Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 31, 2014

THE REAL MONSTERS

DorianGray via Getty Images

What Can Mandela's Jail Cell Teach Us About Leadership?

Nelson Mandela President
TREVOR SAMSON via Getty Images

Theodore Wafter's Lawyer: 'Ghost Of Trayvon Martin' Was In The Courtroom

Renisha Mcbride
Thurswell Law

How Mississippi's Racist Past Is Harming It's Future

Mississippi State Flag
Matt Trommer via Getty Images

No, Being Black and Gay Does Not Suck

Black Gay Men
Hero Images via Getty Images

Voters In 14 States Navigating New Rules While Trying To Cast Ballots

Voting
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Dante Martin Guilty Of Manslaughter In Hazing Case

Dante Martin
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Street Harassment Happens In Every Neighborhood, Even Wealthy Ones

Woman On Street
Petri Artturi Asikainen via Getty Images

A Republican Midterm Wave Will Further Sink Black America

Obama
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images

Lawmakers 'Disturbed' After NYPD's Highest-Ranking Black Officer Resigns

Chief Philip Banks
ASSOCIATED PRESS

There's History Behind Those Halloween Blackface Fails

The Jazz Singer Blackface
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Al Sharpton Calls For Federal Prosecution In Ferguson

Al Sharpton
Donald Traill/Invision/AP

Nelly Reveals Why He's Worried About What May Soon Happen In Ferguson

Nelly Ferguson
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Boyz II Men: We 'Represented Our Race' With Future Artists In Mind

Boyz Ii Men End Of The Road
HuffPost Live

Walking The Streets Of Baltimore With The Other Barksdale

Baltimore
Kyle Reid/Getty

Advocates Demand The NYPD Stop Handcuffing 5-Year-Olds

Handcuffs
Chris Mathias

Man Convicted Of Double Murder In Landmark Case Released From Prison

Alstory
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Problem With That Catcalling Video: They Edited Out All The White Guys

171248054
olaser via Getty Images

Ta-Nehisi Coates On White Supremacy And A Life Of Struggle

Ta Nehisi Coates
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

It's About Time Someone Other Than Straight White Males Got To Be Superheroes

Chadwick Boseman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Twitter Account Leaking Details About Ferguson Investigation Was Hacked, Prosecutor Claims

Bob Mcculloch
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Black Women Are Less Likely To Survive Breast Cancer

Black Woman Patient
Siri Stafford via Getty Images

Halloween: The Season for Culturally-Insensitive Fashion

Native Feathers
Milk & Honey Creative via Getty Images

Mitt Romney: Obama Hasn't Given The Poor And Minorities Enough Gifts

Mitt Romney
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Beyond Ferguson -- Unrepresentative Democracy in City Elections

Election
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis for Black Women

Here Is Why 'Redskins' Shouldn't Be Heard On Television

No Honor In Racism
Red Circle Agency

California Health Officials Investigate Illness At NAACP Conference

Ambulance
PNC via Getty Images

Chicago Man Says Police Stormed His Home After He Was Just Walking Down The Street

Arrest Video
NBC Chicago

Cosby Has No One to Blame But Cosby for His Sullied Image

Bill Cosby
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Watch Nas React To Seeing An Ancestor's Bill Of Sale Into Slavery

Nas Finding Roots
PBS

Republicans Fear Price To Pay For Attacks On Black Interests

Vote
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Zambian President Michael Sata Dies

Michael Sata
Pool via Getty Images

Ebola Appears To Be Slowing In Liberia: WHO

Liberia
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Giants Are World Series Champions!

Giants World Series
Pool via Getty Images

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

Nigeria Soldiers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch This Dancing Traffic Cop Tear Up The Roads With His Sweet Moves

Dancing Cop
WTHI

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

North West Is The Only Skunk You'd Want To Be Around

North West Skunk
Instagram

Why, Eight Years After It Ended, The Wire Remains America's Best Example of Racial Melodrama

Wirehbo1031
The Wire HBO

WATCH
Chris Rock Preaches About The Top 5 Halloween Costumes

Chris Rock
NBC

Bad News For Pharrell And Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke Pharrell
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

23 Things Any 'Scandal' Fan Knows To Be True

Olivia Pope Scandal
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

What Nelly Tries To Remember About Raising Kids Today

Nelly
HuffPost Live

Why Deion Sanders Will Never Be On 'DWTS'

