In the blaxploitation universe Gloria Hendry played the girlfriend of the most popular leading men in the business. She was on hte arm of Fred Williamson in Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem. She was by the side of Jim Kelly in Black Belt Jones. She even played JIm Brown’s girl in Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off.
Blaxploitation is a small part of Gloria Hendry’s career, but man, was it good. She could have easily been another action flick leading lady like Tamara Dobson or Pam Grier. Black Belt Jones is evidence of that, when she’s doing karate kicks beside Jim Kelly.
Why We Love and Respect Her: Just because she played the girlfriend, it didn’t mean she had to be a timid one.
Best Known For: Being the girlfriend of the male lead, but being dangerous nonetheless. She was also a Bond Girl in Live and Let Die.
From Black Belt Jones…
Blaxploitation Role Call:
Across 110th Street (1972) as Laurelene: Laurelene is a dancer whose husband is being hunted by mobsters engaged in a turf war in New York City.
Black Caesar (1973) as Helen: Helen is the singer Tommy Gibbs marries and makes the mistake of raping and beating. She conspires with some thugs to kill her gangster husband, who is already knee-deep in a mob war. The James Brown songs make this one special.
Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off (1973) as Marcia: Slaughter got his revenge on the gangsters who killed his family members and now the gangsters’ family is out to get him for it. One of they ways they try to get to Slaughter is by putting a hit out on his girlfriend Marcia.
Hell Up In Harlem (1973) as Helen Bradley: This is the sequel to Black Caesar. In this one Tommy Gibbs has to rescue Helen from the mafia.
Black Belt Jones (1974) as Sydney: Sydney is a karate master’s daughter who runs into trouble with some gangsters and calls on Black Belt Jones for help. She teams up with Black Belt for some ass-kicking.