Edith Mack Hirsch biography: Early life, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball and other facts

Who is Edith Mack Hirsch? She is an American humanitarian who is also the wife of Desi Arnaz; a popular Cuban-American musician, actor, and television producer. Edith became popular by virtue of her husband’s far-reaching fame in the entertainment industry.

According to online sources, she is listed as a ‘celebrity wife’. A celebrity wife (or a celebrity spouse) refers to a person who is popular because their spouse is a famous person. This is usually obtainable when a celebrity marries someone who is relatively unknown and not when two celebrities marry each other.

Here, we look at some of the known facts about Edith Mack Hirsch starting with her early life, family background, career and personal life. We also answer the most popular questions that people are asking about her.

Top ten facts about Edith Mack Hirsch

  1. She was born Edith Mack McSkimming on 15 April 1917 to American parents living in Illinois.
  2. While growing up, Edith was passionate about traveling around the world and offering a helping hand to people in need.
  3. Her popular last name, Hirsch, was actually courtesy of her first marriage to Clement L. Hirsch and the name stuck with her ever since.
  4. Edith divorced Clement L. Hirsch and married Hollywood legend Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III better known as Desi Arnaz in 1963. After their marriage, the actor reduced his activities in the film industry.
  5. Before their marriage, Desi was married to Lucille Ball and they were regarded as a ‘power couple’. Their marriage of 20 years ended in 1960 because of Desi Arnaz’s affairs, according to several available reports.
  6. Edith Mack Hirsch Arnaz did not bear any biological child for her two husbands but she was a stepmother to Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr after marrying their father.
  7. She was diagnosed with cancer and died on 25 March 1985 in Del Mar, California at the age of 68 in the semi-retirement home her husband had built.
  8. In December 1986, her husband Desi Arnaz passed away after succumbing to lung cancer, a disease he suffered because of his several years of chain-smoking.
  9. Desi Arnaz had founded Desilu Productions, Desi Arnaz Orchestra, a horse-breeding farm and several other ventures during his lifetime and he is regarded as a revolutionary of modern-day film.
  10. After their divorce, Lucille Ball bought Desilu Productions out from Desi Arnaz and the company has gone on to produce films such as Mission Impossible and Star Trek.

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Early life

Edith Mack Hirsch was born Edith Mack McSkimming on 15 April 1917 to American parents living in Illinois. Information about her family isn’t readily available to the public, however, her family’s last name is McSkimming.

She grew up in New Trier Township a subdivision of Cook County, the most populous county in the US. We do not know if she had any siblings as none of their names is available online. Nevertheless, it is believed that she had a regular childhood.


The only mention we have of Edith’s education is a hint of her attending a local high school during her teenage years. Her past is so obscure that the school is not named. Anyway, it appears that she graduated high school and went on to college.

Again, mystery shrouds the details. We know that there are several colleges in her home city Illinois including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, Eastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, and so on. Yet, there is no mention of which college Edith Mack Hirsch obtained her degree from. Nevertheless, the likelihood that she obtained at least a bachelor’s degree is high.

From her childhood days, Edith Mack Hirsch had always dreamed of travelling around the world. Foremost in her mind was a passion to see different places and also extend a helping hand where she can. In order to achieve this, she became part of a humanitarian effort in her early years.

Edith Mack Hirsch career

Like other aspects of her life, Edith’s career is not well documented. There are only reports that she worked as a humanitarian, which can mean that she either worked with a charity organisation or that she established one by herself- or both actually.

Several reports claim that she leveraged her fame in protecting the vulnerable members of society. Details of this are not readily available. Now, let us look at her personal life and marriages.

Personal life

Edith Mack Hirsch marriages and relationships are a big part of her personal life. She was married twice and in the next part of this article, we discuss her marriages and relationships in detail.

Marriage to Clement Lang Hirsch

As we have mentioned in the opening parts, Edith was actually born into the McSkimming family. How then did she end up being known with the last name, ‘Hirsch’? She picked the surname after getting married to Clement L. Hirsch, an American man born in 1914.

Not long after their marriage, however, the couple split up going their separate ways. They did not reveal the reason behind the dissolution of their marriage. Clement L. Hirsch eventually died at the age of 85. It is important to note that despite splitting, Edith kept her first husband’s last name until she remarried.

Marriage to Desi Arnaz

Edith Mack Hirsch bio: early life, Desi Arnaz wife, Lucille Ball and other facts
Edith Mack Hirsch and Desi Arnaz wedding

It was her marriage to actor Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III better known as Desi Arnaz that brought her into the limelight. Desi and Edith got married on 2 March 1963. After their marriage, Arnaz visibly reduced his appearance in show business. Let us take a brief look at Desi Arnaz’s bio.

Desi Arnaz biography

Desi Arnaz was a Cuban-American actor, musician, bandleader, comedian and film and television producer. He was held in high esteem as a revolutionary in the creation of modern television. Arnaz became very popular after playing the role of Ricky Ricardo; a witty character on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy that ran from 1951 to 1957.

