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Friday, July 16, 2010

Vonetta McGee 1940-2010

One of our favorite film eras is the period from the late 1960's to the mid-70's, when the old studio system first broke apart, and for the first time, independent filmmakers began to have the ability to make grittier, more realistic movies. It was also during this period when the Blaxploitation genre of movies emerged, cheaply made but highly entertaining films like "Shaft", "Cleopatra Jones", "Coffy", "Super Fly", "Foxy Brown" and others which were made, primarily, for a Black urban audience.

We were just thinking about these films a few days ago when we noticed the birthday of Denise Nicholas. Nicholas was a popular star who appeared in a few of these movies, most notably in "Blacula", a Black dracula movie, and then found prime-time success on the hit t.v. show, "Room 222". And then today, oddly enough, came the news of the death of Nicholas' "Blacula" co-star, Vonetta McGee, at 65. In addition to co-starring in "Blacula", the very pretty and talented McGee also appeared in blaxploitation pics "Shaft in Africa" and "Hammer". She resented the term "blaxploitation" and fought often for more mainstream roles, her most notable A-List starring role was in Clint Eastwood's 1975 film, "The Eiger Sanction".

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