The Surprising Reason The FBI Kept An Eye On Lucille Ball

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a very distinct role in the day-to-day guarding of the United States. They are the gatekeepers who seek to prevent terrorism from striking the country, and also "uphold and enforce" the laws of the U.S.A. That means that they often keep tabs on people of all kinds to gauge whether or not the individuals in question pose a threat to the safety of American citizens or politicians.

The people who are monitored can run the gamut from a businessman to a person who is a member of a group of so-called militias. The FBI looks at things both domestic and abroad to ensure that justice is upheld. They also try to move in quickly if they feel that there is an imminent threat to the safety of the country. Usually the agents track people who are ordinary civilians, but there are times when celebrities made the list, for various reasons. According to the Washington Post, one of those celebrities who caught the attention of the FBI was the legendary comedienne Lucille Ball, along with her husband, Desi Arnaz, in 1953.

J. Edgar Hoover kept an eye on Lucille Ball

At the time that it happened, Ball was at the height of her fame. America was also very focused on the supposed dangers of communism. Years before then, in 1936, Ball had registered to vote as a member of the communist party. That definitely got the attention of the higher-ups at the FBI, including the bureau's director, J. Edgar Hoover, according to the Washington Post. The thing was, Ball said that she wasn't actually a communist; she had just joined the party to placate her grandfather, who was a socialist.

Hoover didn't seem to hold the allegations against her, even declaring that he was a fan of her work. That didn't keep him from keeping a file on her for years after that, though there was never anything that was acted on. It must have just been a case of the FBI deciding to err on the side of caution, since this was when the nation was gripped in fear of the Red Scare, thanks to Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (via History).

Obviously, the rumor didn't hurt either her or Arnaz's career. She lived to 77, according to Biography, and was nearly universally beloved at the time of her passing. People remember her for her slapstick comedy, a form that she helped pioneer for women, and her show, "I Love Lucy," along with her being the backbone for getting the original "Star Trek" on the air.