Flores, Lola


Flores, Lola
b. 1923, Jerez de la Frontera; d. 1995, Madrid
   Flamenco singer
   Lola Flores was a flamboyant figure who created her own legend and became a popular icon for nearly half a century. The daughter of a bar-owner and a half-gypsy mother, she began singing and dancing flamenco round the cafés of Jerez at the age of ten. By the time she was fifteen, she was touring Andalusia with a variety company, and in 1940 she settled in Madrid. At a time of stifling conformity, she defied convention with a long and much publicized affair with the flamenco singer Manolo Caracol, the first of many lovers, reportedly including football stars, bullfighters and film directors. In addition to touring Spain and South America with flamenco shows, she appeared in many films, and by the late 1950s was reputed to earn a million pesetas per picture, a fabulous sum at that time. Her nickname La Faraona (a gypsy term meaning "the Queen" (of flamenco)), derived from one of her songs, aptly encapsulated her lifestyle.
   In 1957, she married an impoverished Catalan singer, Antonio González ("El Pescaílla"), with whom she lived happily for nearly forty years, and had three children, Lolita, Antonio and Rosario, who also made careers in music and the cinema, though with somewhat more modest success. Her later years were marred by difficulties over unpaid arrears of tax, when she was prosecuted in 1989 for failing to declare her income for the years 1982 to 1985.
   Lola Flores became a national institution to the extent that she was frequently asked to perform for Franco on 18 July, the anniversary of the military insurrection which began the Civil War. After the dictator's death, she had to defend herself against a wave of criticism for apparently compromising with the regime, but in the long run her popularity remained undimmed. When she died from cancer in May 1995, she lay in state in an auditorium in the Centro Cultural de la Villa (the Madrid city Cultural Centre), and some 150,000 people filed past her coffin amid scenes of great emotion. Her son Antonio was unable to come to terms with her death, and committed suicide two weeks later.
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Flores, Lola — (1925 or 28? 1995) (Dolores Flores Ruiz)    Spanish (born in Cádiz) musical performer and actress. She made her film debut in her native country in 1939 (some sources say 41), and was a major star there for many years. She appeared in a number of …   Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers

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