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Pam Grier Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (4) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 26 May 1949Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Birth NamePamela Suzette Grier
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, NC, one of four children of Gwendolyn Sylvia (Samuels), a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier Jr., an Air Force mechanic. Pam has been a major African-American star from the early 1970s. Her career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched her with The Big Doll House (1971), about a women's penitentiary, and The Big Bird Cage (1972). Her strong role put her into a five-year contract with Samuel Z. Arkoff of American-International Pictures, and she became a leading lady in action films such as Jack Hill's Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), the comic strip character Friday Foster (1975) and William Girdler's 'Sheba, Baby' (1975). She continued working with American-International, where she portrayed William Marshall's vampire victim in the Blacula (1972) sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973).

During the 1980s she became a regular on Miami Vice (1984) and played a supporting role as an evil witch in Ray Bradbury's and Walt Disney Pictures' Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), then returned to action as Steven Seagal's partner in Above the Law (1988). Her most famous role of the 1990s was probably Jackie Brown (1997), directed by Quentin Tarantino, which was an homage to her earlier 1970s action roles, She occasionally did supporting roles, as in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (1996), In Too Deep (1999) and a funny performance in Jawbreaker (1999). She also appeared in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001) and co-starred with Snoop Dogg in Bones (2001). Her entire career of over 30 years has brought only success for this beautiful and talented actress.

A sister of Grier's died from cancer in 1990 and the son of that sister committed suicide because of his mother's illness. Pam herself was diagnosed with cancer in 1988 and given 18 months to live, which has had an effect on how she has chosen to live. She has never been wed, although she has been romantically linked to Richard Pryor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the past.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John Sacksteder <jsack@ka.net> (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Trivia (12)

Auditioned for a part in Pulp Fiction (1994) and at the time, right after Rosanna Arquette took the nod, was considered for the part of Bonnie (Jimmie's wife). She didn't land either role. Then Jackie Brown (1997) came along. Quentin Tarantino renamed the character of Jackie Burke from "Rum Punch" to "Jackie Brown" as an homage to Foxy Brown (1974).
While a student at UCLA, she sang back-up for singer-composer Bobby Womack. Interestingly, Womack's composition and 1972 recording of the song "Across 110th Street" was the theme song of the film Jackie Brown (1997), which marked a major comeback for Grier in the starring and title role. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and an NAACP Image Award for her performance.
Was the first black woman to appear on the cover of MS. Magazine (August 1975 issue).
Named as one of Ebony Magazine's "100 Most Fascinating Women of the 20th Century".
Awarded a "Career Achievement Award" at the 34th Annual Chicago International Film Festival. [October 1998]
Her early films such as Women in Cages (1971) and The Big Doll House (1971) were filmed in the Philippines. While there she contracted a deadly tropical disease and nearly died. She lost her hair and was temporarily blind for almost a month. It took nearly a year for her to recover.
Graduated from East High School, Denver, Colorado.
When she met her boyfriend they found out they both grew up in Denver, Colorado. Upon further conversation she found out that he grew up in her house, after her family moved out.
Profiled in "Women of Blaxploitation: How the Black Action Film Heroine Changed American Popular Culture" by Yvonne D. Sims (McFarland, 2006).
Cousin of Roosevelt Grier.
Inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in 2012-2013.

Personal Quotes (4)

[1/7/06, interview in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution"] I can't talk about myself. I just can't. I know I've influenced people, and I'm proud of that. But as I see it, I really haven't done anything. I haven't saved anybody from a burning building. Foxy Brown actually approached me at the start of her career to ask if she could use the name. I told her, "You didn't need to ask". If you're an independent woman, every woman is Foxy Brown.
Film and television is the bulk of my work. I get my personal fulfillment from theater; plays are where you can take chances and really work with the moment. Movies and TV just aren't like that.
People see me as a strong black figure, and I'm proud of that, but I'm a mix of several races: Hispanic, Chinese, Filipino. My dad was black, and my mom was Cheyenne Indian. So you look at things beyond just race, or even religion: I was raised Catholic, baptized a Methodist, and almost married a Muslim.
(On the emotional back-story of how she landed Mars Attacks) I was familiar with the comic book, and Tim Burton had called me to audition, but one of my dogs was dying of cancer, so I wasn't in the frame of mind to audition to do that role. So I said, "I can't," and I turned down Tim Burton. And I remember one of my dearest friends who I knew before he became an actor - Michael Keaton, who was in Beetlejuice and should've won an Oscar for that role, he was so brilliant - I told him that I'd turned Tim down. I said, "I'm just not ready to read, because one of my dogs, one of my family members, is very ill. I just can't do it. So I passed."

But they called back again, and they said, "Well, would you put something on camera?" And I said, "No, because what I'll put on camera is sadness, and I'm not ready to do that right now." I'm one of those people who can afford to say "no." Even to Tim Burton, as badly as I wanted to work with him because of Beetlejuice. And he related. He respected that.

And then they called back again...and they said, "Well, you've just auditioned. Because in the story, she's a mom who protects her children. Even under the worst situations, she won't leave her children. She's a true mom." And I wouldn't leave my dog, not for anybody - including Tim Burton - or for a huge salary or to work with Jack Nicholson or Glenn Close or the rest of the stellar cast of that film. So he said, "You passed the audition. You wouldn't leave your family for me, so you've got it. And we'll shoot around you. We'll wait, and you let us know when the time is right, when you're ready to shoot." And I said, "Thank you, but it could be awhile. I don't know. But I'm not leaving his side, because I had cancer, and he was with me."

But they waited. They shot around me until I was ready to say, "Okay, he's passed on. He let me go." And Tim and I have been great friends ever since...because I said "no." Sometimes you just have to say "no." But once I was in it, it was such a joy working in those scenes, and with Ray Jay and Brandon. And it was great to work with Jim Brown. We had scenes, too. It's amazing when you work on films of such stellar directors, you know the budgets are gonna be incredible and the sets are gonna be incredible. There's no expense spared. It's just gonna be fabulous. When you work with directors like that, on that level, you go, "Oh, my God, just enjoy it!" Because you know it's just going to be a superb experience. And not only did I learn a lot about myself, but I learned that I want to work with Tim Burton in anything. He's just a very special person.

Salary (1)

The Big Doll House (1971) $500 /week

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