(written from a Production point of view)
Lucille Désirée Ball (6 August 1911 – 29 April 1989; age 77) was an actress best known for her titular role on I Love Lucy. During the mid-1960s, she was the chief executive of Desilu Studios, and as such, responsible for approving the initial production of Star Trek: The Original Series. Her affinity for Gene Roddenberry and favor of the general goals of the series have been cited as reasons the studio persisted with Star Trek after NBC rejected the original pilot, "The Cage".
Ball founded Desilu with her husband, Desi Arnaz in 1950. After the couple divorced in 1960, Lucy bought out Desi's interest and ownership of the studio. Soon after, she married comedian Gary Morton, who became her new business partner in running Desilu. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp 3-5)
During the 2006 induction of William Shatner into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz (wife of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier actor Laurence Luckinbill), told a story of her mother's involvement in Star Trek's earliest days. At one point, Ball's own studio chiefs said, "And the two most expensive shows are Mission: Impossible and Star Trek, [so] they have to go.' She used to always listen to everything the dyed-print suits said. But she said, 'No, I like 'em!' And they said, 'They cost too much!' And she said, 'But I like 'em!' So they left them!"