Celebrating the Iconic Jeanne Bell!
Sometimes, I come across a Cult Movie Queen when I see an obscure film I wasn’t familiar with – and that’s the case with Jeanne Bell!
As it turns out, Jeanne Bell was in a string of classic “blaxploitation” films in the 70’s – and was a groundbreaking Playboy Playmate as well!
My “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” has a look at her groundbreaking career!
Jeannie Bell was born in 1943 in St. Louis Missouri.
Jeanne broke barriers early in life: she was the first African-American woman to participate in the Miss Texas contest and later became the first black woman to grace the cover of Playboy magazine!
Bell first had the honor of being only the second Black Playmate when she appeared in the October 1969 issue…as Jean Bell.
Before appearing in some classic 70’s action films she actually got her start in TV in 1970, appearing in several episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies!”
Tons of TV roles followed, but I want to focus on a few of her great cult movie roles!
“Trouble Man” is a great example of “blaxploitation”: films with black lead roles, telling stories from their point-of-view – oh, and guess what? This was the FIRST “Mr. T!”
Checkout this classic blaxploitation trailer:
Jeanne had a nice run of classic “blaxploitation” films, and was always willing to bare all for the role:
“Black Gunn” in 1972 starred Jim Brown, the legendary NFL Running Back who left the game in the prime of his career to make a string of classic films like “tick…tick..tick…”, “100 Rifles” and more!
Check out this trailer – with foreign subtitles:
“The Klansman” in 1974 is one of the roughest of the 70’s “race” films, and look at that cast!
Here is the trailer:
This film is something else – a shocker if there ever was one!
That same year, Jeanne got her chance to star in a classic slice of blaxploitation:
“TNT Jackson…She’ll Put You In Traction!”
Jeanne had the kick-ass, empowered lead role in this classic slice of blaxploitation!
Here is the wild trailer:
She also starred in a classic 1976 action thriller, one of three “muthers” who are modern day pirates until captured – so they escape from a foreign jail!
Check out the hilariously wild trailer!
By the way, the other two “Muthers” are Jayne” That’s Incredible!” Kennedy and Rosanne Katon!
Rosanne had quite a cult movie career as well and you can see all of her highlights here:
As for Bell, she moved between exploitation and mainstream films with ease…
She appeared in “The Choirboys” before calling it quits and retiring from films!
Bell continued to capture the attention of film buffs and was profiled in “Women of Blaxploitation: How the Black Action Film Heroine Changed American Popular Culture” by Yvonne D. Sims in 2006.
And get this! In 2020 she was acknowledged in the Guiness Book Of World Records for being the oldest competitive rope skipper!
Bravo to her!
And speaking of groundbreaking African American Playmates:
Renee Tenison was Playboy’s first ever African-American Playmate Of The Year!
See her entire story here!
There were a number of Playboy “firsts”, like the first ever X-rated Playmate!
Susan Lynn Kiger was Playboy’s frist “X-rated” Playmate – click here to see why!
If you like these stories, and don’t want to miss any of my “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” as well, then go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!
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Categories: 70's Films, Blaxploitation, Books / Media, Classic Action Films, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Talent / Celebrites
I have seen The Klansman, and The Choirboys, but I don’t remember her at all.
(The book of The Choirboys was better than the film, IMO.)
Best wishes, Pete.
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Agree on Choirboys Pete…they dropped the ball on that one! Thanks for the note!
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