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Lola Falana is one of our most popular pages here at Life in Spite of MS, so we thought we'd try to add a little more info about her. She has not been in the public eye for several years as far as we can tell, so it's a little difficult to find information. We thought it would be fun to include links to some of her movies and other television appearances that we located around the internet.
This version of Lady Cocoa was released in 2002. You can watch it on Amazon Prime or buy the DVD if you have a machine to play it on. A solid B Blaxploitation film, according to the plot description:
"A young woman is released from prison in order to help the government build a case against her gangster boyfriend. Lots of violence, explicit language and adult situations keep this "blaxploitation" film moving forward from beginning to end."
If you're a music enthusiast and still have a record player, here is one of her popular singles on vinyl, "It's a Good Feelin'". This version became available in 2015. That's not when she performed it of course, but when it became available to purchase on Amazon.
Here are a couple articles in People's Archives, one titled "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola's Getting: She's Tigress of Her Own Spots and Specials", written by Lois Armstrong in 1976. In it she tells the story of her amicable divorce from husband Feliciano Tavares, stating that it was "one of the most adorable divorces in the history of America, so warm and cute,” cooed Falana. “There was never a harsh word. We said to our lawyer, ‘Listen, how long will this take? We’ve got a tennis date, and then we want to go out for dinner!’ ”
Another article, written in December of 1997 called "Singing Praise", features a more subdued Lola. She's no longer singing and dancing on Broadway. At this point in her life, she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had turned to her faith for inspiration and healing.
After Jet published about her diagnosis on February 22 of 1988, she wrote her fans a Love Letter in the July 25th issue of that same year.
In another article in the August 1989 issue of Jet magazine, she shares this: “What a difference a day makes. One day I’m standing tall and listening to applause of fans and the next day I’m a cripple lying in bed reading mail from fans.”
She explains that "One day in either 1989 or ’90, “I was out driving,” says Falana, a longtime casual Episcopalian. “My car just pulled into the parking lot of a Catholic church…I went in and something inside of me said, ‘Welcome home.’ ”
At that time she was still traveling around the country, not to sing and dance, but to share her faith. “There is nothing in the nightclub world that includes God.”
Instead of taking traditional medications, she talked to her friend and comedian, Dick Gregory. He was into healthy foods and suggested she eat fresh fruit, veggies, and drink water. She had always been active and even though she was in pain, she took on a rigorous exercise program which included lifting weights, walking on a treadmill, jumping on a trampoline, as well as physical therapy.
She had several relapses, but she finally went into remission, which she attributed to God. In the same Jet article, she responded to an audience member during a brief period of sold out performances that, “I’m not cured, but I’m healed. Cure is what medicine does. Heal is what God does.”
After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and subsequent healing which she felt happened while she lived with her parents, Her whole life went in a different direction. She even converted to Catholicism and dedicated her life to encourage others who listen to her on the radio to do the same.
She didn't like being called a star anymore, yet she feels content in the life she lives now. She felt like she was reborn, even though the healing was slow, it allowed her to deepen her faith and become celibate. In 1996, she appeared in a documentary called Miracles and Visions: (Fact or Fiction?) with host Roma Downey to talk about her healing.
We're not sure if Lola Falana is still active with the the group - Save Sub-Saharan Orphans, through the Lambs of God - both of which are no longer active according to the website. Hopefully they will resurface and people will be able to support her.
If any visitors find out any news about her or her charities, please be sure to update us hear. We will gladly provide updates and links to those who would like to learn more about her current state.
In the meantime, here is one of Lola's concerts where she is introduced as "The First Lady of Las Vegas Entertainment. If you've ever watched her performances, you will enjoy this replay of one of her energetic live shows. You can also subscribe to the channel to watch even more of her performances. The second link below is a compilation of 49 videos, from Sesame Street, to chit chatting with Sammy Davis Jr. We hope you enjoy these videos and clips.
So many have contacted us wishing to connect with Lola Falana. We have no way of doing that, however we recently found a possible way to reach her. On the website IMDB, if you login and become a pro member (which includes a cost - we are not affiliated with them), you may be able to access her contact information, agent information, and a resume. We are not members of the site, so can only provide a link to the page where you can sign up for it yourself.
Another in depth article can be found here on a website called Encylopedia.com about Lola Falana.