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Falana, Lola (1942–)

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FALANA, LOLA (1942–). Actress, dancer, singer. She was born Loletha Elaine Falana and began dancing in nightclubs while she was still in junior high school. Determined and ambitious, she relocated to New York City to begin her career in show business, but it did not happen overnight and she often fell on hard times. Her big break came when entertainer extraodinaire Sammy Davis Jr. saw her in an Atlantic City chorus line and hired her as the lead dancer in his Broadway show, Golden Boy , in 1964. As a singer, Falana released her first single called "My Baby" and was invited to perform on the popular television variety show Hullabaloo . Moving to film, she had a small part in A Man Called Adam, 1966, with Sammy Davis Jr., Ossie Davis, and Frank Sinatra. The world of Las Vegas welcomed her with an opening spot for comedian Don Adams. In 1967, Falana began making movies in Italy , where she was hailed as the Black Venus. Her first Italian film was the spaghetti western Lola Colt: Face to Face with the Devil . The following year she made two more, Stasera Mi Butto and Quando Dico Che Ti Amo , 1968. Her television acting career began in 1969 in The FBI , and appearances on Hollywood Palace and the Joey Bishop Show . Her first starring role in an American film was in famed director William Wyler’s The Liberation of L. B. Jones , 1970. She also portrayed the title role in Lady Cocoa , 1975. She continued to act throughout the 1970s on both stage and screen, winning numerous awards. She moved into advertising with a series of highly successful ads for Faberge Tigress perfume. Falana also hosted her own variety series.

Filmography: A Man Called Adam , 1956; The Liberation of L. B. Jones , 1970; The Klansman , 1974; Lady Cocoa , 1975.

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