Pam Grier signs memoir June 16 at Outwrite
Pam Grier, hailed by Quentin Tarantino as cinema’s first female action hero, will sign her new memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts, on Wednesday, June 16, at 5 p.m. at Outwrite Books in Midtown. From hiding guns in her giant afro in Foxy Brown to her GLBT-friendly portrayal of Kit Porter on the Showtime hit The L Word, Grier’s eclectic career is by design.
“The actor acts,” Grier said, quoting pioneering actor and director Constantin Stanislavski. “The actor works in all mediums, and I want to explore every one of them.”
Along with recollections of her 40 years in film and television, Grier also writes about her tumultuous love affairs with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Freddie Prinze and Richard Pryor and her battle with cancer.
While there are plenty Hollywood anecdotes, Grier said she wanted readers to learn more about her and how her iconic characters were formed through personal experiences.
“Studios used to want their stars to be mysterious,” Grier said. “Now, people want to know the person. The fan who sits in a seat and spends money at a movie theater wants to know, ‘Why should I invest in you?’”
Grier is also disarmingly candid about sexual abuse she suffered as a teen and how she gave up her relationship with Abdul-Jabbar because she refused to be the subservient woman required by his Islamic beliefs. Richard Pryor’s brilliance and spiral into drug abuse – and how it might have contributed to her later cancer – makes for tough, but necessary reading.
“I learned so many lessons, and I knew I had to be as open as I could be in my firsthand account,” she said. “I wanted to show young women how I navigated through my life, and maybe help them navigate theirs.”
Grier said she was “completely ignorant” of the LGBT community before The L Word and has now become one of its greatest activists and allies. “People have come up to me and said because of you I have embraced a family member who we ostracized from our family,” Grier said. “The L Word has been of the most humbling, gratifying and greatest experiences I’ve had as an actor and a person.”
The L Word ended after six seasons, and Grier said there has been discussion of a movie reuniting the characters. And she’d also love to work with Tarantino again after he re-introduced Grier to a new generation of movie lovers.
“I owe him at least one child,” Grier laughed. There’s a great bit in Foxy about how she let the Jackie Brown script sit at the post office for days because Tarantino hadn’t put enough postage on the envelope.
Grier is cancer free and continues to work at keeping healthy with yoga, Pilates and taking a variety of herbs. She just finished a movie with Tom Hanks, is shopping a comedy series idea to networks and has her fingers crossed she’ll be back for the 10th season of Smallville, where she plays mysterious Agent Amanda Waller.
Most of all, Grier said she’s still living her life agape (pronounced a-ga-pay), which is a spiritual term that literally means “love and wide open.”
“I opened my mind to new ideas and attitudes and ways of healing when battling cancer and I continue to live that way,” she said. “It’s been an amazing journey and I hope I can inspire others to do the same. I hope I can be a even a small particle in someone else’s journey.”