American actress Pamela Suzette Grier was born on May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her parents were Gwendolyn Sylvia who worked as a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier, Jr. who worked as a mechanic in U.S. Air Force. As a result, the family travelled a lot, and Grier lived in several places including England, before finally settling in Denver, Colorado. She received an old-fashioned, conservative upbringing where she learned to rough it – skills that came in handy when she enrolled at East High School in Denver. She recalls the tough environment she had to deal with as a teenager, with rampant bullying and physical abuse by older students. Although she had lived a relatively sheltered life until then, she was quick to adapt to her new environment and learned to and fend for herself.
Grier was a conscientious student and aspired to become a doctor. However, her career took a different turn when she earned third place Colorado state competition for the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in 1967. Here she was discovered by an agent named Dave Baumgarten who invited her to try her hand at acting. Grier had no plans to pursue this line of work, and initially rejected the offer. On her mother’s insistence, however, she agreed to Baumgarten’s suggestion of touring Hollywood. She moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in acting classes, while working as a switchboard operator to help pay the bills.
She made her film debut at the age of 22 in the 1971 film “Big Doll House” where she played a prison inmate. Several other roles followed such as “Hit Man” in 1972 and “Black Mama, White Mama” in 1973. Her most acclaimed role to date came in 1973, as the star of the film “Coffy” followed by another memorable and acclaimed performance in the 1974 film “Foxy Brown” in which she played the role of a prostitute out to get revenge. In 1975, she starred in another hit film “Sheba Baby”. She established her reputation as a star of “blackploitation” films, that is, predominantly African American movies that depicted the grim