Sex Symbols of the 1970s: Pam Grier

Pam Grier remains one of the most under appreciated actresses of all time. While she had no formal training as an actress,  Ms. Grier worked at her acting and the results can be seen in both the Showtime series The L-Word and Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film Jackie Brown. More so, Ms. Grier’s will not to give into critics for her career and film choices.


The time is the late the mid-1970s. Ms. Grier had been knocking around Hollywood since 1967. To her great fortune, she got a job as a secretary in the office of American International Pictures – because being a  secretary is better than going hungry.According to Wikipedia:

She is believed to have been 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 tragedy lies in the fact that very few people in the African American community felt happy for Ms. Grier. Sure, she was making a lot of bad films but she was working consistently. Until Pam Grier, there were very few African-African American actresses, much less actors could ever make the same claim.


It wouldn’t be until later in her career that Ms. Grier gain the recognition she quite rightly deserved.

Pam Grier’s movie may not have made have earned her Academy Award consideration but director Quentin Tarantino felt this way about the actress:

“Director Tarantino remarked that she may have been cinema’s first female action star.”

For her part, Ms. Grier definitely was one of the great and talented sex symbols of the 1970s cinema.


Via Wikipedia, Pam Grier’s filmography:



Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Partygoer
1971 The Big Doll House Grear
Women in Cages Alabama
1972 The Twilight People Ayesa
Cool Breeze Mona
The Big Bird Cage Blossom
Hit Man Gozelda
1973 Black Mama White Mama Lee Daniels
Coffy Coffy
Scream Blacula Scream Lisa Fortier
1974 The Arena Mamawi
Foxy Brown Foxy Brown
1975 Sheba, Baby Sheba Shayne
Bucktown Aretha
Friday Foster Friday Foster
1976 Drum Regine
1977 Greased Lightning Mary Jones
Twilight of Love Sandra
1981 Fort Apache, The Bronx Charlotte
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes Dust Witch
Tough Enough Myra
1985 Stand Alone Cathryn Bolan
1986 The Vindicator Hunter
On the Edge Cora
1987 The Allnighter Sgt. McLeesh
1988 Above the Law Delores ‘Jacks’ Jackson
1989 The Package Ruth Butler
1990 Class of 1999 Ms. Connors
1991 Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey Ms. Wardroe
1993 Posse Phoebe
1996 Original Gangstas Laurie Thompson
Escape from L.A. Hershe Las Palmas
Mars Attacks! Louise Williams
1997 Fakin’ da Funk Annabelle Lee
Jackie Brown Jackie Brown San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
1999 Jawbreaker Detective Vera Cruz
In Too Deep Det. Angela Wilson
Holy Smoke! Carol
2000 Snow Day Tina
Fortress 2: Re-Entry Susan Mendenhall
Wilder Detective Della Wilder
2001 Ghosts of Mars Commander Helena Braddock
Bones Pearl Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture
2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash Flura Nash
2005 Back in the Day Mrs. Cooper
2010 The Invited Zelda
Just Wright Janice Wright
2011 Larry Crowne Frances
2012 Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day Detective Barrick
Mafia James Womack
2012 The Man with the Iron Fists Jane