Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heroes Of Blaxploitation: Carol Speed

Day Twenty:

The eternally adorable Carol Speed (b.1945) got her start in TV with some brief appearances on some shows and Tele-Movies, and her first foray in Blaxploitation started with doing some vocal work on the seminal Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970). She also appeared on an episode of Sanford & Son (1972) which helped lead to a new career for Ms. Speed.

That career began with a plum role in the women in prison classic The Big Bird Cage (1972) co-starring Pam Grier and Sid Haig. Next up was the The New Centurions (1972) with George C. Scott and Rosalind Cash and the groovy groupie exploitation film Bummer! (1973)

Carol soon had a role in the Blaxploitation classic The Mack (1973), which led to a steady stream of films that include: Savage! (1973), Dynamite Brothers (1974), Black Samson (1974) and a starring role of her own in the now infamous Black Exorcist rip-off Abby (1974) playing the titular character, the (very) possessed Abby. Carol even got the chance to contribute a song to the film, "My Soul Is A Witness". Sadly the legal problems of that film (it was pulled from theaters after a small but very profitable run because of a lawsuit from Warner Brothers representing their film The Exorcist) didn't help Carol's career much and she lost interest in trying to hunt down the meager roles that were left for women of color at that time.

Carol's last contribution to the genre was also her last film role... A starring role opposite Rudy Ray Moore in Disco Godfather (1979). Carol Speed gave up acting soon after to pursue another love... Writing. She became an Author and has found a new success on her own terms. 

1 comment:

Amanda By Night said...

I believe it was Fangoria who interviewed Carol a few years ago when Abby was getting some cult status and she was very proud of it. I don't think I've really seen her in anything, but she's fabulous!

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