Pamela Suzette "Pam" Grier was born May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 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 Jack Hill, who cast her in his women in prison films The Big Doll House (1971), and The Big Bird Cage (1972). While under contract at AIP, she became a staple of early 1970s blaxploitation movies, playing big, bold, assertive women, beginning with Jack Hill's Coffy (1973), 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 an action film, as protagonists of previous blaxploitation films were males. 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 appeared in smaller roles for many years. She made guest appearances on Miami Vice, Martin, 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. She also appeared on Sinbad, Preston Chronicles, The Cosby Show, The Wayans Brother Show, and Mad TV. Her career was revitalized in 1997 after her appearance in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown. She is received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She has also been nominated for a SAG as well as a Satellite Award for her performance in the iconic film Jackie Brown. After Jackie Brown, she can be seen in other productions such as, In Too Deep (1999), Ghosts of Mars (2001) and from 2004-2009, she played Kate ‘Kit” Porter on the Showtime series, The L Word which earned her an NAACP nomination. She also starred in Just Wright (2010) and appeared in three episodes of the TV series, Smallville (2010).
Thursday, May 26, 1949
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA