Desi Arnaz Net Worth: Career & Lifestyle

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Desi Arnaz, an American actor, musician, and TV producer originally from Cuba, had a net worth of $20 million when he died in 1986.

Arnaz was born on 2nd March 1917 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

His parents are Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Alberni II and Dolores “Lolita” de Acha y de Socias.

Desi Arnaz is most famous for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the TV sitcom called “I Love Lucy“ from 1951 to 1957.

Arnaz appeared as a couple with his then-wife, Lucille Ball, in the sitcom.


He was from a wealthy family.

His father served as Santiago’s youngest mayor and was also a Cuban House of Representatives member.

And Arnaz’s maternal grandfather worked as an executive at Bacardi & Co. (producer of rum and other beverages).

However, his father got arrested following the Cuban Revolution in 1933.

Unfortunately, Arnaz’s family had to flee to Miami.

Desi Arnaz Quick Facts

Full NameDesiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III
Date of Birth2nd March 1917
BirthplaceSantiago de Cuba, Cuba
Died on2nd December 1986
FatherDesiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Alberni II
MotherDolores “Lolita” de Acha y de Socias
SiblingConnie Arnaz
GrandfatherAlberto de Acha (Maternal grandfather)
Spouse   Lucille Ball (1940 – 1960)

Edith Mack Hirsch (1963 – 1985)

ChildrenLucie Arnaz

Desi Arnaz Jr.

EducationSt. Patrick Catholic High School
ProfessionActor, Musician, and TV producer
Net Worth$20 million
ReligionCatholic and (partially) Afro-Caribbean religion “Osha.”
Height5 feet 11 inches
Eye ColorDark Brown
Hair ColorBlack
Last UpdatedAugust, 2023

Desi Arnaz Income & Net Worth


Arnaz started working at a very young age.

He worked at Woolworths company in Miami for his first job.

In 1939, Rodgers and Hart cast him for the Broadway musical “Too Many Girls.”

In the next year, he appeared in the movie adaptation of the same musical with Lucille Ball. Arnaz also appeared in a film called “Bataan” in the 1940s.

According to Ball, Arnaz earned about $2,500 per week from these appearances and his band.

Later, he started earning $12,000 per week.

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In 1950, Arnaz and Ball set up Desilu Productions for producing their touring act at first.

In 1951, both Arnaz and Ball had their salary cut off $1,000 in exchange for the rights to the physical film prints of “I Love Lucy.” The salary cut granted them the re-broadcasting rights to the show.

However, CBS bought the broadcasting rights to 180 episodes of the show in paying $4.5 million. At present, it amounts to about $40 million.

In the same year, Arnaz and Ball bought a new studio lot for their own company, Desilu Productions.

Additionally, they bought the RKO Studios and its movie lot of 14 acres for $6 million.

By 1958, Desilu Productions earned more than $20 million in revenue yearly.

Following Arnaz and Ball’s divorce in 1960, Lucille Ball bought Desi Arnaz’s shares in the company for $2.5 million in 1962.

Therefore, the successful operations of Desilu Productions earned Desi Arnaz a massive fortune.

Net Worth

At the time of his demise in 1986, Desi Arnaz’s net worth stood at $20 million.

Producing numerous hit shows may have contributed the most to his net worth.

Net Worth of Desi Arnaz in Different Currencies

Let’s have a look at the net worth of Desi Arnaz in various currencies:

CurrencyNet Worth
Euro€ 17,868,311
Pound Sterling£ 15,157,330
Australian DollarA$ 28,600,018
Canadian DollarC$ 25,996,605
Indian Rupee₹ 1,427,794,157
BitCoin฿ 2879.761325

Desi Arnaz Houses

Desilu Ranch

Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball bought their first home, which they called Desilu Ranch, in 1941.

They paid $16,900 for this property located at 19700 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth.

The couple developed this ranch-style property with numerous small houses spread over the five-acre land.

Similarly, Arnaz also built a quarter, especially for parties. Arnaz threw a huge party for Ball to celebrate her 30th birthday.

House in Beverly Hills

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz bought a two-stories house located in North Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, California, in 1954.

Arnaz lived in this house with his then-wife, Lucille Ball, until 1960, when they got a divorce.

The couple lived on this property when they were shooting their superhit show, “I Love Lucy.”

However, Lucille continued to live here until she died in 1989 with her second husband, Gary Morton.

Desi-Arnaz-Beverly-Hills-HouseDesi-Arnaz-Beverly-Hills-House (Source:

Vacation Home in Palm Springs

The Arnaz-Ball couple also owned a luxurious vacation home in Palm Springs, California.

This magnificent vacation spot is built upon a 2,400 square foot land and was renovated in 2012.

As of the present, this property serves as an accommodation for travelers in that area. Visitors can rent this beautiful home for $500 per night.

Desi-Arnaz-Palm-Springs-Vacation-HomeDesi-Arnaz-Palm-Springs-Vacation-Home (Source:

Arnaz Ranch

Desi Arnaz himself designed and owned a house in Eastvale, California. He lived there after he got a divorce from Lucille Ball in 1960.

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The 3,500 square foot property was built upon 14 acres of land.

