Pam Grier

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Pamela Suzette “Pam” Grier (born May 26, 1949) is an American actress. She came to fame in the early 1970s, after starring in a string of moderately successful women in prison films and blaxploitation B-movies such as 1974′s Foxy Brown. Her career was revitalized in 1997 after her appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s film Jackie Brown.

Grier moved to Los Angeles, California in 1967, where she was initially hired as a receptionist at the American International Pictures (AIP) company. She was discovered by director Roger Corman, who cast her in his women in prison films The Big Doll House (1971), The Big Bird Cage (1972), and the gladiator film The Arena (1973). While under contract at AIP, she became a staple of early 1970s blaxploitation movies, playing big, bold, assertive roles, beginning with 1973′s Coffy, in which she plays a nurse who seeks revenge on drug dealers; her character was advertised in the trailer as the “baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town!” The film, which was filled with sexual and violent elements typical of the genre, was a box office hit, and Grier was noted as the first African-American female to headline a film, as protagonists of previous blaxploitation films were all male. In his review of Coffy, film critic Roger Ebert noted that Grier was an actress of “beautiful face and astonishing form” and that she possessed a kind of “physical life” missing from other actresses. Grier subsequently played similar characters in the AIP films Foxy Brown (1974), Friday Foster, and Sheba, Baby (both 1975).

With the demise of blaxploitation, Grier’s career went on hiatus for many years. She acquired progressively larger character roles in the 1980s, including a prostitute in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981), a witch in Something Wicked this Way Comes (1983), and Steven Seagal’s detective partner in Above the Law (1988). She made guest appearances on Miami Vice, Night Court and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and also had a recurring role in the TV series Crime Story between 1986 and 1988.

In the late 1990s Grier was a cast member of the Showtime series Linc’s. She again appeared in 1997 with the title role in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, a film that partly paid homage to her ’70s blaxploitation movies. As of 2004, she appears in the cable television series The L Word as Kit Porter and occasionally guest-stars in such television series as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (where she is a recurring character).

Youtube:

Media:

Fox in a Box – Featuring Pam Grier (Sheba, Baby / Foxy Brown / Coffy) (1973)-DVD

Black Mama, White Mama (1972)-DVD

Jackie Brown (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition) (1997)-DVD

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