PAM GRIER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Pamela Suzette Grier                                                           
Born: 26 May 1949 Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.                                 
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 films and blaxploitation films, and has generally remained in         
the public eye, starring in B-movies such as 1974's Foxy Brown, and in               
mainstream films such as Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film, Jackie Brown.                 
Grier was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S., the daughter of Gwendolyn     
Sylvia (nee Samuels), a homemaker and nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier, who           
worked as a mechanic and Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force.           
She has one sister and one brother. Because of her father's military career, Pam's   
family moved frequently during her childhood, to various places such as England,     
and eventually settled in Denver, Colorado, where Pam attended East High School.     
While there she appeared in a number of stage productions, and participated in       
beauty contests to raise money for college tuition toward Metropolitan State         
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       
early 1970s blaxploitation movies, 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 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 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 on hiatus for several         
years. She acquired 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 made a guest appearance on Miami Vice in 1985, and         
made a guest appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a woman who slept with     
her daughter's boyfriend, Will Smith. She also had a recurring role in the TV         
series Crime Story between 1986 and 1988. Grier highlighted a successful             
television series during the 1990s on BET. She again appeared in 1997 with the       
title role in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, which many consider her best         
work to date. 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).