Pam Grier, the trailblazing action hero, who starred in such Blaxploitation classics as Coffy, Foxy Brown and Friday Foster, will dish about her life and career with host Ben Mankiewicz on the next edition of the TCM podcast The Plot Thickens this fall.
“The word ‘iconic’ is overused in this industry, but Pam has been a true revolutionary regarding the depiction of Black women in Hollywood,” Mankiewicz said in a statement. “Pam’s characters are unapologetic, tough and fiercely independent, just like she was when she started in Hollywood five decades ago and remains to this day.”
A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Grier was raised in the U.K., Denver and Wyoming. After appearing for director Jack Hill in the women-in-prison films The Big Doll House (1971) and The Big Bird Cage (1972), he cast her as the nurse who gets revenge on the gangsters who turned her kid sister into a heroin addict in Coffy (1973).
The American International Pictures release, made for a reported $500,000, knocked the Bond film Live and Let Die from the No. 1 spot at the box office. Grier was 24 when she made the movie.
“Audiences were captivated, but Hollywood executives were dismissive of Pam,” TCM notes. “She called out studio hypocrisy and pushed for meaningful roles that had depth. When Hollywood would get too toxic, she’d leave town. Turns out the movies needed Pam Grier a lot more than Pam Grier needed the movies.”
On Sunday night at the TCM Classic Film Festival, Grier, 72, will have a conversation with Jacqueline Stewart before a screening of Coffey in Hollywood.
The Plot Thickens bowed in May 2020 with Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich as its subject. Subsequent seasons focused on the tumultuous production of The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Lucille Ball.