It is ironic that Pam Grier’s first film appearance would come in a Russ Meyer film. Meyer carved out a film car in the 1950s & 1960s making rather tame by today’s standards “Nudie-Cuties; softcore films from the 1940s, 50s & 60s that focused more on the actresses in various states of undress.
This was the 1970s and the novelty of seeing boobs on the silver screen had become a tad passe. Audiences demanded a little story to go along with their boobs. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls started out its life as a sequel to the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls. When that was a no-go, director Meyer and his collaborator Roger Ebert (Yes, the future film critic) decided to go a different way.
According to the Wikipedia entry of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
“Originally intended as a sequel to the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls—”dolls” being a slang term for depressant pills or “downers”—Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was instead revised as a parody of the commercially successful but critically reviled original. “
Ms. Greer was only a walk-on but made quite an impression on director Meyer and ultimately the audience. Though she wouldn’ have any speaking lines, the small role would lead to more film roles.