Comedy icon Lucille Ball supported gay rights in 1980.

Ball died in 1989 at the age of 77; the 100th anniversary of her birth was Saturday.

She is best known as the star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy, many of which she starred in alongside her husband of 20 years, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz. The couple had two children, Lucie Desiree Arnaz and Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr.

The year after she divorced Arnaz, she married actor-producer Gary Morton.

In 1980, Ball told told People that she knew many “gifted” people who are gay.

“It's perfectly all right with me,” she answered when asked how she feel about gay rights. “Some of the most gifted people I've ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?”

Lee Tannent, the author of I Loved Lucy: My Friendship with Lucille Ball, in 2001 told gay glossy Out that Ball's Lucy Ricardo was a gay icon.

“I don't think Lucille Ball is a gay icon, Lucy Ricardo is a gay icon,” he said. “Lucy Ricardo was the underdog who was always trying to prove herself, and I think many gay men identified with that.

(Gay blog brought this story to our attention.)