Notable role: Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
Between all her floundering, her missteps, and faux pas, we worry that people write off Lucille Ball as a ditz. That she's denied her genius status because of how harebrained her most famous character was. Of course, we know she's funny. Her sitcom, I Love Lucy, still runs in syndication, people still quote her iconic lines and if we close our eyes we can still see the chocolate factory and grape-stomping scenes.
Ball was a legit boss, beyond her ability to turn a phrase and topple over. She co-owned Desilu Productions, a company responsible for popular TV shows like Star Trek. If equality looks like ownership and power, Ball ran the world for a time.