Singer and actress, Teresa Graves was born in Houston on this date in 1949.
Graves started her career as a singer with the Doodletown Pipers, an easy listening vocal group. Later she turned to acting full time. Her first big television appearance was on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In program in 1969 and 1970. Graves appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and on several Bob Hope television specials in 1970 and 1971; she had a feature role in The Funny Side, a short lived television series that ran in 1971.
She was in several movies in the mid-1970s, including That Man Bolt, Black Eye, and Old Dracula. Graves’s greatest role would also be her last. In 1974, she played the lead in a made-for-TV movie that built on the popularity of the blaxploitation genre. In Get Christie Love!, Graves played a fiesty cop who was the first Black woman hired by a big-city police department. Christie Love was so well received that it became a series – the show that would give Graves the opportunity to make history as the first Black woman to have her own hour-long dramatic TV series. But after just one season, the show was cancelled. Her final show business appearance was in a Bob Hope special in 1982.
Graves left acting to concentrate on her involvement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On October 10, 2002, Graves’ home caught fire believed to be triggered by a faulty heater. She was found unconscious in a bedroom before being rushed to the hospital where she later died. Teresa Graves was 53 years old.
Get Christie Love! (1974)
Old Drac (1974)
Black Eye (1974)
That Man Bolt (1973)
Keeping Up with the Joneses (1972)
Sources: New York Times; Legacy.com; African American Registry.
Photos Source: Spottelevision.com.