biography

Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 26, 1949, beautiful Pam Grier grew up at a number of Air Force bases in America and England. Eventually, her family settled in Denver, Colorado, where she graduated from high school and began taking college courses. In 1969, Grier entered a beauty contest in Colorado Springs where she was spotted by an agent. Seizing this opportunity, she left college and went to Hollywood, taking a job as a switchboard operator and studying acting. In 1970, she snagged a small role in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, released by 20th Century Fox, and she also took a job as a switchboard operator at American International Pictures. Upon hearing that Roger Corman's New World Pictures was casting for a couple of films, she tried out for a role and got it. In late 1970, Grier went to the Philippines to shoot Women in Cages (1971; with Roberta Collins) and The Big Doll House (1971; with Sid Haig). The popularity of these films sent Pam Grier on her way to stardom.

Pam GrierPam GrierPam Grier

Various 1970s shots of beautiful Pam Grier

Grier starred in a string of 'chicks in chains' films before moving on to the blaxploitation genre. Mostly shot in the Philippines, these titles include Black Mama, White Mama (1972; with Sid Haig and Lynn Borden) and The Arena (1973; with Daniele Vargas), among others. New World's 'chicks in chains' films were strictly low budget but generated a lot of revenue for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. The budget for The Big Doll House was a mere $120,000 but the film made more than $10 million at the box office. Grier also dabbled in singing at this time; she sang the theme song in The Big Doll House, titled Long-Time Woman, a song which was also used in Jackie Brown (1997; with Samuel L. Jackson). Grier can also be heard singing backup on several Bobby Womack albums from the early 1970s.

Billed as 'The Baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town!', Pam Grier's 1973 vehicle Coffy was specifically written for her by veteran director Jack Hill. Grier stars as a nurse whose adolescent sister was hooked on drugs by a street pusher, and bent on revenge, Coffy murders them all. Incredibly violent with lots of nudity and highly entertaining, this one's not for the kiddies. Coffy started a short-lived trend in films, followed up by Grier's film Foxy Brown (1974; with Peter Brown) and Cleopatra Jones (1973; with Tamara Dobson).

the films of pam grier

The Big Bird Cage (1972)

Pam Grier and Teda Bracci

Pam Grier gets the better of Teda Bracci in The Big Bird Cage

Black Mama, White Mama (1972)

Pam Grier

With Margaret Markov in the 'chicks in chains' flick Black Mama, White Mama

Coffy (1973)

Pam Grier and Booker BradshawPam Grier and Robert DoQuiPam GrierPam Grier

From American International's Coffy. LEFT: With Booker Bradshaw. CENTER A: Grier and Robert DoQui as the pimp King George. CENTER B: Coffy strong-arms information out of a junkie. RIGHT: Coffy partakes in vigilante justice to defeat the drug dealers who hooked her kid sister

Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)

Pam GrierPam Grier and William Marshall

LEFT: Grier as Voodoo priestess Lisa in Scream, Blacula, Scream. RIGHT: With William Marshall as Blacula

Foxy Brown (1974)

Pam GrierPam GrierPam GrierPam Grier and Peter Brown

LEFT: Grier as the title character in Foxy Brown. CENTER A and B: Foxy goes undercover as a high-rent callgirl. RIGHT: Promotional photo with Peter Brown

Friday Foster (1975)

Pam Grier

As the title character in AIP's Friday Foster

Sheba, Baby (1975)

Pam Grier

Grier is a glamorous private eye in Sheba, Baby

Drum (1976)

Pam GrierWarren Oates and Pam Grier

LEFT: Drum was Grier's first foray into big-budget films. RIGHT: With Warren Oates

Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981)

Pam Grier

As Charlotte the junkie in Fort Apache, the Bronx

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Pam Grier

As seductive carnival temptress the Dust Witch in Disney's fantasy Something Wicked This Way Comes

Escape from L.A. (1996)

Kurt Russell, Pam Grier, and Steve Buscemi

From the Paramount action flick Escape from L.A. with Kurt Russell and Steve Buscemi

Jawbreaker (1999)

Pam Grier and Rose McGowan

With Rose McGowan in the comedy Jawbreaker

The L Word (2004-2009 Showtime Series)

Pam Grier and Kelly Lynch

With Kelly Lynch in an episode of the Showtime series The L Word

pam grier today

Although Pam Grier emerged as a talented performer, she became so identified with the blaxploitation genre that, when it died out in the mid 1970s, her career suffered. To rebuild her career, she took on supporting roles in a number of projects and by the early 1980s, she was regularly acting in big-budget films, such as Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981; with Paul Newman). Diagnosed with cancer in the late 1980s and given less than two years to live, Grier managed to beat the illness and continue with her acting career. Now 65 years old, Pam Grier is more popular and busier than ever, with several films slated for production in the next year.

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filmography

FILM
The Man with the Iron Fists (2012) with Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu
Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day (2012) with Blair Underwood
Larry Crowne (2011) with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts
Mafia (2011) with Ving Rhames
The Invited (2010) with Lou Diamond Phillips and Carlos Alazraqui
Just Wright (2010) with Queen Latifah and Phylicia Rashad
Ladies of the House (2008)
Back in the Day (2005) with Ja Rule, Ving Rhames, Tia Carrere, and Frank Langella
1st to Die (2003) with Tracy Pollan
Baby of the Family (2002) with Vanessa Williams
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) with Eddie Murphy, Randy Quaid, Jay Mohr, Peter Boyle, John Cleese, and Illeana Douglas
Love the Hard Way (2001) with Adrien Brody
Bones (2001) with Snoop Dogg
Ghosts of Mars (2001) with Ice Cube, Joanna Cassidy, and Rosemary Forsyth
3 A.M. (2001) with Danny Glover
Wilder (2000) with Rutger Hauer
Snow Day (2000) with Chris Elliott, Jean Smart, Iggy Pop, John Schneider, and Chevy Chase
Fortress 2 (1999) with Christopher Lambert
Holy Smoke (1999) with Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel
In Too Deep (1999) with Omar Epps and LL Cool J
Jawbreaker (1999) with Rose McGowan and P.J. Soles
No Tomorrow (1999) with Jeff Fahey and Gary Busey
Fakin' Da Funk (1997) with Margaret Cho and Tone Loc
Jackie Brown (1997) with Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda, and Sid Haig
Strip Search (1997) with Michael Pare
Mars Attacks! (1996) with Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Jones, and Jim Brown
Family Blessings (1996) with Lynda Carter
Escape from L.A. (1996) with Kurt Russell and Steve Buscemi
Original Gangstas (1996) with Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, and Ron O'Neal
Serial Killer (1995) with Kim Delaney
Posse (1993) with Mario Van Peebles, Issac Hayes, Woody Strode, and Paul Bartel
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) with Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin
Class of 1999 (1990) with Stacy Keach
The Package (1989) with Gene Hackman
Above the Law (1988) with Steven Seagal and Sharon Stone
The Allnighter (1987) with Suzanna Hoffs
The Vindicator (1986)
On the Edge (1985) with Bruce Dern
Stand Alone (1985) with Charles Durning
Badge of the Assassin (1985) with James Woods and Yaphet Kotto
Tough Enough (1983) with Dennis Quaid and Warren Oates
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) with Jason Robards
Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981) with Paul Newman and Ed Asner
Greased Lightning (1977) with Richard Pryor and Beau Bridges
The Night of the High Tide (1977) with Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
Drum (1976) with Ken Norton and Warren Oates
Bucktown (1975) with Fred Williamson, Thalmus Rasulala, and Carl Weathers
Friday Foster (1975) with Carl Weathers, Yaphet Kotto, and Thalmus Rasulala
Sheba, Baby (1975)
Foxy Brown (1974) with Peter Brown, Antonio Fargas, Sid Haig, and Katheryn Loder
The Arena (1973) with Margaret Markov and Daniele Vargas
Coffy (1973) with Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, Allan Arbus, and Sid Haig
Scream, Blacula, Scream! (1973) with William Marshall, Don Mitchell, Michael Conrad, Lynne Moody, and Barbara Rhoades
The Big Bird Cage (1972) with Sid Haig, Candice Roman, and Anitra Ford
Black Mama, White Mama (1972) with Sid Haig, Lynn Borden, and Margaret Markov
Cool Breeze (1972) with Thalmus Rasulala and John Lupton
Hit Man (1972) with Bernie Casey and John Lupton
The Twilight People (1972) with John Ashley
The Big Doll House (1971) with Sig Haig and Katheryn Loder
Women in Cages (1971)
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) with Michael Blodgett and Edy Williams; directed by Russ Meyer; screenplay by Roger Ebert

TELEVISION SERIES
The L Word, 2004-2009 TV series. Grier portrayed Kit Porter
Linc's, 1998-1999 TV series
Miami Vice, 1984-1989 TV series. Grier portrayed Valerie Gordon during the 1984-1985 season
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This page premiered July 9, 2001.