Known In The '70s For: Starring in a run of blaxploitation films that included Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974), Friday Foster (1975), and Sheba, Baby (1975).

Even before her coronation as the queen of blaxploitation, Grier was a grindhouse force to be reckoned with, having strutted her stuff in women-in-prison flicks The Big Doll House (1971), Women in Cages (1971), The Big Bird Cage (1972), and Black Mama, White Mama (1973). Meanwhile, blaxploitation was percolating, and Grier's menacing beauty and brick house figure proved just what the male-dominated genre needed.

She lived by blaxploitation, and her career virtually died by it as well. After Drum (1976), she ceased being a headliner, and spent the '80s and '90s as a supporting actress until being reanimated by Quentin Tarantino for Jackie Brown. Tarantino has suggested she was the first female action hero, and though Angie Dickinson has a case, we're inclined to agree with QT.