Desi Arnaz was born into a wealthy family in Santiago de Cuba. However his family lost everything due to the Fidel Castro regime and were forced to flee to Miami in 1933. Arnaz’s father established a trading business in Miami. To save money, the father and son lived in their rat infested warehouse. Desi Arnaz cleaned bird cages to make a little money but after a while managed to secure his first gig as a guitarist for the Siboney Septet. Arnaz was discovered by Xavier Cugat, the king of Latin Music and was hired by him in New York. Having returned to Miami in 1937, Arnaz introduced the Conga line to American audiences, which was a hit locally and nationally.
Desi Arnaz didn’t only possess musical talent, he was also a great actor. Arnaz starred in the Broadway musical ‘Too Many Girls’ in 1939. It was there he first met Lucille Ball, who he married in 1940. Arnaz went on to make three films before being inducted into the army during WWII. Arnaz did not see any combat as he was injured. After the war, Arnaz became the orchestra leader on Bob Hope’s radio show from 1946-1947. He also recorded several hits during the late 40s.