Lilian Garcia

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Lilian Garcia
Lilian Garcia Latin Grammys.jpg
Garcia in November 2007
Birth name Lilián Annette Garcia
Born (1966-08-19) August 19, 1966 (age 50)
Madrid, Spain
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
Alma mater University of South Carolina
Spouse(s) Christopher Jozeph[2] (m. 2009)
Website liliangarcia.com
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Lilian Garcia[3]
Billed height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[4]
Billed weight 110 lb (50 kg)[3][5]
Billed from New York City, New York
Debut August 23, 1999
Retired August 1, 2016

Lilián Annette Garcia[6] (born August 19, 1966)[7] is a Spanish-American former ring announcer and singer best known for her time with WWE. During her first tenure in WWE, she became the first WWE Diva to remain with the promotion for ten years.

Early life and career[edit]

García was born on August 19, 1966,[8] in Madrid, Spain.[9] She spent the first eight years of her life in Spain due to her father's employment with the American Embassy, and was educated on an American military base, leading her to describe herself as a "military brat".[10][11][12] She is fluent in English and Spanish.[4]

Upon returning to the United States, Garcia graduated from Irmo High School in Columbia, South Carolina. She went on to attend the University of South Carolina, graduating cum laude.[4]

García was a top ten finalist in the Miss South Carolina beauty pageant.[4] Garcia was also one-half of a popular morning show on radio station WYYS,"YES 97" in Columbia, South Carolina with Chuck Finley in the early '90s and later had her own drive time show.[13] She was a VJ in Atlanta, Georgia for WTLK-TV.[14] She also served as karaoke host at the Nitelites nightclub in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina.

Singing career[edit]

García began singing when she was a child in Madrid, Spain. She participated in singing contests with her sister starting when she was five-years-old.[15] In her early teens, she sang with a band at clubs around Columbia, South Carolina – her family moved to the United States of America when she was eight. Garcia's mom chaperoned so she could sing.[16] She appeared in the 1990 film Modern Love as a singer.

In addition to her announcing duties with WWE, García sang the national anthem of the United States of America before most Monday Night Raw shows from February 14, 2000, until her departure on September 21, 2009.[15][17] She sang "America the Beautiful" at WrestleMania 2000, WrestleMania 21 and WrestleMania XXVIII, joining a list of recording artists that includes Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, Gladys Knight and Willie Nelson. With her performance at WrestleMania XXVIII, she surpassed Franklin for most musical performances at WrestleMania. Garcia now holds the record for most musical performances at WrestleMania with three.[18]

After joining WWE, García became a fixture in professional sports with performances for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. She also performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Dancing with the Stars and as an opening act for James Brown.[19]

Garcia performing the United States national anthem during a WWE show

García's first single, "Shout", debuted at No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2002. On her reaction to the news, Garcia said in 2007, "When my single came out years ago, and it was just a single, I remember the very first week it charted No. 69, and I was screaming as I grabbed Billboard, running down the streets of New York, holding it up and screaming, 'I made Billboard! I made Billboard!' I'm dreaming for that moment again."[20]

Garcia recorded Torrie Wilson's entrance theme, "Need A Little Time", for WWE Anthology, a compilation album WWE released in November 2002. She co-wrote "You Just Don't Know Me At All" with producers Doug Kistner and Anthony Krizan, which WWE released in January 2004 on the WWE Originals album and became her entrance theme.[21]

García began work on a solo album in 2005 with Grammy award-winning record producers George Noriega and Tim Mitchell, who worked with multi-platinum artists such as Shakira, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez. Her album ¡Quiero Vivir!, which is Spanish for "I Want to Live!," got released on October 9, 2007, via Universal Music Latino. Garcia co-wrote 11 songs on the album, including three with Jon Secada, who she duets with on "Adonde". The album features 10 Spanish language tracks, and two English translations; "Under in Love" ("Desenamorada") and "Where Did Love Go?" ("Adonde").[22][23][24] The title track, "¡Quiero Vivir!", became her entrance theme.

After leaving WWE in September 2009, García began work on a follow-up album. She reunited with Noriega and Mitchell to record the first song in Miami, Florida in February 2011.[25] Garcia also recorded tracks with Grammy-nominated producer Oh, Hush!.[26] On August 17, 2012, Garcia released an EP titled My Time. The EP features six English tracks: "U Drive Me Loca", "Ur Girl (til the end of the world)", "Fix You", "Over & Over", "Tell Me", and "My Time."[27] To promote the release of My Time, Garcia made her music video debut in December 2011 with "U Drive Me Loca."[28] The second song off the album, "Ur Girl ('Til the End of the World)", was her entrance theme during her return to WWE.[29] She released a music video for the track in March 2012.[30] In January 2013, Garcia released a music video for "Over & Over".[31]

