnaz Collection consists of Arnaz’s personal notes and materials for his autobiography, A Book, and production materials from both “Desilu
Productions” and “Desi Arnaz Productions, Inc.” (DAPI). The Desilu Production items include films and related documents from
1951 to 1962.
From the mid 1930s until the early 1970s, Desi Arnaz, born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz de Archa III on March 2, 1917, achieved
prominence first as a musician and later in film and television. After leaving Cuba in 1933 due to the arrival of the Batista
government, Desi and his mother fled to Miami, Florida, where his father later joined them. Desi Arnaz joined Xaiver Cugat’s
band in 1934 and toured with the group before striking out on his own. Earning renown as the “Miami Rhumba King,” the musician
and eventual bandleader went north to perform in New York nightclubs. In 1939 he starred in the Broadway production of “Too
Many Girls.” When RKO Pictures in Hollywood purchased the play in 1940, Arnaz made his motion picture debut in the film version.
He reprised his role as the lead character, playing opposite Lucille Ball (1911-1989). Their meeting began a relationship
that led to their marriage later that year. The couple purchased property in the Chatsworth area of the San Fernando Valley,
which they named the Desilu Ranch.
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with
the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections
is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be
submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available
for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including
but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
This collection is open for research.