Deion Sanders Toe
HuffPost Live

Chris Rock Shows A Totally Different 'Prince' In 'SNL' Promos

Snlrock
NBC

Rihanna Gets Risqué For AmfAR

Rihanna
Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Real Story Behind Boyz II Men's Estranged Fourth Member

Boyz Ii Men
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

'SNL's' Michael Che Takes Heat For Street Harassment Comments

Michael Che
NBC via Getty Images

Things You Don't Know Your Natural Hair Can Do

Teyonah Parris
Bright Ideas Magazine

WATCH
This Was One 'Thriller' Of A Baseball Game

Thriller
AOL Huffington Post Video

Viola Davis Explains Why The Wig Had To Come Off

How To Get Away With Murder
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

This Is The Greatest Boxing Moment Since 'Rocky'

Tyson
NBC

At Least Theophilus London's New Song Features Kanye West

Theophilus London
SoundCloud

This Is What Happens When Fred Armisen & Ice-T Play Video Games

Ice T
Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

Marvel's Making A 'Black Panther' Movie

Chadwick Boseman
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

Man Arrested For Pot Tells Cops He's Denzel Washington

Justin Lee Seay
Rutherford County Jail

13 Real-Life Struggles Of Perpetually Forgetful People

Forget
Imgur user: larhavoc

Dionne Warwick: Don't Call Me A Diva

Dionne Warwick
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

That Time Blake Griffin Attended A 'White Party' At Donald Sterling's House

Blake Griffin
YouTube

David Oyelowo Talks 'Selma'

Selma
CloudEightFilms

How Beyoncé & Jay Z Spent Their Monday Night

Beyonce Jay Z Nightcrawler
Mammoth PR

Vonetta McGee: Leading Lady of Blaxploitation Era Dead at 65

Comments (150)



Vonetta McGee
, an actress who scaled the ranks of black Hollywood during blaxploitation film era of the 1970s, died after experiencing cardiac arrest and being on life support for two days. She was 65, though some have her year of birth listed as 1940.

McGee appeared opposite Fred Williamson in the black action movie 'Hammer' in 1972 and had starring roles in the crime drama 'Melinda' and the popular horror film 'Blacula.'

One Los Angeles Times movie reviewer once considered McGee "one of the busiest and most beautiful black actresses."

The San Francisco native also appeared with Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft in Africa' (1973), and co-starred with her lover, Max Julien, in 'Thomasine & Bushrod' (1974).McGee also appeared alongside Clint Eastwood in the 1975 action-thriller 'The Eiger Sanction,' which was considered a coup for a black actress during that period.

"I was pleased to see her get a role with Clint Eastwood," Williamson told the Los Angeles Times. "Not many black actors had that opportunity to be in a movie where color doesn't matter."

"Vonetta McGee was like a lot of actors and actresses at that time, like myself, Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, Billy Dee Williams and Pam Grier, in that we had more talent than we were allowed to show because everything was perceived as a black project. Once they categorize you, your marketability becomes limited," he added.

Known to be outspoken herself, McGee didn't care too much for the blaxploitation label that was attached to many of the films of her heyday. The label, she said, was used "like racism, so you don't have to think of the individual elements, just the whole. If you study propaganda, you understand how this works."

On a segment of 'Soul Train' in 1974, McGee joked that she had to go through a "lot of pain" to get her acting career started. In actuality, she attended San Francisco State college when she got involved with a local acting group. McGee launched her film career in 1968 in Italy, where she debuted in 'The Great Silence' and played the title role in the comedy 'Faustina.'

While starring in several episodes of the 1980s drama series 'Cagney & Lacey,' alongside Carl Lumbly, McGee fell in love with the dashing actor.

"I still remember the first day she came on the set -- it was August 21,1984 -- and we were scheduled to do a bedroom scene," Lumbly reflected in a 1989 Ebony magazine profile on celebrity couples. "Later, when we left the set, I realized we were holding hands. ... We married two years later."

The couple had a son, Brandon, in 1988.

According to family spokeswoman Kelley Nayo, McGee had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 17, but her July 9 death was not related to the disease.

In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by her mother, Alma McGee; three brothers, Donald, Richard and Ronald McGee; and a sister, Alma McGee.

"She was a brilliant actor, with a distinctive style and grace," Pam Grier told BV Newswire upon hearing about McGee's death. "I hope everyone revisits her films and enjoy. I wish peace and love to Carl, her husband, her son and and her family."

Comments: (150)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 15