Born Loletha Elaine Falana in Camden, New Jersey, Lola is an American dancer, singer and actress of Cuban and African American descent. Falana's father left Cuba to become a welder in the United States, where he met his wife. Falana spent most of her childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Over her father's objections, at the age of 18 Falana left her family to make her way in New York City. Sleeping in subway cars until she could afford an apartment, Falana found a job dancing at Small's Paradise in Harlem. In 1964 she landed the role of lead dancer in Sammy Davis, Jr.'s Broadway musical Golden Boy, out-competing some 200 other aspiring dancers.
Falana made her first recording, "My Baby," for Mercury Records in 1965. She appeared on the television show Hullabaloo and recorded "Coconut Grove" and "Working in the Coal Mines." Falana appeared in her first film in 1966--A Man Called Adam starring Sammy Davis, Jr. From the 1960s on she was often featured as "beauty of the week" in Jet magazine.
Her first American big screen starring role occurred in "The Liberation of LB Jones," directed by the legendary William Wyler in 1970.
Lola! was a series of four ABC specials broadcast during January and March of 1976. To distinguish the production from other variety shows of the era, Lola! took a decidedly urban attitude, often tackling serious issues hidden within cleverly-written comedy sketches.
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