In the history of tough women in film––and those who can’t help but look stunning while taking care of business––Pam Grier certainly takes the cake. A natural action star since her beginnings in the early ’70s, Grier has made a name for herself in Blaxploitation films, television, and even garnered a few award nominations on the way.
One of Grier’s first starring roles was in Coffy, the character of a nurse-turned-vigilante who goes after the local riffraff when her sister becomes a heroin addict. Coffy lures in the vicious men of the underground with her oozing sexuality and then makes sure they don’t prey on young, innocent women ever again.
Perhaps her most noteworthy role was in Foxy Brown, because you know you’ve made it when a rapper adopts your character’s name as their professional moniker. Grier pummels the drug lords who assassinated her government-agent boyfriend by infiltrating their modeling agency, and saving a few other doomed women along the way. Often considered the essential female archetype of the action drama, Foxy continues to inspire strong women in cinema to this day.
Based on the comic strip, Grier also starred as the titular photographer Friday Foster who refuses to accept her boss’s lackluster assignments and instead teams up with a private detective to help investigate an assassination attempt made on a billionaire.
No matter who she’s saving or what the agenda, Grier paved the way for strong, gun-toting females, and changed history for other black women. Tune in to all three of these unforgettable films on EPIX now, and to quote the tagline for Friday Foster, “Wham! Bam! Here comes Pam!”