Garcia appeared at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on February 13, 2011, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.[32] Her appearance on the red carpet got shown the following night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[33]

On May 27, 2014, Garcia announced that she and her band, The Fuse, would be performing at Club Madrid in the Sunset Station Casino in Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas. She performed her first show on June 14, 2014.[34]

Discography[edit]

Lilian Garcia
Birth name Lilián Annette Garcia
Genres Pop, dance, rock
Years active 2007–present
Website www.liliangarcia.com

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment[edit]

Ring announcing and storyline involvements (1999–2008)[edit]

García was hired by the World Wrestling Federation as a ring announcer in 1999. She made her debut on the August 23, 1999, episode of Raw is War in Ames, Iowa.[37] She was involved in her first angle on the September 13 episode of Raw is War, when Jeff Jarrett applied a figure four leglock to her after she angered him by announcing his loss by disqualification to Luna Vachon.[38]

Garcia's second angle occurred on the December 13, 1999, episode of Raw. Lilian introduced Miss Kitty for a Women's Championship chocolate pudding pool match. After Lilian announced her, Miss Kitty grabbed the mic and informed Lilian that she was now to be known as "The Kat". Her opponent, Tori, came out for their match and right after the two women began, X-Pac came poolside in a skin diving suit complete with snorkel, flippers, and goggles. As he was adjusting his goggles Tori jumped on his back causing both of them to fall into the pool with X-Pac landing up on top of Tori, giving Miss Kitty an easy pinfall. Lilian announced the winner as "Miss Kitty", which infuriated The Kat, who threw Lilian into the pool of pudding.

Garcia sang the national anthem of the United States of America for the first time on February 11, 2000, at a house show in Denver, Colorado. After hearing that she did a great job, Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon had her sing the anthem before Raw went on the air on February 14, 2000, in San Jose, California. Impressed with her performance, McMahon then had Garcia sing the anthem every week before Raw.[15][39] Her first televised performance aired on April 2, 2000, where she opened WrestleMania 2000 in Anaheim, California.

Following the September 11 attacks, Garcia sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the September 13, 2001, episode of SmackDown!, receiving a standing ovation. In the course of the evening, Garcia commented on the attacks, saying "Well, to say the least, this has been a real roller coaster of a week. And especially because I live in New York City. I have loved ones there, and I'm just very fortunate and very glad that a specific one didn't get to go to his meeting at 8:30 in the morning that he was supposed to be at the Twin Towers, and so I thank God for that, and I still don't know about a lot of my friends. I have, we'll be finding out, I guess, little by little. I pray for everybody there..."[40]

In August 2002, García briefly feuded with rival announcer Howard Finkel after Finkel left her to be decimated by 3-Minute Warning, culminating in an "evening gown versus tuxedo match" that Garcia won with the assistance of Stacy Keibler and Trish Stratus.[41]

During the Memorial Day episode of Raw on May 26, 2003, Garcia was singing "America the Beautiful" to the crowd when she was interrupted by La Résistance members Sylvain Grenier and René Duprée as they insult America saying they should've been more like the French and they mock the American people by calling them "fat and ugly". Just then, Garcia's friend, Co-General Manager Stone Cold Steve Austin came down to the ring and tossed Grenier out of the ring and delivered a Stunner to Duprée. After the two Frenchmen walked out of the ring, Austin sang America the Beautiful with Lilian and the two celebrated with a beer bash.

During the November 30 episode f Raw, Garcia announced Trish Stratus as the winner of a bra and panties match over Jackie Gayda. Infuriated, Gayda stripped Garcia down to her black undergarments.

García attends a WWE red carpet event

In June 2005, García began an on-screen romance with wrestler Viscera. The angle saw García propose to Viscera, stating that she wanted to marry him during the Vengeance pay-per-view on June 26. The angle ended at Vengeance when Viscera rejected Garcia in favor of The Godfather's Hos. The angle was briefly resurrected eleven months later when Viscera proposed to Garcia on the May 22, 2006, episode of Raw, but was interrupted by Umaga before receiving an answer.[42]

García took part in her first major Diva publication in 2005 with the release of the Divas 2005 swimsuit magazine and related DVD Viva Las Divas of the WWE.[12]

On the June 5, 2006, episode of Raw, Garcia (legitimately) suffered a sprained wrist when wrestler Charlie Haas inadvertently knocked her to the ground as she stood on the ring apron. One week later, the accident was metamorphosed into a storyline, with Haas incurring the wrath of Viscera. The storyline ended on the July 10, 2006, episode of Raw, when Viscera accidentally performed a Samoan drop on Garcia while confronting Haas. Garcia was removed from television for several weeks in order to sell the Samoan drop.

