(Father); Gwendolyn (Mother); Rodney (Brother); Pam has a sister but name
Marital Status -Single
Astrological Sign -
Honors - Named to
Ebony Magazine's "100 Most Fascinating Women of the 20th Century";1998
NAACP Image Award Nominee: Actress in a Comedy Series (Linc's); 1997
Golden Globe Awards Nominee: Best Comedy/Musical Actress, "Jackie
Brown"; 1997 NAACP Image Award Nominee; 1986 NAACP Image Award Winner;
Inducted to the Black Filmmakers Hall Of Fame; 34th Annual Chicago International
Film Festival "Career Achievement Award" (Awarded 10/17/98)
Pam has kicked a lot of butts in her movies. Who can forget the blaxploitation classics like Coffy and Foxy Brown. She was the B Movie queen of her day, before the term was created. Pam was introspective & quiet as a teen, with aspirations to become a doctor. She originally competed in local beauty pageants for money for college, but decided to take a career in acting and performing seriousely, and moved to L.A. to make it happen. Pam's looks and strong singing voice won her choice gigs singing backup for Sly and the Family Stone, Lou Rawls and Bobby Womack amoung many others.
When the roles did not come to her, Pam took a job as a switchboard operator at Roger Corman’s American International Pictures (AIP). It was Corman who gave her the first bigger breaks into films, with roles in The Big Bird Cage (1971) and The Big Doll House (1971). She apperared in films about women in prison, played molls and streetwalkers, bared her magnificent body, and masteres the fine art of movie-style fistfights. Even from her earliest performances, there was someting different about Pam Grier. She was the first strong powerful Black woman on film, and gathered a huge following, before being noticed by mainstream critics.
While spending time making the WIP movies in the Philippines Pam contracted a normally deadly tropical disease that caused the loss of her hair and temporary blindness for a month. She survived, though it took almost a year for full recovery.
Pam's career took off after her tenth movie, Coffy in 1973. This was followed by Foxy Brown in 1974. Pam held the distinction of having three major motion pictures appearing around the country simutaneously; Coffy, Hit Man, and Black Mama, White Mama. Movies such as Coffy, Sheba Baby and Friday Foster that earned Pam the title "Queen of Blaxploitation". It was after the popularity of the "blaxploitation" films began dying down in the late 70’s that Pam took a much needed break and took up other interests. Some of these included intensive dance lessons, singing lessons and piano lessons.
It was after this time off and watching a friend, Minnie Riperton die of cancer that Pam decided to start working again, this time seeking more challenging roles. Pam has managed to avoid the typical Hollywood typecasting syndrome She has played such varied roles as cop, prostitute, nurse, photographer, mother, lawyer among them. One of these first roles was in Fort Apache, The Bronx. In this film, she plays Charlotte, a drug-addicted prostitute with a particular fondness for murder. She hung around the streets, learning to blend in and work out her character’s attitude. It is unfortunate that a great deal of the film in which Pam appeared was left on the cutting room floor. The performance that she gave in this movie will always remain unforgettable.
In 1988, Pam was diagnosed with cancer and given 18 months. After a long, hard battle that included numerous surgeries, chemo and radiation, Pam beat the odds. She has also credited traditional Chinese medicine in her fight with breast cancer. "I go for just a regular checkup. All of a sudden, I've got… an invasive cancer, and I have 18 months to live." After five years the cancer was declared to be in remission.
Somewhere along the line Pam moved from being a cult favorite to being a very 90's movie star, a Black Goddess and an icon of the cinema. This culminated in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown movie. Pam was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Jackie Brown. Grier is currently appearing in the television series The L Word. Beautiful, seductive, tough and talented, Pam seems born to be in films. Pam Grier has become a symbol of courgage, endurance, determination and femininity.
As far as pure catfights, go Pam has set the bench mark in many of them. In Coffy Pam goes undercover as a prostitute. The other hookers imediately hate her for her hypnotizing figure and skimpy dresses. Pam ends up battling FIVE of them at one time, at a party, and leaves them all lying on the floor. Definitely one of the best catfights ever in the cinema. Another of the many catfights is a romp in the swamp with a blonde in the 1971 classic Big Doll House. Also, in Black Mama, White Mama, there is the memorable catfight while handcuffed to another blonde, B-Queen Pam Markov. This fight is is full of 'bitch slaps' and pant shots. The two play escaped convicts and battle over wich direction to travel. Needless to say, they went Pam's way.