Desi Arnaz produced The Ann Sothern Show and The Untouchables. He further made an indelible mark on the music industry with his Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra. In his later years, around the 1970s, he co-hosted a week of shows with daytime host and producer Mike Douglas. Actress and co-star of I Love Lucy Vivian Vance appeared as a guest.

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He also headlined a Kraft Music Hall special on NBC that featured his two children as well as serving as a guest host on Saturday Night Live, with his son, Desi Jr.

Additionally, Desi Arnaz contributed to charitable and nonprofit organizations, including San Diego State University. He taught classes at San Diego State in studio production and acting for television.

He appeared in many films and TV series including Too Many Girls (1940), Four Jacks and a Jill (1942), The Navy Comes Through (1942), Holiday in Havana (1949), and his final film role was in The Escape Artist (1982).

Lucille Ball bio

Desi Arnaz was first married to Lucille Ball in 1940, with who he also co-starred on the above-mentioned sitcom. Together, they are credited as the innovators of the syndicated rerun, which they started with the I Love Lucy series. The couple also co-founded and ran the television production company called Desilu Productions, which they used to market the series to other television networks.

Desi’s first marriage to Lucille Ball was plagued with troubles as Ball believed the actor was cheating on her. She first filed for divorce in 1944 but they settled their differences and stayed married. The two of them had two children; Lucie Disree Arnaz (daughter) and Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV or Desi Arnaz Jr. (son).

Much later, the marriage began to deteriorate as the actor struggled with alcohol and infidelity. Some reports said it was Denis Arnaz’s affairs that ruined the marriage. In fact, his Wikipedia page reveals that Arnaz confirmed he had problems in his memoir. The page says;

“The combined pressures of managing the production company, as well as supervising its day-to-day operations, had greatly worsened as it grew much larger, and he felt compelled to seek outlets to alleviate the stress.”

Edith Mack Hirsch bio: early life, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball and other facts
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball wedding picture

Ball and Arnaz eventually divorced in 1960 after 20 years of marriage. They reached an agreement over the ownership of the jointly owned company, Desilu Productions, and Lucille Ball bought him out. The production company went on to produce films such as Mission Impossible and Star Trek.

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Moving on, it was three years later that he married Edith Mack Hirsch. It also explains why he reduced his activities in the entertainment business identifying that it had caused problems in his first marriage. Still, he was the executive producer of The Mothers-in-Law, a show that ran for two years. He also appeared briefly as a Spanish matador, Señor Delgado, on the show.

He and his first wife, Lucille Ball remained close despite both of them remarrying. There is even a family home video later aired on television that showed both of them playing together with their grandson Simon shortly before Arnaz died.

Ball won four Primetime Emmy Awards, two stars for her work in film and television on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award. She also won several other awards as well.

Edith Mack Hirsch children

During her two marriages, Edith did not have a biological child of her own. However, she became a stepmother to Lucie Disree Arnaz and Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV or Desi Arnaz Jr. after she married the legendary filmmaker and actor.

Edith Mack Hirsch bio: early life, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, children and other facts
Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. on Here’s Lucy

According to Lucie Arnaz’s bio, she is an actress that starred in Jazz Singer (1980), Here’s Lucy (1968) and Smoking Nonsmoking (2011). She married Phil Vandervort before she divorced him and married Laurence Luckinbill in 1980.

Meanwhile, Desi Arnaz’s bio also shows that he too toed the family line of going into the film industry and was also a relatively successful singer. He starred with his mother Lucille and sister Lucie in the TV series Here’s Lucy from 1968 to 1974.

Lucie and Desi Jr. are grandchildren of Desiderio Arnaz II, a Cuban politician who was sent into exile in 1933 after president Gerardo Machado was overthrown.

How did Edith Mack Hirsch die?

She was diagnosed with cancer and died on 25 March 1985 in Del Mar, California at the age of 68. They had moved to Del Mar as a semi-retirement home where Arnaz ran a horse-breeding farm in Corona, California and raced Thoroughbreds. There is no mention of the particular type of cancer that killed her but she suffered poor health for some time before she eventually succumbed to the disease. It was just nearly a year later that Desi Arnaz died.

Desi Arnaz death

Earlier in the 1960s after he split from Lucille and married Edith, Desi was suffering from a medical condition known as diverticulitis. This is a gastrointestinal disease that causes the inflammation of abnormal pouches—diverticula—which can develop in the wall of the large intestine. However, this was not what eventually killed him.

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Instead, Desi Arnaz was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1986 which is believed to have been a result of his smoking habit. He died at the age of 69.


Edith Mack Hirsch or Edith Eyre Arnaz is clearly not a famous celebrity but her being Desi Arnaz’s wife, one of the biggest celebrities of her time; inadvertently threw her into the spotlight. Her name cropped up in many gossip circles at the time because there were numerous reports of her being one of the women Desi Arnaz was involved with before his first marriage crashed.

She is also said to be a humanitarian who used her power and influence to help people in need. Many people who knew her before her death speak kindly of her and her efforts to make the world a better place.

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About The Author


Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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  11. Reading about other people’s life can be captivating. Never heardof her until now but I think Edith deserves the attention. So sorry cancer took her early.


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