Pam Grier

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Pamela Suzette 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 and blaxploitation films, and has since then recurred in the public spotlight, appearing in a large number of films, including B-movies, and more notably in mainstream films such as the title character in the 1974 film "Foxy Brown" as well as director Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film, Jackie Brown. In her thirty-six year career Pam Grier has appeared in more then fifty films and more than thirty TV shows. She is known for her voluptuous figure and sexy style.

Early life

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to African-American parents Clarence Ransom Grier, who served in the United States Air Force, and Gwendolyn Samuels, a homemaker; she has two sisters. Because of her father's military career, Pam's family moved frequently during her childhood, such as living in England, and eventually settling in Denver, Colorado, where Pam attended East High School. While there she appeared in stage productions. Pam participated in beauty contests in order to make money for college tuition.


Pam Grier moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1967, where she was initially hired as a receptionist at the American International Pictures company. She was discovered by director Roger Corman, who cast her in his women in prison films The Big Doll House (1971) and The Big Bird Cage (1972). She became a staple of the blaxploitation movies of the early 1970s, playing big, bold, buxom, roles, beginning with 1973's Coffy, in which Pam plays a nurse who seeks revenge on drug dealers; her film 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 successful at the box office, and Grier was noted as the first African American female to headline a film, as previously the protagonists of blaxploitation films had exclusively been male. In his review of Coffy, film critic Roger Ebert noted that Pam 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 films Foxy Brown (1974), Friday Foster, and Sheba, Baby (both 1975).

With the demise of blaxploitation, Grier's career went into hiatus for several years. She worked her way into progressively larger character roles in the 1980s, including notably the stoned 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 became a regular on the hit television detective series Miami Vice in 1985. She also appeared in a guest appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air cast as a woman who slept with her daughter's boyfriend, Will Smith.

Grier highlighted a successful television series during the '90s on BET. She once again appeared in a leading role in 1997 as the titular actress (a stewardess) in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, which many consider her best work so far. Grier is currently appearing in the television series The L Word.

Personal life

Grier dated basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the early 1970s and actor/comedian Richard Pryor in 1977. She was also romantically linked to actor/comedian Freddie Prinze in the 1970s. In 1998, she became engaged to music executive Kevin Evans, but they split up in 1999. She is a cousin of Rosey Grier.


Pam Grier in Cool Breeze (1972)
Pam Grier in 'Studio Publicity Still' (c. 1973)
Pam Grier in Foxy Brown (1974)
  • Back in the Day (2005) (V)
  • The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
  • Baby of the Family (2002)
  • Bones (2001)
  • Ghosts of Mars (2001)
  • Love the Hard Way (2001)
  • 3 A.M. (2001)
  • Wilder (2000)
  • Snow Day (2000)
  • Holy Smoke (1999)
  • In Too Deep (1999)
  • No Tomorrow (1999)
  • Jawbreaker (1999)
  • Fortress 2 (1999)
  • Jackie Brown (1997)
  • Strip Search (1997)
  • Fakin' Da Funk (1997)
  • Mars Attacks! (1996)
  • Escape from L.A. (1996)
  • Original Gangstas (1996)
  • Serial Killer (1995)
  • Posse (1993)
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
  • Class of 1999 (1990)
  • The Package (1989)
  • Above the Law (1988)
  • The Allnighter (1987)
  • The Vindicator (1986)
  • Stand Alone (1985)
  • On the Edge (1985)
  • Tough Enough (1983)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
  • Fort Apache the Bronx (1981)
  • Greased Lightning (1977)
  • Notte dell'alta marea, La (1977)
  • Drum (1976)
  • Friday Foster (1975)
  • Bucktown (1975)
  • 'Sheba, Baby' (1975)
  • Foxy Brown (1974)
  • The Arena (1974)
  • Scream Blacula Scream (1973)
  • Coffy (1973)
  • The Twilight People (1973)
  • Hit Man (1972)
  • The Big Bird Cage (1972)
  • Cool Breeze (1972)
  • Black Mama, White Mama (1972)
  • Women in Cages (1971)
  • The Big Doll House (1971)
  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)

TV Appearances

Pam Grier in The L Word (2004-?)
  • The L Word (2004-?) TV Series
  • 1st to Die (2003) TV Movie
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2002) TV Episode
  • Justice League" (2002) TV Episode
  • Night Visions" (2002) TV Movie
  • Feast of All Saints (2001) TV Movie
  • Strange Frequency (2001) TV Movie
  • For Your Love (1999) TV Movie
  • The Wild Thornberrys (1999) TV Episode
  • Hayley Wagner, Star (1999) TV Movie
  • Linc's (1998) TV Series
  • Mad TV (1998) TV Episode
  • Pinky and the Brain (1998) TV Episode
  • The Wayans Bros. (1996) TV Episode
  • Sparks (1996) TV Episode
  • Family Blessings (1996) TV Movie
  • The Marshal (1995) TV Episode
  • Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1995) TV Series
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1994) TV Episode
  • The Sinbad Show (1994) TV Episode
  • A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (1992) TV Movie
  • Pacific Station (1992) TV Episode
  • Monsters (1991) TV Episode
  • Knots Landing (1990) TV Episode
  • Miami Vice (1990) TV Episode
  • Midnight Caller (1989) TV Episode
  • Crime Story (1989) TV Episode
  • Frank's Place (1988) TV Episode
  • The Cosby Show (1987) TV Episode
  • Night Court (1986) TV Episode
  • Badge of the Assassin (1985) TV Movie
  • The Love Boat (1980) TV Episode
  • Roots: The Next Generations (1979) TV Mini-Series

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