The Arnaz Ranch was purchased by Jurupa Community Services District in 2016 for $2.5 million.

Arnaz also owned a horse-breeding farm located in Corona, California. He used to race thoroughbreds.

Desi-Arnaz-Eastvale-HouseDesi-Arnaz-Eastvale-House (Source:

Desi Arnaz Lifestyle

Although Arnaz suffered financially in his teenage years, his family was once well-off.

Due to the Cuban Revolution in 1933, Arnaz’s family had to flee to Miami penniless.

All their property was seized, and their houses were burnt.

From the luxurious lifestyle they were enjoying, suddenly they had to face poverty living in a dirty warehouse.

Arnaz had to work all types of odd jobs to make a living. His first job was to clean cages in Woolworths.

Then, Arnaz and his father ventured into the tile business before turning to the music and entertainment industry.

Finally, things started getting better after he and Lucille Ball starred in “I Love Lucy.”

Arnaz produced several hit shows and hosted some TV programs throughout his life span.

Arnaz was still good friends with his ex-wife, Lucille Ball, after their divorce.

He married his second wife, Edith Hirsch, in 1963 and spent his later life in semi-retirement in Del Mar, California.

Arnaz was known to be a heavy smoker. He died on 2nd December 1986 due to lung cancer aged 69.

Desi Arnaz Charity

Desi Arnaz donated to charitable institutions like San Diego State University.

In 1958, Desi Arnaz organized a fundraising party at his Western Hills Hotel in Indian Wells for the Boy’s Club of Palm Springs.

This party starred Lucille Ball, Dean Martin, and Walter Winchell and accumulated $18,000 to build a clubhouse.

Desi Arnaz Movies and Book Publications

Movies & TV series

Desi Arnaz’s first movie was the film version of a Broadway musical, “Too Many Girls.” RKO Pictures decided to produce this movie after seeing its musical version, which starred Desi Arnaz too.

Arnaz was highly praised for his role of Felix Ramirez in one of his early movies, “Bataan.”

Then, he acted in the hit series, “I Love Lucy,” which premiered on 15th October 1951.

Similarly, Arnaz also appeared in “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.” This show is a modified version of “I Love Lucy,” which ran for three seasons from 1957 to 1960.

Through Desilu Productions, Arnaz produced several works like The Ann Sothern Show, Those Whiting Girls, The Untouchables, Whirlybirds, and Sheriff of Cochise. 

The Arnaz-Ball couple also starred in a feature film called Forever, Darling (1956).

After Arnaz left Desilu Productions subsequent to his first divorce, the production company made shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mission: Impossible, The Lucy Show, The Lucy Show, and Star Trek.

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Later, Lucille Ball sold the production company to Gulf+ Western, and it became a part of Paramount Pictures.

Desi Arnaz formed his own production company too. He produced a sitcom called The Mothers-In-Law, which was broadcasted from 1967 to 1969 for two seasons.

Book Publications

In 1976, Desi Arnaz published his autobiography, “A Book,” which included stories from his origin in Cuba to become one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry.

Likewise, Arnaz promoted his book on Saturday Night Live in February 1976. He appeared as a guest host with his son, Desi Arnaz Jr., on the show.

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Desi Arnaz Career

Desi Arnaz started working at a young age. He has abundant working experience in several fields.

Desi Arnaz started a band called “Siboney Septet” after he finished high school. He and his band were quite popular in the Miami band scene.

Then, one day Xavier Cugat saw him perform in his band. Cugat recruited him for his touring orchestra to play conga drums and sing.

Accordingly, Arnaz formed his own orchestra named “Desi Arnaz Orchestra.”

Again, Arnaz and his band earned a good name in the clubs of New York. He also introduced the famous conga line dance there.

Desi Arnaz also served in the United States Army in World War II.

After that, he has acted as well as produced numerous films and TV series.

Likewise, Desi Arnaz hosted several TV programs like “Your Tropical Trip” (1951) on CBS radio.

3 Facts about Desi Arnaz

  • Desi Arnaz’s family owned three ranches, a vacation mansion, and a luxurious house in Cuba. The vacation mansion was located on a private island in Santiago Bay, Cuba.
  • Arnaz attended Saint Leo Prep in 1934 to improve his English after his family fled to Miami.
  • Desi Arnaz was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to contribute to televisions and motion pictures.


Who is Ricky Ricardo in “I Love Lucy“?

Actor Desi Arnaz played the role of Rick Ricardo in the hit series “I Love Lucy.” Arnaz appeared on the popular TV series as a couple with Lucille Ball, who was his wife then.

Why did Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball get divorced?

It is said that Lucille Ball decided to divorce Desi Arnaz due to his alcohol and disloyalty issues. Ball had filed for divorce in September 1944 too.

What was the cause of Desi Arnaz’s death?

Desi Arnaz was diagnosed with cancer in his lungs in 1986. He died later the same year, at the age of 69.

Categories: Net Worth
Source: ASIA EDU

Madhuri Shetty
Manoj Gadtaula

Manoj Gadtaula is a young Indian man from Mangalore who is constantly on the lookout for new things and loves to explore. Madhuri has a great passion for helping others and motivating people. She researched the careers, biographies, lifestyles, and net worths of celebrities..

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