This Saturday will mark the 100th birthday of Lucille Ball, who was probably the greatest and most influential television performer in history.

Her immortal “I Love Lucy” TV series, which debuted in 1951, coincided with the rapid acceleration in the popularity of television as an entertainment alternative to cinema.

Ironically, Lucy struggled long and hard as a film actress in Hollywood, before finding her niche on the small screen.

Before she found everlasting fame as a dizzy redhead, Lucy was actually a sultry blonde seeking to make it big as a dramatic actress.

Lucy stayed on top of the ratings for an astounding 20-plus years, in various sitcoms following the demise of the original “I Love Lucy.”

She was also a pioneer of sorts as one of the first women studio bosses in Hollywood. She and ex-husband Desi Arnaz founded Desilu Studio, which produced a number of other popular programs.

Lucy died in 1989 at the age of 78.