The half-Cuban, half-black showgirl got her initial break in the 60s as a backup dancer for Dinah Washington. Then her star further ascended through a mentorship (turned alleged marriage-wrecking romance) with Sammy Davis, Jr. In her heyday, Falana did it all. Even before attaining household name status in the U.S., she became a major star in Italy (moniker: "Black Venus"), frequently showcased in musical productions but even becoming an unexpected fixture in spaghetti westerns. Into the 70s, Lola did endless guest TV gigs, hosted her own ultra campy variety specials, starred in blaxploitation films, palled around with The Muppets, cut a disco record, and was the controversial spokemodel for Faberge's Tigress perfume line. Most significantly, Lola was crowned the Queen of Las Vegas. At her peak, she secured a $100,000-a-week gig at the Aladdin, making her the highest paid female entertainer in Sin City. Lola Falana retired in the late 80s after developing multiple sclerosis and finding religion. These clips range from surreal, psychedelic disco fever dream monstrosities full of neon and every then-cutting edge camera effect to creepy duets with dancers dressed as giant pandas and an even stranger drive-in date with ventriloquist Willie Tyler and his wisecracking sidekick Lester.
Lola Falana performs "Fame" in the 1982 Italian TV special "Made in Italy".
Lola Falana performs "Proud Mary" in the 1982 Italian TV special "Made in Italy".
1970's Grape Nuts Commercial
Lola Falana goes on a date to the drive-in with ventriloquist Willie Tyler and his puppet sidekick Lester. From 1976's "The Lola Falana Show".
Lola Falana performs "Working in a Coalmine" in an Italian short from 1967.
Lola Falana performs "You Made Me Love You" and "Gimme Some Lovin'" in an unknown late 70s/early 80s production.
Lola Falana Pays Tribute to the Black History
Lola Falana vs Sha Na Na - Rescue Me
Tom Jones & Lola Falana - I Love The Night Life