Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heroes Of Blaxploitation: Teresa Graves

Day Six:

Teresa Graves (1948-2002) had a small but impactful career in the Blaxploitation world. Graves was a singer who first got her start on TV with episodes of the sketch series Laugh In, Turn On, The Funny Side and The New Dick Van Dyke Show among others.

In 1973 graves won a starring part alongside Fred Williamson in the fun Blaxploitation favorite That Man Bolt (1973) Her role as the sexy Samantha Nightingale was a real standout and it lead to more parts in the genre for Teresa in 1974 with Vampira (AKA: Old Dracula) a film which starred David Niven (!). Graves teamed up next with Fred Williamson once again for Black Eye (1974) (he's black and a private eye, get it?)

But then it was the role Teresa would be most known for... She starred in the made-for-television movie Get Christie Love! (1974) as an undercover cop who's catchphrase "You're Under Arrest, Sugar" stuck with people and the movie was an instant success. ABC quickly turned the movie into a TV series and it had a small run.

Although Graves received a Golden globe nominee for her Get Christie Love role, her real love for religion (she had become a Jehovah's Witness) took precedence over her life and she soon retired from acted. Tragically Teresa Graves died in a house fire as a result of a faulty space heater at age 54.

1 comment:

Hal said...

You're getting around to a lot of my ATF's this week! Absolutely loved this lady. She and the other gorgeous ladies are the only reasons to watch VAMPIRA, which is one of the worst vampire comedies, but her two Williamson films are much better.

GET CHRISTIE LOVE! suffered a bit because of Graves' conversion, as she objected to the sex and violence, even on a network level. I'd still love to see the series out on DVD, we have little enough to remember Teresa Graves for as it is.

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