Off-screen, Pam dated a series of high-profile men that included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Freddie Prinze and Richard Pryor.
After a series of smaller TV and film roles, director Quentin Tarantino reignited her career in 1997 by casting her in the title role of the hit movie Jackie Brown, a part he thought only she could play.
A "country girl" at heart, Pam says it wasn't until she became an actress that she understood the power of female sexuality. "I lived a sheltered life, very conservative," she says. "That's how I was brought up."
Pam says most people assume she lives in Los Angeles or New York City, but she finds rural life calming. "I come home to a well of fresh, clear mountain water with no chemicals in it and clean air," she says. "Sometimes you can walk out here naked."
Although she has many happy childhood memories, there is one memory she wishes she could forget. When Pam was 6 years old, she says she was sexually abused by a group of older children who were babysitting her. Pam says she went from being a curious, outgoing child to an introvert. "I just seemed like I lost something," she says.
Watch Pam talk about the pain she has endured—and how her home helped to heal her.
Pam says her peaceful, country home also helped her overcome a devastating diagnosis. At age 39, Pam discovered she had stage IV cervical cancer. "I just kept being drawn back to the simplicity of a rural life," she says. "It's my sanctuary." Fortunately, Pam is now cancer-free.
Read Chapter 1 of Pam's memoir.
"With Richard, he really liked my simplicity," Pam says. "He didn't like the Hollywood images and all of that flamboyance."
Pam says there was a side to Richard most people didn't know about. "He couldn't read," she says. "He would learn his lines phonetically, and people would help him learn his lines. He said, 'Baby, I want to learn how to read, and I want to read War and Peace.'"
Pam and Richard were together for a year and a half before calling it quits. "He would say 'Baby, I know you're simple, and I love this about you and you're endearing. No drugs, no drinking—all of that stuff gets me into trouble. But I'm afraid I may not be funny if I'm sober,'" she says. "And he fought that. He battled with that."
After a gynecologist visit, Pam says she discovered Richard's vices were affecting her too. She writes candidly about the experience with the hope of informing women who may be at risk. "There was an epidemic of a lot of people doing cocaine," she says. "And it accumulated in the body and often in the prostate gland. It would come out during your sexual activity and [end up] inside a woman."
Pam's doctor cautioned her about the dangers of having unprotected sex with Richard. "[The cocaine] could harm the woman's internal organs," she says. "So I had to tell Richard, 'You're going to have to wear a raincoat—a condom.' And he had an issue with that, and I said, 'Well, it's my life. You have to understand.' So I chose me."
Pam is now working on her next dance, which is a complete 180 from her days as Foxy Brown. "I started knitting in my sister's knitting shop, the Knitting Habitat in Colorado, where these women from all generations come and support this beautiful craft," she says.
"If I had a 100-question questionnaire of 'What is Pam Grier Doing Now?' knitting would not be on the list!" Oprah says.