Rachel York To Star as Lucille Ball in Upcoming CBS Television Movie

By Ernio Hernandez
06 Jan 2003

Rachel York.
Rachel York.

Broadway actress Rachel York will play the title role in "Redhead," the working title of television movie about the life of Lucille Ball, a CBS representative confirmed. The actress joins the previously confirmed LaChanze in the biopic will air on CBS and begins filming in January. Daniel Pino (television's "The Shield") will play Cuban hubby Desi Arnaz.

An early release for the upcoming movie states it will be an "inside account of the celebrated, complex, passionate and tumultuous relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz." The real-life couple entertained American audiences with their mix of love and comedy on their series "I Love Lucy" but off camera, their relationship was said to have been much less comedic. "Backstage battles, oversized egos and the demands of phenomenal success undermined what was once a storybook romance."

York has seen the Broadway stage in such shows as The Scarlet Pimpernel, Victor/Victoria, City of Angels, Les Misérables and the national tour of Kiss Me, Kate. Pino was featured as Claudio in the Mary Zimmerman-helmed New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater production of Measure for Measure starring Billy Crudup.

In "Redhead" — not to be confused with the musical of the same name — LaChanze will star as Ball's housekeeper who was a former dancer. LaChanze was involved with the recent workshop of the new Michael John LaChiusa musical Little Fish, set to debut at the Second Stage Theatre. Her credits include Ragtime, Company, Once On This Island and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin.

Writer T.S. Cook ("The China Syndrome," "The Tuskegee Airmen" ) is set to pen the film. Glenn Jordan ("Barbarians at the Gate" ) will direct it and executive produce with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — the duo behind "Martin and Lewis" as well as "Me and My Shadows: Life with Judy Garland" and ABC's upcoming film of "The Music Man."



No official airdates have been confirmed for "Redhead," but it is expected for 2003. Other casting is still to be completed; the film is in pre-production.