But when Ball was just four years of age, disaster struck the family. In February of 1915 Henry passed away aged just 27, after contracting typhoid fever. The day of her father’s death would have a lasting impact on the future star, who remembers that a bird flew into the house amid the tragedy. As a result, she developed a lifelong phobia of birds.
Following Henry’s death, his wife, DeDe – who was expecting a second baby – headed back to New York state. Ball’s brother, Fred, was born in 1915 and the siblings spent the rest of their childhoods there, where they lived with their mom and her parents. And it was there that the little girl got her first taste of show business.
Ball’s childhood hometown boasted the popular Celoron Park, at the time one of the country’s premier amusement attractions. It featured a ballroom, bandstand, roller coaster and theater area, where plays and vaudeville shows often took place. So, needless to say, it was one of the future star’s most beloved locations.