Pam Grier

Pam Grier

Her role in 'Coffy' (1973)

Background:

Hollywood actress Pam Grier reached the top with title role of a stewardess in
Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), which was specially molded for her and
won a 2000 Csapnivalo Award. She also received a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors
Guild and NAACP Image nominations. Grier also received an Emmy nomination for
her voicing work in “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” (1995, as
The Empress’ Nightingale). Previously, she had taken parts in a number of movies
like Coffy (1973) and the 70s cult hit Foxy Brown (1974), before appearing in
motion pictures like the action thriller The Package (1989), the made-for-TV
drama A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (1992, as Linda Holman), Tim
Burton’s animated movie Mars Attacks (1996, as the voice of Louise Williams) and
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002). Thanks to her unique performances, she was
handed a 1998 Chicago International Film Festival and a 1999 Acapulco Black Film
Festival award.

Off screen, while working in the Philippines, Grier caught a deadly tropical
disease, which caused her to lose hair and go temporarily blind for almost a
month. The near-death experience took almost a year for her to recover from. On
a more positive note, besides being the first Black woman to appear on the cover
of MS magazine, Grier was also one of Ebony Magazine’s “100 Most Fascinating
Women of the 20th Century.”

The actress, with measurements 38-22-36 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine), was
once romantically involved with basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the
early 1970s. In 1977 she was connected to actor/comedian Richard Pryor. In
January 1998, Grier announced her engagement to music executive Kevin Evans,
whom she had been seeing since 1996. However, the couple split up in 1999.


Cancer

Childhood and Family:

Pamela Suzette Grier, who would later be famous simply as Pam Grier, was born on
May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Clarence Ransom Grier (USAF
mechanic) and Gwendolyn Samuels (nurse). Like her sister, who died from cancer
in 1990, in 1988, Pam was diagnosed with cancer.

After she and her family settled in Denver, Colorado, Pam attended East High
School in Denver, where she appeared in stage productions. She then continued
her studies at UCLA, at which time she became a backup vocal for singer-composer
Bobby Womack. Hoping to earn money for her tuition, she joined a beauty pageant.
5’ 8” Pam has never married, although she has had several romantic
relationships.


Foxy

Career:

18-year old Pam Grier involuntarily set her foot in show business after being
crowned the first runner-up of the Miss Colorado Universe pageant. Impressing
Hollywood agent David Baumgarten, she then signed a contract and relocated to
Los Angeles, where she first worked as a receptionist at the studios of American
International Pictures, owned by director Roger Corman. With the aid of the
director, Grier made her film debut in 1970 with a small part as a partygoer in
the Russ Meyer-helmed Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Grier followed it up with Hit Man (1972). She then landed titular roles in Coffy
(1973) and the 70s cult hit Foxy Brown (1974), both of which were directed by
Jack Hill. She also played Regine in Drum (1976), which was based on Kyle
Onstott’s novel.

The next year, Grier received her small screen debut as Francey in the
miniseries “Roots: The Next Generation” (1977), an adaptation of Alex Haley’s
book. It was ensued with her turn as Cynthia Williams in two episodes of the
romantic comedy series “Love Boat” (1980). Stepping further, Grier was cast as
Charlotte in the Paul Newman-starring Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) and played
Dust Witch in the big screen adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This
Way Comes (1982). She was then seen as Alexandra ‘Alie’ Horn in Badge of the
Assassin (1985). Grier also made guest appearances in the sitcoms “Night Court”
(1986, as Benet Collins) and “The Cosby Show” (1987, as Samantha).

Next, she starred as Delores ‘Jacks’ Jackson, opposite Steven Seagal, in Above
the Law (1988), took the role of Ruth Butler in the action thriller The Package
(1989, starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones), played teacher Ms. Connors in
the sci-fi action Class of 1999 (1990) and had the role of Ms. Wardroe in Bill &
Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991, featuring Keanu Reeves). The actress continued
exploring her skills in acting with roles in the made-for-TV drama A Mother's
Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (1992, as Linda Holman) and Mario Van
Peebles’s western movie Posse (1993).

After her appearance in an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1994),
Grier lent her voice for The Empress’ Nightingale in the animated series
“Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” (1995). For her good work in
the animated series, she earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in
an Animated Program at Daytime. She also provided her voice for Louise Williams
in the star-studded animated movie Mars Attacks (1996), for the renowned
director Tim Burton.

Grier acquired the titular role of a female flight attendant in Quentin
Tarantino’s star-studded Jackie Brown (1997). For the excellent portrayal, Grier
won a Golden Slate for Best Female Performance and earned a Golden Globe, a
Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image nominations.

Gaining more popularity, Grier made more screen performances, including one in
the TV series “Linc’s” (1998, costarred as Eleanor Braithwaite Winthrop), the TV
film Hayley Wagner, Star (1999) and Snow Day (2000, played Tina). The recipient
of the 1998 Chicago International Film Festival and the 1999 Acapulco Black Film
Festival for career achievement, Grier appeared with Snoop Dogg in the horror
movie Bones (2001) before taking the female lead role of Flura Nash in The
Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002). She was also cast as Claire Washburn in the
made-for-TV action 1st to Die (2003).

Advancing her career one step further, Grier had her first regular role on a TV
series in the Ilene Chaiken-created “The L Word” (2004-current). While still
working with the romantic drama series, the actress will also appear as Zelda in
an untitled Ryan McKinney horror project (2006).


Awards:

Csapnivalo: Golden Slate - Best Female Performance, Jackie Brown, 2000
Acapulco Black Film Festival: Career Achievement Award, 1999
Chicago International Film Festival: Career Achievement Award, 1998
It makes me forget that I'm not going to be a major star and lead female in films whether it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five or in the future.More Pam Grier quotes [08/23/2011 05:08:26]
I am really blessed and very grateful for it.More Pam Grier quotes [08/23/2011 05:08:44]
You can be on top of everything, and the next minute, you're going to be on the bottom.More Pam Grier quotes [08/23/2011 05:08:52]
I've never considered myself to be beautiful, and I still don't.More Pam Grier quotes [08/23/2011 05:08:13]
“It makes me forget that I'm not going to be a major star and lead female in films whether it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five or in the future.”More Pam Grier quotes [09/18/2006 12:09:00]

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