a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Lola Flores

Flamenco dancer, singer, and actress Lola Flores was as famous for her dark mane, drawn brow, heavily made-up eyes, and scorching red lips as she was for her songs and movies. The Spanish-born Andalusian beauty, who was part Gypsy, began hoofing as a child in her father's bar. When her performance in a local play landed the 16-year-old a feature film role (Martingala, 1939), Flores struck while she was hot: recording her first album, touring internationally, and appearing in more than 20 movies during the forties and fifties. Off screen, Flores split with husband numero uno and entertained a series of lovers, before her 1957 marriage to legendary guitarist Antonio "El Pescaílla" González. In 1991, at age 68, the multihyphenate returned to the spotlight when she spent 16 months in prison for tax fraud—and emerged, in true diva fashion, to accept a lifetime achievement medal from the Spanish government in 1994, a year before her death. Recently, Jennifer Lopez recorded a song about "Lola de España" for her latest album, and although the track was subsequently dropped, J. Lo's nod to another hard-working Latina beauty clearly demonstrates how Flores' espiritu lives on.

—Sarah Cristobal

Subscribe to today!