Get it here!
by Billy Ingram
She was born Loletha Elaine Falana on September 11, 1942 in Camden, New Jersey but you may know her as Lola Falana, an entertainer who's career is - or was - the stuff of legends.
A fiercely determined young lady, Lola (escorted by her mother) was dancing in nightclubs while still a student in Junior High. She moved to New York at 17 with $23 in her pocket to break into show business and reportedly slept in the subway during the early, lean times.
That was before Sammy Davis, Jr. plucked her from an Atlantic City chorus line to make her his protege; casting Lola as the lead dancer / ingenue in his Broadway smash Golden Boy, which ran from October 20, 1964 until March 5, 1966.
She was big talent in a small package, a triple-threat dynamo who could do it all - act, sing and dance. Lola Falana released a single called "My Baby" on Mercury Records and this led to her primetime solo debut on Hullabaloo December 6, 1965 where she sang the single and "Loverly" from My Fair Lady. She moved over to Warner Brothers records in 1966.
Following her run on Broadway, Lola was given a small part in the motion picture A Man Called Adam in 1966 starring Sammy Davis, Jr., Ozzie Davis and Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Davis also introduced Lola to the world of Las Vegas where she quickly scored a gig opening for comic Don Adams at the Sands Hotel where Sammy often worked.
Lola attained movie stardom first in Italy where she was hailed as the "Black Venus." Her first picture there was a 1967 Spaghetti Western, Lola Colt: Face to Face With The Devil. Two more Italian films followed, Stasera Mi Butto and Quando Dico Che Ti Amo in 1968.
In between productions she toured as a background singer / dancer with Sammy Davis, Jr. and traveled with him to London for a revival of Golden Boy; it was while on-stage that the cast learned of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968.
Falana split with Sammy in 1969 but not before a sizzling star turn in the one-hour special, The Swinging World of Sammy Davis, Jr. "If I didn't break away," Lola told TV Guide, "I would always be known as the little dancer with Sammy Davis, Jr. I wanted to be known as something more."
On November 16, 1969, Lola was seen a dramatic role along with Billy Dee Williams on The FBI in addition to musical comedy appearances on The Hollywood Palace and the Joey Bishop Show.
LOLA FALANA SUPERSTAR
Lola Falana had a brief career in what many would call the 'Blackspoitation' market - except that a couple of her films might be better categorized as 'Whitesploitation' or 'Grindhouse' movies since they centered around the violent behavior of rednecks down South.
Her first American big screen starring role occurred in The Liberation of LB Jones, directed by the legendary William Wyler in 1970.
Wyler teamed Lola with Lee Majors (6 Million Dollar Man), Lee J. Cobb, Yaphet Kotto, Barbara Hershey and Anthony Zerbe in a sticky story of murder, adultery and bigotry in a small town (is there any other kind of town in the South?).
Famous for his work with the greatest screen actresses of all time - stars like Bette Davis, Merle Oberon and Barbra Streisand - this was Wyler's disappointing follow-up to the box office smash Funny Girl. It would be his last motion picture, he died soon after.
Screenwriter Sterling Silliphant described The Liberation of LB Jones as dealing with a rich Black man (Roscoe Lee Browne), "who is cuckolded by a white man and who, as a man cherishing his dignity, demands that his white lawyer get him a divorce - an action that uncovers a a barrel of civil rights fish in a Southern town..." Lola costarred as the two-timing wife who ignites a race war by having an affair with a white cop.
One reviewer proclaimed The Liberation of LB Jones, "the first American movie to countenance and even condone bloody revenge by the black against his white oppressor." Director Wyler stated his simple intent, "I wanted the audience to go out with a sense of guilt, of embarrassment at knowing what was going on and perhaps a feeling that they should do something."
Lola was a guest on The Flip Wilson Show in the fall of 1970, where this was an exchange between the lady and the host:
Flip: "Lola, do you have a boyfriend?"
Flip:" Maybe it's because you use too many four letter words. Like don't, can't, won't."
She was photographed in the nude for a Playboy spread that year to promote the film and increase visibility - so to speak - for her career. In 1971, she announced her marriage to Feliciano Tavares, a musician from Cape Cod and began a string of eight appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson between November, 1971 and December, 1972.
Lola Falana was the first supporting player Cosby hired for his highly-anticipated variety hour, The New Bill Cosby Show, debuting September 11, 1972 on CBS.
