Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gloria Hendry

With no disrespect to Pam Grier, I feel that Gloria Hendry was the best actress to emerge from the Blaxploitation era of movie making. And like so many of those wonderful actors from that period, her best work is lost in a time capsule that only old fans and curious film fanatics will ever discover.

Unlike Grier, Gloria Hendry rarely headlined a movie. She was usually the female lead to the Blaxploitation stars like Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly and Jim Brown, where she always managed to hold her own while stealing the scenes she was in.

In Black Caesar, her character went through the same emotions that earned Halle Berry an Oscar, but in 1973 no one seemed to notice. In Black Belt Jones, she used martial arts to capture our hearts, in much like the way Uma Thurman did in the Kill Bill movies, but the world was still color blind, and as that era faded, Gloria Hendry quietly slipped by with it.

Before all of this, she was a Bond girl in Live and Let Die, but it's Gloria Hendry's film work during the Blaxploitation era that convinces me that she had the talent to become a household name. In this day and age of youth, we'll now probably never know, but she still has time to get on the radar as an older character actress. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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