Pam Grier is an American actor who is known for her remarkable performances in the several blaxploitation movies of the 70s including The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown and Sheba, Baby. She has been able to portray herself in the industry as a sexy, tough-talking, gun-toting badass actress who has kicked off many onscreen. Let’s have a closer look at the life of the action-hero.
Pam Grier has had a traumatic childhood
Pam Grier was born on May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is the daughter of Clarence Ransom Grier, Jr., and Gwendolyn. Her mother worked as a homemaker and a nurse and her father was a mechanic who also served as Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force. She has three siblings.
Pam’s childhood was quite traumatic. At the very tender age of 6, she was raped by two boys. It took ample amount of time for her and her family to get over that scenario.
Her family moved frequently during her childhood due to her father’s military career and eventually they settled in Denver. There, she attended The East High School. To raise money for her higher studies, she used to participate in stage productions and beauty pageants. She later joined Metropolitan State College.
Pam Grier’s early career in movies and TV shows
After moving to Los Angeles in 1967, Pam initially worked as a receptionist at the American International Pictures. She is believed to have been discovered by director Jack Hill. She was cast in Jack Hill’s women in prison films The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage.
Pam Grier got the tag as the first African-American actress to headline an action movie, as the lead of previous blaxploitation films were males. After she starred in the 1973’s Coffy, critic Roger Ebert praised the film for “its believable female lead.” He also complimented the actress for her “beautiful face and astonishing form” and noted that she possessed a “physical life” which many beautiful actresses do not have.
In due course, she played in the AIP films like 1974’s Foxy Brown and 1975’s Sheba, Baby and Friday Foster. After the end of the blaxploitation in the later 70s, for many years, she appeared in smaller roles. She progressively acquired bigger roles in the 80s with movies like Fort Apache, The Bronx, Something Wicked this Way Comes, and Above the Law.
She had a recurring role on Miami Vice. She made guest appearances on Martin, Night Court, and Mad TV, and had short roles in various TV shows like The Cosby Show, The Wayans Brothers Show, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She has also appeared in two episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was a regular in The L Word.
Her work in the 1997’s Jackie Brown lead her to several nominations and she was honored with the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress.
Pam Grier was diagnosed with cancer in the 80s
In 2010, Pam Grier wrote released a memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts. She unfolded lots of unturned chapters of her life in the book.
She disclosed that she was raped when she was 6 and was date raped when she was 18. Throughout the years, she faced several rape attempts but she was able to fight back the incident.
In 1988, Grier was diagnosed with stage-four cervical cancer. She was said that she had only 16 to 18 months to live. She had two surgeries to remove the cancer cells but it didn’t work for her. So her doctor prescribed her Eastern medicine, which slowly and gradually worked for her. The combination of western and eastern methods, i.e. yoga and chemotherapy, helped her to recover.
Pam has had a hard time in the past, but she has never let the sorrows dissolve her happiness. Her courage and spirit have helped her stand as an inspiration to many people.
Pam Grier’s unmarried life and lesbian roles sparked gay rumors
Pam Grier has portrayed lesbian roles in a couple of movies, including Ghosts of Mars. In one way or another, the onscreen characters somehow stimulate the viewers to question the sexual orientation of the actors. Same is the case with Grier.
Pam has not married anyone till date, but she has had a lot of romantic relationships with several men. Her dating history is a proof that Pam Grier is not gay.