García took part in her second major Diva publication in 2007 with the release of WWE Divas Do San Antonio, in honor of the WWE being in San Antonio for the Royal Rumble.

She returned to announcing on the July 2, 2007, episode of Raw after taking time off to recover from a skiing injury in which she tore the ACL in her right knee. She was not fully recovered as was evident from her only announcing the first two matches from the ring and the rest from the floor.

On the August 6, 2007, episode of Raw, Garcia announced her new album entitled "Quiero Vivir". Lilian then started a feud with Jillian Hall, who claimed to be a better singer than Lilian. The next week, she competed in WWE Idol, a parody of American Idol, in which she sang "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra before being interrupted by Santino Marella.

Retirement and part-time appearances (2009–2010)[edit]

In addition to announcing on Raw and pay-per-view matches, Garcia also announced on WWE Superstars, making her first appearance on April 23, 2009.[43]

During the last week of August 2009, Garcia celebrated ten years with WWE, becoming the organization's first and only "Decade Diva".

On the September 21, 2009, episode of Raw from Little Rock, Arkansas, Jerry Lawler announced to the live audience that it was Garcia's final night with WWE. Garcia then made an emotional speech in the ring, thanking the fans and all of her colleagues. The final match she announced live featured Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Big Show taking on the team of John Cena, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Mark Henry, although a match between Primo and Chris Masters was taped earlier that evening and aired three days later on WWE Superstars, marking her final television appearance.

Garcia made a special appearance before the Madison Square Garden audience on November 16, 2009, singing The Star-Spangled Banner prior to the evening's Raw telecast. Garcia filled in for Raw ring announcer Justin Roberts on April 19, 2010, due to being stranded in Europe with other WWE Superstars and crew as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption. Her appearance caused a surge in online searches, resulting in the term "Lilian Garcia" becoming the eighth most searched-for term on Google that evening and into the next day.

Second return to WWE (2011–2016)[edit]

Garcia in March 2015

On December 5, 2011, WWE announced that Garcia would be returning to ring announcing full-time, appearing on SmackDown.[44] She returned at the December 6 tapings of the show. She also served as the ring announcer for Main Event and pay-per-views.

Garcia suffered accidents prior to SmackDown tapings in 2012. While heading to the ring prior to the March 13 taping in Columbus, Ohio, the strap on her left shoe broke. One month later, during the April 17 taping in London, England, she tripped over pyrotechnic equipment on the top of the stage and fell down on the ramp, landing on her knees. On the April 19, 2013, episode of SmackDown, Garcia was instructed dance steps by Fandango and insulted.

On the June 6, 2014, episode of SmackDown, she was involved in a confrontation with Alicia Fox after Fox lost a match to Natalya. On October 20, 2014, after Justin Roberts was released from WWE, Garcia returned as the full-time ring announcer for Raw.[45][46] Lilian returned from knee surgery on May 31 at Elimination Chamber.[47]

On August 1, 2016, Garcia announced her departure from WWE due to wanting to care for her ailing father, who was battling two different unidentified types of cancer.[48] She made a one-night return on December 14, 2016, at WWE Tribute to the Troops where she sang the American national anthem. On December 26, Garcia announced that her father had died on Christmas Day.

Podcasting and The Price Is Right appearance[edit]

After leaving WWE, Garcia began hosting two podcasts, "Making Their Way to the Ring" and the Spanish-language "Luchando Con Lilian Garcia", distributed by Maria Menounos' AfterBuzz TV network. She also appeared on the March 31, 2017, episode of The Price Is Right as a contestant, winning fashion accessories and a trip to London, England.

Personal life[edit]

García was previously married, but has since divorced.[49] Garcia married her second husband, Christopher Jozeph,[50] on September 28, 2009.[51]

On March 17, 2007, García twisted her knee in heavy snow while skiing in Killington, Vermont, incurring a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She underwent surgery on her knee on April 5, 2007, in New York City under Dr. Armin Tehrany.[52] She returned to Raw on July 2.

On November 6, 2009, Garcia almost got robbed during the New York Yankees' 2009 World Series ticker-tape parade. She said that a "punk kid" came up to her and tried to steal her phone. When Garcia wouldn't relinquish the phone, the assailant threw her to the ground and ran away. Garcia suffered a scraped elbow.[53]

On October 26, 2012, Garcia was struck by a car in Los Angeles, causing multiple contusions and lacerations on the left side of her body. Doctors immobilized Garcia's neck, after which she was said to be in a stable condition. She was released from the hospital two days later.[54]

On March 31, 2017, Garcia appeared on CBS daytime game show The Price is Right as a contestant during the show's College Rivals special (taped February 12, 2017)[55] representing her Alma Mater University of South Carolina. She competed for a trip to London in which she won.

In wrestling[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "WWE Announcer Struck by Car, Hospitalized". Fox News. October 29, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Lilian Garcia profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved July 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Lilián García – Biography". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Lillian Garcia". 
  6. ^ "Lilián Garcia Profile at WRESTLINGDATA.COM". 
  7. ^ "The Sumter Daily Item - Google". 
  8. ^ "The Sumter Daily Item - Google". 
  9. ^ "Lilian Garcia discusses her new CD, working for WWE, whether she'd ever want to step into the ring & more". PWInsider. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ "12/19 WWE Raw report: Raw Express: Tribute to the Troops". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 17, 2014. Vince then introduced Lilian Garcia, nothing that she was an army brat herself. 
  11. ^ Garcia, Lilian (January 9, 2007). "Spain Blog". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Waldman, Jon (May 25, 2005). "Divas don't all shine in Viva Las Divas". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  13. ^ "AfterBuzz TV's Lilian Garcia: Making Their Way To The Ring". AfterBuzz TV. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Lilian Garcia Bio". Lilian Garcia Official Website. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c Medalis, K. (March 30, 2007). "Lilian Garcia, All Grown Up". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
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  19. ^ "Lilian Garcia at MySpace Music".
  20. ^ Medalis, K. (October 9, 2007). "¡Quiero Vivir!' on sale today". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  21. ^ Perry,C. (January 2004). "Lilian Garcia Interview 2004". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Lillian Garcia – Quiero Vivir! CD". CD Universe. Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Diva Dish: Lilian's big week". WWE. Retrieved September 28, 2007. 
  24. ^ Williams III, Ed (January 13, 2006). "Lilian Garcia records duet with Jon Secada". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  25. ^ "Former WWE announcer Garcia ready to make music again". Miami Herald. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
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  29. ^ "Lilian Garcia's Entrance at Monday Night Raw". YouTube. September 11, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Lilian Garcia "Ur Girl (til the end of the world)" Official Music Video". YouTube. March 2, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Over & Over (Official Music Video)". YouTube. January 30, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Terry Funk Returns To WWE + Lillian At The Grammys". Wrestling Inc. February 13, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Lilian Garcia Returns To Television, WrestleMania Ticket Sales, The Death Of ECW". Rajah. February 16, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Lilian Garcia & The Fuse come to Vegas every Saturday". WWE. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  35. ^ "2008 Año de Exitos Pop". iTunes. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  36. ^ "My Time - EP Lilian Garcia". iTunes. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  37. ^ Zimmerman, Christopher (August 23, 1999). "RAW – 23 August 1999". Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  38. ^ Zimmerman, Christopher (September 13, 2009). "RAW – 13 September 1999". Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  39. ^ "Lilian Garcia Speaks Out - The Rock's Influence, WWE". Wrestling Inc. March 21, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Smackdown – 13 September 2001". Retrieved September 6, 2009. 
  41. ^ a b Paul, Nemer (August 26, 2002). "Full WWE RAW Results - 8/26/02 (Kane Returns)". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  42. ^ Tywalk, Nick (June 28, 2005). "Raw: A return worthy of Hollywood". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved April 7, 2007. 
  43. ^ "Straight ahead to Backlash". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  44. ^ "Lilian Garcia returning to WWE TV". Pro Wrestling Torch. December 5, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Really really surprising WWE release". pwinsider.com. 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  46. ^ Daniel, Pena (April 17, 2015). "Lilian Garcia Injury Update - What Led To Her Undergoing Knee Surgery, When She Will Return To WWE". Wrestling INC. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  47. ^ CJ, BLAZE (May 31, 2015). "Lilian Garcia Returns, The New Day Retains". WRESTLING NEWS WORLD. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  48. ^ Caldwell, James. "Lilian Garcia announces WWE exit". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  49. ^ Ross, Jim (April 6, 2007). "Internet Rumors". Retrieved April 7, 2007. I know that Lilian was married... 
  50. ^ "WWE Announcer Struck by Car, Hospitalized". Fox News. October 29, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  51. ^ "Leaving". LilianGarcia.com. Retrieved June 28, 2009. 
  52. ^ Manhattan Orthopedic Care (March 2, 2015). "Torn ACL: MOC Video Testimonial". Manhattan Orthopedic Care. 
  53. ^ "Former WWE personality Lilian Garcia files assault charges". 
  54. ^ "Lilian Garcia talks to WWE for the first time since her accident". WWE.com. November 2, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  55. ^ http://www.priceisright.com/calendar/
  56. ^ "WWE RAW RESULTS June 13, 2005". Online World of Wrestling (OWW). June 13, 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  57. ^ "Quiero Vivir! Lilian Garcia". iTunes. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  58. ^ "My Time - EP Lilian Garcia". iTunes. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]