An Air Force mechanic's daughter, she was raised on military bases in England and Germany. Named first runner-up, she attracted the attention of Hollywood agent David Baumgarten, who signed her to a contract. After relocating to Los Angeles, Grier struggled to mount an acting career, and worked as a switchboard operator at the studios of Roger Corman's American International Pictures. For several years, Grier languished virtually unnoticed in grindhouse fare like 's Women in Cages and 's Arena aka Naked Warriors before winning the title role in Hill's action outing Coffy. Playing a nurse seeking vengeance against the drug dealers responsible for her sister's descent into heroin addiction, Grier immediately rose to the forefront of the so-called "blaxploitation" genre, a group of action-adventure films aimed squarely at African-American audiences. Portraying the superheroine Foxy Brown, she became a major cult figure, as her character's fierce independence, no-nonsense attitude, and empowered spirit made her a role model for blacks and feminists alike. At the peak of her popularity, Grier even appeared on the covers of Ms.
Pam Grier in Coffy (1973) - 4