Lei Becker


Leilehua Becker Furtado was born in Honolulu and made her professional debut as a dancer at age five, with the Beamer-Desha family troupe (her mother was Ida Desha). She then danced at the Moana and the Royal, and at age nine, danced for President Roosevelt's 1936 visit to Hawaii. She went to Stanford and the University of California, become an accomplished painter and singer.

She sang with the Joe Richman orchestra at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, and came back to the Royal to sing with Jack DeMello and Hilo Hattie. She toured the mainland with Hal Aloma, and spent two years at the Hotel Lexington as producer, emcee, choreographer, hula dancer, costume designer and lead vocalist. During this time, she appeared on the Arthur Godfrey Show and several others. She was hired by Claude Thornhill, who had heard her sing during the war, and using the stage name Paula Martin, and started recording.

A spinal ailment brought her back to Hawaii, where she recovered and sang at Queen's Surf and was a regular on J Akuhead Pupule's TV show. She starred in several community theatre productions and several other local TV series. She starred in Nalani Kele's Polynesian Revue in Las Vegas and returned to Hawaii in 1969 to marry and raise a family. She performed at many benefits and composed 'My Christmas Song.'

Biographical material from Tony Todaro, The Golden Years of Hawaiian Entertainment (Tony Todaro Pub., 1974).