28 For 28: 28 Days of Blaxploitation Legends – Day 25, Rosalind Cash

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Rosalind Cash worked steadily from her debut in Klute with Jane Fonda, until her death from cancer in 1995, the year of her final film role, which was Tales From the Hood.

Cash made a huge splash alongside Charlton Heston in The Omega Man before she found herself playing roles in blaxploitation films. Then she appeared in several blaxploitation films before the 70s came to an end and she focused more on television roles.

Cash was another of those female actors who was more than capable of being an on-screen badass, as she proved in Omega Man, but didn’t really get the chance to show that side of her talent again.  Like so many other actresses of the era, she was relegated to being the girlfriend, the mother, the sister, or the anything else but the lead in a film. Had she been in her prime 30 years later she likely would have been another Milla Jovovich or Michelle Rodriguez.

Why We Love and Respect Her: After making an impact with her role in Omega Man, she then made movies like Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, The Monkey Hustle and Death Drug. Whether she did it because she wanted to, or whether it was all that was being offered, is irrelevant as far as we’re concerned.

Best Known For: Omega Man, obviously, and maybe for being Dorothy’s black daughter in law in an episode of The Golden Girls.

Rosalind Cash in Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde as Dr. Billie Worth

Blaxploitation Role Call:

Melinda (1972) as Terry Davis: Terry is a former lover of radio DJ Frankie J. Parker, and becomes involved in a mafia-ordered hit on Melinda, Frankie’s current squeeze. Melinda was the former girlfriend of MItch, a local crime boss, and when she left him, she took some valuable information with her and he wants it back. After they kill Melinda, they set their sights on Frankie because there are still unresolved issues with Melinda’s transgression. Terry tries to help Frankie, but becomes a victim herself.

Amazing Grace (1974) as Creola Waters: Who doesn’t love a good movie about corrupt local politics, and a community of people trying to put an end to such shenanigans? Well, that’s what you have here in Amazing Grace. While it was primarily a vehicle for Moms Mabley, it also featured Moses Gunn, Slappy White, and Rosalind Cash.Cash is Creola, the wife of Welton Waters, Grace’s neighbor, who is running for political office, but is in reality little more than a pawn for the corrupt political machine looking to suck money out of the community and into their own pockets. Creola drinks too much, and is a bit snooty with the women in town, and is also a participant in the effort to get Welton elected under false pretenses.

Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde (1976) as Dr. Billie Worth: Dr. Worth’s boyfriend, Dr. Pryde, is working on a cure for liver disease, and eventually tries the serum he’s created on himself. The result is he’s turned into an ashy-white madman who likes to kill whores.

The Monkey Hustle (1976) as Vi’s Mama: Win is Baby D’s older brother and gets sucked into a small-time hustling gang when he returns from being on tour with his band and finds Baby D already involved. Win’s girlfriend, Vi, has kicked him to the curb for an older man, despite her mother’s protests. , and he hates seeing his younger brother among a group of young guys who get sucked into an apprenticeship at Monkey Hustle Inc., with Daddy Foxx, Yaphet Kotto,

Death Drug (1978) as Doctor Harris: This is one of those movies I’ve heard about for years, but still have not managed to actually see, unfortunately. This thing is notorious for its over-the-top portrayal of the effects of PCP. When it comes to Rosalind Cash’s role in the movie, I can’t say exactly what it is because I’ve read several different versions of it. I know this is a horrible description of a movie, and it falls short of every other one I’ve done this month, but it is what it is. Here’s the IMDB nutshell plot:

A young man in Los Angeles dreams of striking it big as a singer in the music business. One day he gets signed to a big record contract, but along with the fame and money he develops an addiction to the drug PCP.

Rosalind Cash in Death Drug as Dr. Harris

Bio Links:

Working: The Black Actress in the Twentieth Century, Rosalind Cash, by Irma McClaurin-Allen, University of Massachusetts Amherst, A Journal of African and Afro-American Studies, Volume 8, Article 6, 1-1-1986

Cash talks about her youth, how she began acting, and the role of race in film based on her experiences from the 1960s-1980s. It’s a damn good read. Here’s something she said regarding her efforts to learn acting:

If you had a play I would do it for a meal. I did shows in churches, basements, people’s houses, and storefronts. I traveled through the South-before the CiviI Rights Bill was passed-in a station wagon with a little heater in the middle. I went to a lot of junior colleges, dressed in the ladies’ room, stayed over in people’s houses because we couldn’t afford to stay anywhere. So I had a lot of rough training. I never went to an institution to leam.

The Museum of Uncut Funk’s profile of Rosalind Cash

Rosalind Cash’s Obituary from The Independent

Rosalind Cash IMDB

Rosalind Cash Wiki

28 For 28: 28 Days of Blaxploitation Legends – Day 17, Vonetta McGee

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Vonetta McGee was one of the go-to ladies during the height of the blaxploitation explosion of the early 1970s. She appeared in five films in just two years. In all but one of those films Vonetta was the love interest of the leading male character. She was a hooker in the other film.

McGee fell into that leading-man’s-girlfriend trap during her blaxploitation days, which is unfortunate. She did play the Danger-Prone-Daphne role to perfection, and when you do something so well, it’s hard to make people see you in another light. This might be one reason she did mostly television work after 1980 or so.

Vonetta McGee is too often overlooked for stars like Pam Grier or Gloria Hendry. She had acting chops and good looks to boot. She was every bit their equal.

McGee passed away in 2010

Why We Love and Respect Her: Vonetta McGee nailed her performances in blaxploitation movies, which is why she was continually brought back to work on project after project. Also, if she’s hot enough to give Blacula a bad case of rigor mortis in his shorts, then that’s good enough for us.

Best Known For: Being the main man’s girl and eventually being kidnapped.

Blaxploitation Role Call:

Melinda (1972) as Melinda: Melinda finds herself on the bad side of the mob by sticking her nose where it didn’t belong and ends up dead. Her disc jockey boyfriend, played by Calvin Lockhart, ain’t going to take this lying down. He rounds up some friends and fights back.

Blacula (1972) as Tina: Tina is Blacula’s modern-day love interest because she just happens to look like his wife back in the 1700s. He stalks her, makes her his, and then converts her. Blacula manages to do all of this while being chased down by a determined investigator who is looking into recent murders.

Hammer (1972) as Lois: Lois is the secretary of a shady boss who gets involved with BJ Hammer in a romantic way. She is kidnapped and used as leverage to get Hammer to take a dive in a fight, but Hammer has other plans.

Shaft in Africa (1973) as Aleme: Aleme is the daughter of the Emir Ramila, and is one of Shaft’s first contacts for the job he was hired to do in Africa. Shaft strikes up a casual romance with her while he is trying to stop a slavery ring in Africa.

Detroit 9000 (1973) as Roby Harris: Roby Harris is the hooker with a heart of gold. The Detroit Police Department is investigating a major robbery. Harris is questioned by an officer of DPD, and shares some valuable information with him. Her pimp finds out she squealed and she ends up dead. The robbery investigation continues after her demise.

Thomasine and Bushrod (1974) as Thomasine: Thomasine is the Bonnie to Bushrod’s Clyde. The duo are on the run and determined to stay out of jail. Their Robin-Hood-like exploits make them small-time celebrities.

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Bio Links:

Vonetta McGee’s IMDB

Vonetta McGee’s Wiki

Vonetta McGee dies at 65; film actress during 1970s blaxploitation era; LA Times; July 15, 2010

Vonetta McGee, Film and TV Actress, Dies at 65; NY Times; July 16, 2010

Vonetta McGee doing a promo for Black Power Films: