The Grier family eventually settled in Denver, Colorado where Pam finished high school. The family experienced great racial strain during this time period. She was not popular in school and had a very hard time finding a date to the prom. She was a survivor deep down and she forged ahead. During high school Pam performed in a few stage productions. She eventually entered a Denver beauty contest in the hopes of winning the cash prize and securing enough funds to put her through college. Pam did not win the contest but she did come in second place. There was a Hollywood talent scout at the beauty contest who approached Pam and made an offer for her to come to Hollywood. After finishing college, and at the urging of her mother to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Pam headed for LA in 1967.
Pam’s idea of her future was a job in the medical field, helping other people. When Pam’s boyfriend at the time was killed in Vietnam she turned to acting as a way to release the grief and frustration that she was feeling over the death of her love. Pam landed a few stage rolls but she was not an instant success. Pam took a job as a receptionist at American International Pictures to pay the bills. It was there that she was discovered by director Jack Hill. Jack had a deep respect for women and the power that he felt that they held within. He was making a series of women’s prison movies and he cast Pam in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), The Big Doll House (1971), Women in Cages (1971) and The Big Bird Cage (1972). This was the the Blaxploitation era and these violent and sometimes sadistic films put Pam Grier on the map.
In 1975, Pam starred in Sheba Baby, Bucktown and Friday Foster. She did just one movie in 1976 and she began to fall off from there. Pam was losing interest in what she felt was a repeat of the same as kicking female lead. She seriously questioned in her mind at this point if acting was really her passion and she decided to work less. She accepted small rolls in TV and Miniseries. In the 1980’s Pam did a few guest star rolls on The Cosby Show, Miami Vice and Night Court. Pam was not heard from much during this time.
In 1997, Quentin Tarantino, resurrected the career of Pam Grier when he offered her a starring role in his third film, Jackie Brown. Tarantino was a huge fan of Foxy Brown and wanted Pam to play a modern version of her sexy alter ego. Tarantino knew what he was doing when he cast Pam alongside box office powerhouse, Samuel L. Jackson. Pam proved herself to be just as sexy in middle age and she began her comeback to entertainment. After the release of Jackie Brown, Pam was offered many rolls including guest appearances, recurring characters and supporting roles.