Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III (March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986), better known as Desi Arnaz or Desi Arnaz, Sr., was a Cuban-born American actor, musician, and television producer. He is best remembered for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American television series sitcom I Love Lucy. He co-starred on that show with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. He and Ball are generally credited as the inventors of the syndicated rerun, which they pioneered with the I Love Lucy series.
Arnaz and Lucille Ball cofounded and ran the television production company Desilu Productions, originally to market I Love Lucy to television networks. After I Love Lucy ended, Arnaz went on to produce several other television series, at first with Desilu Productions, and later independently; examples of which included The Ann Sothern Show and The Untouchables. He was also renowned for leading his Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.
Arnaz was a regular smoker for much of his life and often smoked cigarettes on the set, as well as on-camera in I Love Lucy. He smoked Cuban cigars into his sixties. Arnaz was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1986. He died several months later on December 2, 1986, at the age of 69. Arnaz was cremated and his ashes scattered. His death came just five days before Ball received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was survived by his children and his mother, Dolores, who died on October 24, 1988, at the age of 92.