She was once paid $100,000 a week: 11 things you may not know about the amazing Lola Falana

Published On September 12, 2014 | By Admin | Afro pic 70s, Amazing black women, Entertainment, Extraordinary women, The latest posts

1) Loletha Elayne “Lola” Falana was born on September 11, 1942 in Camden, New Jersey

2) By the age of three, Lola was dancing, and by five, she was singing in the church choir, so her talent was apparent at an early age

3) In middle school, she was even dancing in night clubs, escorted by her mother. She got her first professional gig at “Smalls Paradise” in Harlem, leaving high school a few months before graduation.

4) Lola was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr while performing at a night club. He gave her a role in his 1964 Broadway musical, “Golden Boy.” He continued to mentor her for years, casting her alongside himself, Ossie Davis and Cicely Tyson in her first film role for “A Man Called Adam.”

5) Lola was a huge star in Italy, starting around 1967. She even became fluent in Italian and starred in three films. She was known as “Black Venus.”

6) Lola ended her working relationship with Sammy in 1969, but said that they were still friends. “I would always be known as the little dancer with Sammy Davis Jr. … I wanted to be known as something more,” she told TV Guide. The previous year, it turns out that people realized that the relationship was more than “mentorship.” As Davis was divorced by his second wife, May Britt, it was revealed that he was having an affair with Falana.

7) In 1970, Lola made her American film debut in “The Liberation of LB Jones,” and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. She also posed in Playboy Magazine.

8) She was the first supporting actress to be hired by Bill Cosby for “The New Bill Cosby Show” in 1972. Cosby met Felana while he was a struggling comic in college and she was a 14-year old dancing for $10 a show in night clubs.

9) Falana eventually took her act to Las Vegas with the help of Sammy Davis Jr. She became one of the biggest performers in the city, raking in a massive $100,000 a week from The Aladdin hotel and casino. In fact, she became the highest-paid performer in Las Vegas.

10) After Lola’s show was cancelled in 1987, she had a relapse of multiple sclerosis. The disease paralyzed her entire left side and she was partially blind. She credits her spirituality for her recovery.

11) Lola eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, and made religion an important part of her life. She eventually founded Lambs of God Ministry and is working to help orphaned children from Sub-Saharan Africa.

What an amazing life she has lived!



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