Pam Grier: Tougher Than Rape, Cancer & Hollywood
When people hear the name Pam Grier, several quotes and sayings from many of her Blaxploitation films may come to mind. Grier, now 66, was the queen of the 1970s tough-girl movies where no matter how rough the the battle, she and her crew always came out on top.
But being a black woman in Hollywood hasn’t been Pam Grier’s toughest fight.
“I was very quiet,” Ms. Grier recalled her childhood, and she stuttered when she did talk.
Growing up, Grier was a good student who dreamed of becoming a doctor. “When I was a young girl, I never thought of acting,” she remembers. “I never thought of television, of fans, movie stars, signing autographs. It never crossed my mind.”
Life was forever altered when, left unsupervised at an aunt’s home, she was raped by two boys.
In her memoir Foxy: My Life in Three Acts, did Grier reveal that she also silently endured two incidents of sexual assault. She was raped by a group of older students when she was only six years old, and at the age of 18 she was the victim of a date rape. Fearing repercussions on her family, Grier never said a word to anyone about either incident until she sat down to write her memoirs as an adult. “I wanted others out there to understand the emotional trauma that is involved in sexual aggression and abuse and that not all of us get over it or even survive the abuse,” she says about her decision to finally reveal the incidents. “I have that opportunity to speak about this as the icon—the object and let others know that in spite of it all, I am still here.”
Her path to stardom began a little later when she moved to Los Angeles in 1967 from her native…