Home Acctress Lola Flores: A Life of Passion, Music and Film

Lola Flores: A Life of Passion, Music and Film


Lola Flores was an iconic Spanish actress, dancer and singer renowned for her flamenco music and copla contributions in Andalusian folklore and her groundbreaking flamenco dancing performances. In addition to these accomplishments, Lola became known for her strong personality, controversial personal life decisions and role as matriarch to an impressive Spanish musical family tree that she established herself. We will discuss her life from humble beginnings in Jerez de la Frontera to international recognition and legacy here.

Early life and career beginnings

Lola Flores
Lola Flores

Lola Flores was born Maria Dolores Flores Ruiz on January 21st in Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia on January 21, 1923 to Pedro Flores Pinto and Rosaario Ruiz Rodriguez (both waiters). Although not a Gypsy herself, Lola grew up influenced by their culture and music during her formative years in Jerez de la Frontera.

Young Adele became interested in performing arts from an early age, singing and dancing at local festivals and taverns before learning guitar and castanets. By 16, she had made her stage debut as part of Luces de Espana in her hometown production; soon thereafter film director Fernando Mignoni recognized her talent and offered her a role in his film Martingala (1940).

Lola Flores settled in Madrid to pursue a professional music and film career and soon gained prominence through charismatic and emotive performances that blended flamenco, copla, rumba and ranchera music styles. Additionally, she collaborated with some of the greatest composers and lyricists such as Rafael de Leon, Manuel Lopez-Quiroga Miquel and Antonio Quintero at that time.

Career breakthrough and marriage

Lola Flores made her breakthrough role in Zambra as part of an unforgettable musical stage production starring Manolo Caracol, an acclaimed flamenco singer who later became her romantic partner for eight years. The show became an immense hit across Spain and Latin America and featured some of Lola Flores’ iconic songs including La Zarzamora and La Nina de Fuego – including her signature performances!

Embrujo (1947), La Lola se va a los puertos (1947) and La nina de la venta (1951) showcased her versatility as both actress and singer, while in 1951, she signed a five-film contract with Suevia Films worth 6 million pesetas – then the largest contract ever given to any performing artist in Spanish history – under which she starred in major productions such as!Ay, Penita Pena! (1953), La Danza de los Desireeos (1954) and El Balco De La Luna (1962; both produced signature songs A Tu Vera and!Ay, Penita Pena! coining her the nickname La Faraona (The Pharaoh).

Lola Flores married Antonio Gonzalez, commonly known as El Pescailla. They had three children together: Lolita, Antonio and Rosario who all became famous singers and actors themselves. Lola Flores and El Pescailla formed a musical duo and recorded several albums together such as Lola y el Pescailla (1960), La faraona y el Pescailla (1962) and Lola Flores y el Pescailla (1967).

Decline of copla and legal problems

Lola Flores experienced a decline in both her popularity and career during the 1960s as copla lost its appeal among younger audiences, the Spanish cinema industry became troubled, legal issues such as tax evasion were encountered (which resulted in fine of 20 million pesetas and brief imprisonment), along with scandal in 1968 when she was accused of smuggling jewels from Morocco were present as well.

Lola Flores never gave up and reinvented herself into a television star and showgirl. She hosted several programs such as Esta noche con Lola Flores (1967), Lola de noche (1978) and Sabor a Lolas (1984) where she interviewed celebrities, performed songs and sketches while showing off her humor and spontaneity. Additionally she made guest appearances in TV series like Juncal (1989) and El coraje de vivir (1990).

Lola Flores continued performing live and recording albums such as Lola Flores in New York (1965), Lola Flores y sus Hijos (1976), Lola, Lolita, Lola (1983) and De la Mano (1990). She collaborated with other artists such as Julio Iglesias, Rocio Jurado, Celia Cruz, Camaron de la Isla. Additionally she received several honors including the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts 1982 and Gold Medal of Andalusia 1994.

Death and legacy

Lola Flores died at 72 due to breast cancer in Alcobendas, Madrid on May 16, 1995, prompting national mourning and thousands attending her funeral service at Cementerio de la Almudena – alongside both her husband who also passed in 1995 and son who passed in 1994. Her body is interred here.

Lola Flores is one of the most beloved figures of Spanish culture and entertainment, widely revered as one of its pioneers and “biggest exporter of Andalusian culture to date”, often being recognized in documentaries such as Lola: la Pelicula (2007) or through television series like Madda in Spain or with memorable quotes like: “If You Love Me… Go Away”, which she said during one concert she gave in 1988.

Lola Flores led an exciting, passionate life replete with music and film; defying conventional thinking and stereotyping as she did so.

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