(Apologies for getting off track this weekend. Illness struck and we weren’t ahead in the game. We’ll get caught up as the month continues. There will be 28.)
Tamara Dobson was Cleopatra Jones, the US special agent hellbent on taking out the world’s dope dealers, and through two movies, she was damn good at doing just that. It’s just too bad the blaxploitation boom was sputtering to an end by the time Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold hit theaters in 1975, and its failure to find commercial success, put an end to the character’s continued on-screen adventures.
You can’t deny these films are a good time though.
The first Cleopatra Jones was a project led by Max Julien, Goldie himself, and featured Bernie Casey and Antonio Fargas alongside Dobson in the title role. It was released exactly one month after Pam Grier’s Coffy, on July 13, 1973, but it might be the better of the two movies. They both have their charms though. Shelly Winters even adds her charms to the first Cleopatra Jones movie.
Tamara Dobson went on to do a lot of television after her final Cleopatra Jones film, and she would eventually struggle with multiple sclerosis and died in 2006.
Why We Love and Respect Her: As Cleopatra Jones, Tamara Dobson followed in the path of Shaft with the character’s heroics achieved while operating on the fringes of the law. Sure, part of the draw of the Cleopatra Jones movies is Dobson’s looks, but the character’s strength outweighs her beauty. That takes talent.
Best Known For: being 6 feet 2 of pure dynamite, and being designated as the tallest leading lady in film by the Guinness people when Cleopatra Jones was released.
Blaxploitation Role Call:
Cleopatra Jones (1973) as Cleopatra Jones: Cleopatra Jones is a badass special agent whose life mission is to put an end to the dope game.
Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975) as Cleopatra Jones: Cleopatra Jones is back and this time she does battle with drug kingpins in Hong Kong, while at the same time trying to find her missing friends.
Norman… Is that you? (1976) as Audrey: While struggling to come to grips with his son’s homosexuality, Ben Chambers (Redd Foxx) tries to convince his son he’s straight. One of those ways was the hiring of a prostitute named Audrey.