Pam Grier - Rotten Tomatoes

Pam Grier



The reigning queen of the 1970s blaxploitation genre, Pam Grier was born May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, NC. An Air Force mechanic's daughter, she was raised on military bases in England and Germany. During her teen years the family settled in Denver, CO, where at the age of 18, Grier entered the Miss Colorado Universe pageant. Named first runner-up, she attracted the attention of Hollywood agent David Baumgarten, who signed her to a contract. After relocating to Los Angeles, Grier struggled to mount an acting career, and worked as a switchboard operator at the studios of Roger Corman's American International Pictures. Finally, with Corman's aid, she made her film debut in the 1970 Russ Meyer cult classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, followed by an appearance in Jack Hill's 1971 cheapie The Big Doll House.



For several years, Grier languished virtually unnoticed in grindhouse fare like 1971's Women in Cages and 1973's Arena (aka Naked Warriors) before winning the title role in Hill's 1973 action outing Coffy. Playing a nurse seeking vengeance against the drug dealers responsible for her sister's descent into heroin addiction, Grier immediately rose to the forefront of the so-called "blaxploitation" genre, a group of action-adventure films aimed squarely at African-American audiences. Portraying the 1974 superheroine Foxy Brown, she became a major cult figure, as her character's fierce independence, no-nonsense attitude, and empowered spirit made her a role model for blacks and feminists alike. At the peak of her popularity, Grier even appeared on the covers of Ms. and New York magazines. Her films' often racy content also made her a sex symbol, and additionally she posed nude for the men's magazine Players.



Successive action roles as gumshoe Sheba Shayne in 1975's Sheba, Baby and as the titular reporter Friday Foster further elevated Grier's visibility, but fearing continued typecasting she shifted gears to star opposite Richard Pryor in the fact-based 1977 auto-racing drama Greased Lightning. She did not reappear onscreen for four years, resurfacing to acclaim in 1981 as a murderous prostitute in Fort Apache, the Bronx; however, no other major roles were forthcoming, and she spent much of the decade appearing on television and in straight-to-cable features. A major role in the 1988 Steven Seagal action hit Above the Law marked the beginning of a comeback, and after appearing in 1993's Posse, Grier starred with fellow blaxploitation vets Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, and Fred "the Hammer" Williamson in 1996's Original Gangstas, a throwback to the films of the early '70s.



In 1997, the actress' career resurgence was complete with the title role in Jackie Brown, written in her honor by director and longtime fan Quentin Tarantino. Grier's tough, sexy portrayal of a jaded flight attendant earned praise from critics far and wide, as well as the promise of steady work. She could subsequently be seen in a consistently wide range of films, like Jawbreaker (1999), Holy Smoke (1999), The Invited, and Larry Crowne, in addition to a host of successful TV roles on shows like Smallville and The L Word.

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Cleveland Abduction
  • Carla
2015
49% The Man With the Iron Fists
  • Jane
2012
20% Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day
  • Detective Barrick
2012
92% Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel
  • Pam Grier
2011
36% Larry Crowne
  • Frances
2011
No Score Yet Mafia
  • Actor
2011
45% Just Wright
  • Janice Wright
2010
No Score Yet The Invited
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Ladies of the House
  • Birdie
2008
No Score Yet Serial Killer
  • Capt. Maggie Davis
2004
No Score Yet Back in the Day
  • Reggie's Mother
2004
No Score Yet Slow Burn
  • Della Wilder
2003
28% Love the Hard Way
  • Linda Fox
2003
No Score Yet James Patterson's '1st to Die'
  • Claire Washburn
2003
77% A Decade Under the Influence
  • Actor
2003
5% The Adventures of Pluto Nash
  • Flura
2002
No Score Yet The Feast of All Saints
  • Suzette Lermontant
2001
21% Bones
  • Pearl
2001
21% John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars
  • Helena Bradock
2001
No Score Yet 3 A.M.
  • George
2001
No Score Yet Baadasssss Cinema
  • Actor
2001
28% Snow Day
  • Tina
2000
45% Holy Smoke
  • Carol
2000
36% In Too Deep
  • Det. Angela Wilson
  • Producer
1999
No Score Yet No Tomorrow
  • Diane
1999
7% Jawbreaker
  • Det. Vera Cruz
1999
No Score Yet Intimate Portrait - Pam Grier
  • Actor
1999
0% Fortress 2: Re-Entry
  • Susan Teller
1999
87% Jackie Brown
  • Jackie Brown
1997
No Score Yet Strip Search
  • Janette
1997
No Score Yet Fakin' Da Funk
  • Anneabelle Lee
1997
52% Mars Attacks!
  • Louise Williams
1996
53% John Carpenter's Escape from L.A.
  • Hershe
1996
50% Original Gangstas
  • Laurie Thompson
1996
No Score Yet Serial Killer
  • Actor
1995
31% Posse
  • Phoebe
1993
53% Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
  • Ms. Wardrobe
1991
60% Class of 1999
  • Ms. Connors
1990
64% The Package
  • Ruth Butler
1989
50% Above the Law
  • Delores Jackson
1988
0% The Allnighter
  • Sgt. MacLeish
1987
No Score Yet On the Edge
  • Cora
1986
No Score Yet The Vindicator
  • Hunter
1986
No Score Yet Stand Alone
  • Cathryn Bolan
1985
No Score Yet Badge of the Assassin
  • Alie Horn
1985
No Score Yet Miami Vice 2 - The Prodigal Son
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Vindicator
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Tough Enough
  • Myra
1983
58% Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Dust Witch
1983
83% Fort Apache, the Bronx
  • Charlotte
1981
No Score Yet Greased Lightning
  • Mary Jones
1977
No Score Yet Drum
  • Regine
1976
No Score Yet Sheba, Baby
  • Sheba
1975
No Score Yet Bucktown, USA
  • Aretha
1975
No Score Yet Friday Foster
  • Friday Foster
1975
60% Foxy Brown
  • Foxy Brown
1974
29% Scream, Blacula, Scream
  • Lisa
1973
78% Coffy
  • Coffy
1973
No Score Yet The Arena (Naked Warriors)
  • Mamawi
1973
58% Black Caesar
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet The Big Bird Cage
  • Blossom
1972
No Score Yet Black Mama, White Mama
  • Lee
1972
No Score Yet Twilight People
  • Ayesa, the Panther Woman
1972
No Score Yet Hit Man
  • Gozelda
1972
No Score Yet Women in Cages
  • Grear
1971
100% The Big Doll House
  • Grear
1971
73% Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
  • Fourth Woman
1970

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Smallville
2001-2011
  • Amanda Waller
No Score Yet MADtv
1995-2009
  • Guest
No Score Yet Martin
1997
  • Actor
No Score Yet Justice League
2004
  • Voice
No Score Yet The L Word
2004-2009
  • Kit Porter
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
  • Claudia Williams
No Score Yet The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1990-1996
  • Actor

Quotes from Pam Grier's Characters