Name: Lola Falana
Birth Name: Loletha Elaine Falana
Born: September 11, 1942 in Camden, New Jersey
Nickname: First Lady of Las Vegas
Claim To Fame: Lola is no doubt known as an all around entertainer. Perhaps she's best known for her signature song "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets."
Family Life: Feliciano Tavares (1971 - 1975) (divorced)
Info: Lola Falana left home as a teenager to seek her fortune in entertainment. She often slept in subway stations before finding work. She Studied African dance, and her big break was appearing opposite Sammy Davis Jr. in "Golden Boy" in 1964. She then toured Italy and won fame there in two Italian movies. She toured with the Tavares Brothers in the 1970s and married Feliciano "Butch" Tavares. In 1979, Lola became the highest-paid entertainer in Las Vegas, thus earning her the title, "First Lady of Las Vegas".
Trivia: Is of African-American and Cuban descent.
Posed Naked for Playboy 1970
Was nominated for Broadway's 1975 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for
Was a protege of Dinah Washington.
Recorded on Reprise Records, the label owned by Frank Sinatra.
The SCTV character "Lola Heatherton," played by Catherine O’Hara, was derived
from the first name of Lola Falana and the last name of Joey Heatherton. See the
Joey Heatherton by
Revelation: On September 10th, 2001, the eve of her 59th birthday, Falana's
evening prayers were interrupted by a "voice."
As Falana later recounted to Jet magazine, the voice said, "Today is the last
day things will be as they are. Tomorrow nothing will be the same again."
The next day Falana, who lived in Las Vegas at the time, got a call from her
mother in Philadelphia about the attacks.
"It made me become a servant for God," Falana said. "I know beyond a shadow of a
doubt that God lives and that He is the authority on everything on this earth.
What He allows is for
the greater good for humanity."
Where Is She Now: Was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; after a brief
period of (1987) remission, her MS returned in 1996.
"I woke up one day with a crooked face, a crooked mouth, and dragging limbs,"
Lola told Ebony magazine in 1988. "The whole left side - my arms and legs were
dragging. And I woke up one day and said okay, it's not about physical prowess
and glamour any more, Falana."
She had been stricken with Multiple Sclerosis. Left in a crippled state, it was
impossible to continue performing, forcing the cancellation of nearly $2 million
dollars in signed contracts.
With help from family and friends, Lola Falana methodically battled her way back
to health and made a triumphant return to Las Vegas in 1989 with several
sold-out shows at the Sand's Hotel. But Lola's priorities had shifted during her
illness; she turned her back on the entertainment industry after that Vegas gig.
Lola has recovered sufficiently from her second attack of multiple sclerosis in
1996, which sent her to her parents' home in Philadelphia, to make her own home
in her beloved Las Vegas.
In 1991 she converted to Catholicism and began giving lectures in churches that
are described as part sermon, part personal memoir.
After 9/11, Falana became a spokeswoman for Save Sub-Saharan Orphans but refuses
to give interviews about her show biz career it's said she despises her former
life and shuns all publicity
Her sole public performance since 1990 was joining Wayne Newton on stage for his
1997 Branson Christmas show.
Today Lola Falana lives a quiet life in the city of Las Vegas.