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Such is the straight talk Grier delivers in conversation and in her new memoir, "Foxy, My Life in Three Acts," a recount of her rise to fame as the queen of B-movies that were geared toward black audiences, the setbacks in her romantic life and her career resurrection through director Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown," a blaxploitation homage he wrote specifically for her. In addition to her book, she has a role in Queen Latifah's new romantic comedy "Just Wright" and is shooting another movie with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Wsb-tv newsfilm clip of a panel of african american leaders including georgia state senator leroy johnson, reverend j. d. grier and attorneys horace t. ward and william h. alexander explaining recent demands to the board of education, atlanta, georgia, september 25

All of this from a shy girl from Colorado who didn't set out to be an actress -- let alone a pinup queen -- and marvels at the staying power of her popularity today. Still, blaxploitation films were revered by audiences who were hungry to see black actors in leading roles taking on wrongdoing blacks and evil whites. The genre was reviled by some in the black community as overly simplistic tales from the 'hood that played into stereotypes of blacks as violent pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. On screen, Grier was a two-fisted woman in a man's world.

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In films like "Coffy," "Foxy Brown" and "Sheba Baby," she was the buxom action hero who could karate-chop and jump out of airplanes as good as the guys. Oh, and the nude scenes didn't hurt, either.

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Stephane Dunn, an English professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, said Grier was the right package that arrived in Hollywood at the right time culturally. Grier might have played together women on screen, but her life off-camera was anything but. She said she was raped at 6 and again at 18, painful incidents that made her withdraw and stutter. Her romantic life was chaotic.

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She fell in love with a cerebral young basketball player named Lew Alcindor, but the relationship fizzled when he converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He wanted Grier to convert so they could marry, but she was reluctant.

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Where do I sit? Later, she fell for Richard Pryor, another comedian tormented by drug abuse.

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Grier thought she could "save" Pryor, even though he confided that he feared that if he stopped using cocaine he wouldn't be funny anymore. As the '70s morphed into the s and the blaxploitation era faded, jobs for Grier faded from marquee roles to guest star appearances in films and television. Her luck changed when she was stuck in a Los Angeles traffic jam and found herself next to Tarantino, a blaxploitation films fan. She shrugged his comments off as idle Hollywood small talk until she received a postage-due package six months later with Tarantino's name on it.

In it was the script for "Jackie Brown," a vehicle that introduced Grier to a wider audience. Grier has been working steady ever since.

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When she's not working, Grier spends most of her time on her Colorado ranch enjoying nature with her horses and dogs. Just throw another dog on the bed to stay warm. Edit Close.

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