Cosby met Lola back in his college days, when he was a struggling comic and she was all of 14 years old dancing in the Philadelphia nightclubs for ten bucks a show.
With Lola Falana's saucy gyrations and music provided by the superlative Quincy Jones Orchestra, The New Bill Cosby Show was one of the funniest and freshest programs of the 71-72 season. Produced by Laugh-In creator George Schlatter, this highly-entertaining program had Lola serving as announcer and acting in skits as well. The show lasted only one full season but Falana and Cosby appeared together again on TV several times during the seventies.
hand grenade of a woman
Lola's next motion picture, The Burning Cross (better known as The Klansman), was directed by Terrence Young, the man behind two of the best James Bond films, Dr. No and Thunderball. Another violent race based movie set in the South, The Burning Cross thrust Lola together with Richard Burton, Lee Marvin and O.J. Simpson in a graphically violent potboiler; mid-seventies Drive-in fare.
The Burning Cross was intended to be a higher quality film than most movies considered a part of the Blacksploitation genre, which was in full swing by 1974. Both Burton and Marvin were rip-roaring drunk throughout the entire production, and the movie was fronted by an exploitative ad campaign that screamed: "Red necks. White hoods. And raped black girls. O.J.'s grabbing a gun and going to war."
Lady Cocoa (also released as Pop Goes the Weasel) cast Lola as a sexy con artist released from prison for 24 hours to snag her ex-boyfriend / pimp.
This obscure 1975 film featured football players Gene Washington, Alex Dreier and Mean Joe Greene; footballers were popular actors in the Blacksploitation genre.
Lola had a minor disco hit in 1975, "There's A Man Out There Somewhere." That same year she entered into what must have seemed like a dream project - returning to the Broadway stage as the lead in a new musical, Doctor Jazz.
With music and arrangements by Buster Davis & Luther Henderson and orchestrations by Dick Hyman & Sy Oliver, Doctor Jazz should have been a winner. Jazz music was popular again and the nation was in the throws of a nostalgia craze in 1975; but Doctor Jazz failed to click and closed after five performances in four days.
Despite this failure, NY Times critic Clive Barnes praised Lola as, "a hand grenade of a woman." She scored a Tony nomination and won the 1975 Theater World Award for her performance.
Single-again, Lola could be seen staring out from the cover of Jet magazine in 1975. "Sex is easy to take," she told Jet readers. "Love is hard to give."
Lola was booked on the Tonight Show June 4th, then landed a regular spot on Ben Vereen's August, 1975 NBC summer replacement series, Comin' at Cha. This was a natural pairing as Vereen had just come off the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Pippin.
She was also seen on Sammy and Company, Sammy Davis Jr's talk variety show taped at Harrah's Casino in Lake Tahoe.
Singer Dancer Lola Falana conquered not only television... she was a Broadway star and one of the most popular acts on the Las Vegas Strip and Lake Tahoe casinos!
Article about Lola
Falana's charity work
Lola Falana's last network primetime appearance was as Casey's Secretary in a 1990 episode of Mad About You. She was also seen on Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration in 1990.
Please consider a donation
so we can continue this work!
Pass your 70-515 on first try using 642-637 practices questions and 640-822 icnd1 prepared by certified experts to provide you guaranteed success; they also prepare ccda exam & 646-578 resources with full devotion.
Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / Classic Christmas Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Variety Shows of the 1970s: The Carol Burnett Shows / The Jacksons /Summer Season Shows of the 70s / The Golddiggers / Joey and Dad / Lola Falana / Van Dyke and Company / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / The Andy Williams Show / The Smothers Brothers Show / The Flip Wilson Show / The Sonny and Cher Shows / Glen Campbell / Goodtime Hour / The New Bill Cosby / The Bobby Darin Show / The Cher Show / The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour / The Richard Pryor Show / Sound clips / George Burns / Jack Paar's Goodbyes / Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour / Pink Lady and Jeff / Red Skelton / 1966 Carol Channing Special / Hee Haw / George Carlin / Great Variety Show Moments / The Golddiggers at the 2009 Grammys / Timmie Rogers / The Andrews Sisters / Dean Martin Show / Bob Hope's 1976 Star Studded Special / Wayland Flowers & Madame / 1970's Variety Show Moments / More 1970's Variety Show Moments / Sha Na Na / Bob Einstein Interview / Still More 1970's Variety Show Moments
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|