Pam Grier

Beauty contestant turned actress Pam Grier was born May 26, 1949, in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was working the switchboard at American International Pictures when, in 1970, she debuted as an extra in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Her reign as the beautiful but deadly queen of '70s exploitation flicks began with two drive-in classics: Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Coffy, Cool Breeze, Sheba, Baby, Friday Foster and Scream, Blacula, Scream! followed. In the '80s, Grier found fewer roles but emerged as a character actress in Fort Apache, the Bronx (1980), Something Wicked This Way Comes and others.

Longtime fan Quentin Tarantino revived her career by casting her in the title role of Jackie Brown (1997), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Among her subsequent appearances are Ghosts of Mars, Bones (both 2001) and the cable series "The L Word."