Pam Grier on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Men Who Cheat: “Don’t Worry About My Guns, Worry About My Chainsaw”

Pam Grier is always ready.

“I’m always prepared for an emergency,” Grier, 73, told Rolling Stone. “Clothes, keys, boots by the door in case of an earthquake. A backpack with extra water. Everywhere I go, I have a fire extinguisher in my truck, in case people throw a cigarette out the window. And a 20-inch chainsaw, oiled and ready to go.

And this chainsaw is handy for any scenario, including cheating men, according to the actress.

“I’ve seen them take their rings off in the elevators when I walk in. Do you think you’re smart? Do you think you’ll come home and I’ll take care of you? …Because I’m going to cut your ass off, motherfucker. Don’t worry about my guns. Don’t worry about my chainsaw.

Pam Grier and Richard Pryor in “Greased Lightning”.
Courtesy of Everett Collection

The North Carolina native’s fierce independent streak helped her become a trailblazer in Hollywood, where she was queen of 1970s blaxploitation films such as “PKBy Brown” and “Coffy.” It also made her attractive to some of the most eligible bachelors of the time, including hoops legend Lew Alcindor who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he converted to Islam in 1971 – during of their relationship.

“I couldn’t make him happy. He called off the wedding because he needed to be with a Muslim woman who was “prepared” for him. I said, prepared? Like a sandwich? she joked.

In the interview, Grier, who lives on a ranch in Colorado, also recalled her former boyfriend, comedian Richard Pryor, thinking she was hilarious because she drove his injured horse to the hospital. in the back seat of his Jaguar. During the frantic ride, Pryor wore a bathrobe and she was in tennis gear.

“I said, ‘I’m taking him to the vet.’ Richard didn’t have a truck or a horse trailer. So I put Ginger in my Jag. We go fast, sparks fly, hit the hydraulics, my struts and shock absorbers are gone. And the white people next to us saying ‘Oh noooo! There are two niggers in this car with a horse in the back.

“I thought OK, we might die on the way. How will it read? ‘News at 11: an actress, a comedian and a riding accident in a Jaguar.’ ”

Pam Grier poses for a photo in 1972.
Grier in 1972.
Getty Images
Pam Grier in "Friday Foster" released in 1975.
Grier in 1975’s “Friday Foster.”
FilmPublicityArchive/United Arch

In the end, they rescued the horse, but his rocky relationship with the late comic didn’t survive.

“And Richard said, ‘You’re the craziest bitch. You’re funnier than me! That’s why we had a connection. But if you disrespect me in life and stuff, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to happen. You have to have your show, your stage, but then you come back to reality. Sometimes Richard couldn’t have both, and that’s what I needed.

She also dated the late Freddie Prinze. He wanted to move to the countryside and ask Grier to give up his career and raise their future children.

Pam Grier and her former lover, comedian Richard Pryor.
Grier and his former lover, Pryor.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

“I was like, ‘Good, and I know you’re going to cheat, just like everyone else,'” she recalled.

The feminist heroine, who shares a special bond with Gloria Steinem, said her imposing figure sometimes prevents her from landing roles.

“I’m taller than everyone in Hollywood. Nobody eats. They’re short and skinny. I’m a big-boned big sister. Sometimes I won’t get a job because I’m too tall for the man I was going to play Tina Turner, in ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ Tina is five-one I’m five-eight – put some shoes on, I’m six-two Who’s going to play Ike Laurence Fishburne? I said, I’m taller than him! I saw his solo play in New York. He won’t be able to throw my fat ass across the room!

Grier also talked about hanging out with John Lennon and playing keyboards with Jimi Hendrix where they pulled out “a big bowl of cocaine, but I’m not getting close to it.” I thought it was baking powder.

She also praised young stars like Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and Cardi B. In fact, she’s writing something for her and Cardi B.

“I love Cardi and ‘WAP.’ I love Megan Thee Stallion. I said to her, ‘You and your artistry are magnificent. People are going to mess with you because a stallion is a male horse, but there are some really crafty mares!’”

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