Teresa Graves in 1974, Courtesy of Wikipedia
This Black History Month marketed as #BlacktoTheFuture, will be remembering those black heroes of the past, present, and future. Let’s take a look at the life of a remarkable black actress of the 70’s.
Get Christie Love! (1974) Pilot episode.
Starring Teresa Graves, Harry Guardino, Louise Sorel, Paul Stevens
Christie Love was a gorgeous and quite charming black woman who also happened to be a skilled undercover operative with the Los Angeles Police Department. Her smarts and skills often came in handy when posing as a prostitute, jewel thief, etc. to bring down the bad guys.
The Life and career of the late-great actress
Terresa M. Graves (Also Teresa Graves) (January 10, 1948 – October 10, 2002), was an American actress and singer best known for her starring role as undercover police detective Christie Love in the ABC crime-drama television series Get Christie Love! (1974–1975). Graves was the first African-American woman to star in her own hour–long television series and the first for a drama television series. Graves was the middle of three children in Houston, Texas, born to Marshall (1921–1967) and Willie Graves (1920–2005).
Then, the family later moved to Los Angeles, California. After graduating from Washington High School in 1966, where her senior class voted her “Most Talented,”
Graves began the early portion of her career as a singer with the Doodletown Pipers. She also recorded a self-titled album in 1970.
Moreover, she soon turned to acting and became a regular in two variety shows: Our Place (1967) and the infamous single episode of Turn-On (1969). In 1969, Graves toured with Bob Hope‘s USO tour in Southeast Asia. Graves later landed more acting roles, becoming a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In during its third season. In addition, Graves appeared in several films. In the 1973 film That Man Bolt, in which she played Samantha Nightingale, Graves’ character is shot to death when she is in bed during a love scene with Fred Williamson, who plays the leading role of Jefferson Bolt.
Graves’ pivotal role in the 1974 ABC crime drama television movie and later series Get Christie Love! featured Charles Cioffi and Jack Kelly as Lieutenants Reardon and Ryan, respectively, Love’s supervisors. At the time of the series creation, Graves’ was noted as the second African-American woman to star in her own hour–long television series, after Diahann Carroll in Julia which aired six years prior.
Furthermore, an article in the November 1974 issue of Jet magazine described Graves as “television’s most delightful detective. She was the epitome of a tough lady cop with more feminine features than Venus”.In 1983, Graves retired from show business to devote her time to her faith.
Tragically, Graves’ life was cut short when she died in a house fire on October 10, 2002 at the age of 54. Her untimely death was a shock to the entertainment industry, but her impact on television and music lives on.
Graves paved the way for future generations of African-American actresses and continues to be remembered as a trailblazer in the industry. In honor of her contributions to entertainment, Graves was posthumously inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 2005. Her legacy as a groundbreaking actress and singer lives on, inspiring and empowering others to follow their dreams and break barriers.