Pam Suzette Grier was born May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force. As a result of her father’s job, Grier was unable to develop roots early on because the family constantly moved from base to base. The family finally settled down in Denver, Colorado.
Grier learned that life outside of an air force base was completely different. Kids in Denver were always ready to fight. They usually wanted to steal someone’s lunch money. Being a quick learner, she knew she would have to constantly stand up for herself. Grier later revealed that she was sexually assaulted once at the age of six and again at 18. Because she was a fighter, however, she was able to persevere despite keeping her assaults a secret.
Grier had no intentions of becoming an actress. She instead wanted to be a doctor. Over time, however, that dream dissipated. In 1967, she entered the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. She placed third. While competing in another beauty pageant at a hotel in Colorado Springs, she was spotted by agent Dave Baumgarten. He invited her to Hollywood. She declined his invitation.
With the encouragement of her mother, Grier finally accepted Baumgarten’s invitation. She enrolled in acting classes in Los Angeles and worked as a switchboard operator in order to pay the bills. She landed her first role, making her big screen debut at the age of 22, playing an inmate in the 1971 film Big Doll House.
From there, Grier starred in a number of blaxploitation films. Blaxploitation is a genre of films that are marketed toward Black audiences and play on negative stereotypes pertaining to the Black community.
In the 1980s, she crossed over into the mainstream. She starred in films opposite Paul Newman, Steven Segal, and Jack Nicholson. By the late ’90s, her career slowed down. Grier’s career began to pick back up again, however, in the 2000s. She acted on the TV show The L Word from 2004-2009 and Smallville in 2010.
At the age of 69, Pam Grier continues to act. Her most recent screen appearance was on several episodes of This Is Us. She is also working on three films, titled Poems, Bless This Mess, and Old School Gangstas. Her films are either in post or pre-production and will be released in 2018 or 2019.
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer. Thank you.**