Teresa Graves

Teresa Graves

Teresa Graves in Get Christie Love, Market for Murder Sept. 11, 1974.
Born Terresa Graves
(1948-01-10)January 10, 1948
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Died October 10, 2002(2002-10-10) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Burns sustained in House Fire.
Nationality American
Other names Theresa Graves
Occupation Actress, Singer
Years active 19671983
Religion Jehovah's Witness
Spouse(s) William Reddick (m. 1977–83)

Teresa Graves (born Terresa Graves; January 10, 1948 October 10, 2002) was an American actress and singer. As the star of the 1974 Get Christie Love!, Graves is credited as being the first African-American woman to star in her own hour-long drama television series.[1]

Early life and Career

Born in Houston, Texas, Graves began her career singing with The Doodletown Pipers.[2] She soon turned to acting and became a regular in the two variety shows: Our Place (1967) and the infamous single episode of Turn-On (1969). She then became a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In during its third season.[3] Graves appeared in a number of films before her pivotal role in the 1974 television movie Get Christie Love!. She reprised the role of police investigator "Christie Love" in a short-lived TV series of the same name, which featured Charles Cioffi and Jack Kelly as Lieutenants Reardon and Ryan, respectively, Love's supervisors. Jet magazine described Graves as "television's most delightful detective, the epitome of a tough lady cop with more feminine features than Venus".[4]

Later Years/Death

Graves was baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in 1974, and almost immediately began using her celebrity to bring international awareness to the persecution of Witnesses in Malawi under then-leader Hastings Kamuzu Banda's "one-party rule".[5] In 1983, she retired from show business to devote her time to the religion. For the rest of her life, Graves resided at 3437 West 78th Place in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, and took care of her mother.[2] On October 10, 2002, Graves' home caught fire. She was found unconscious in a bedroom before being rushed to the hospital where she later died.[6] She was 54 years old.

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1969 Turn-On Regular Performer 1 episode
1970–1971 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Regular performer 26 episodes
1971 The Funny Side Minority Wife Unknown episodes
1972 Keeping Up with the Joneses Television movie
1972 The New Dick Van Dyke Show Nurse Allen 1 episode
1973 The Rookies Susan Davis 1 episode
1973 That Man Bolt Samantha Nightingale
1974 Vampira Countess Vampira Alternative titles: Old Dracula
Old Drac
1974 Black Eye Cynthia
1974 Get Christie Love! Christie Love Television movie
1974 Get Christie Love! Christie Love 22 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1975 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best TV Actress - Drama Get Christie Love!
1977 TP de Oro Won Best Foreign Actress (Mejor Actriz Extranjera) Get Christie Love!


  1. Levine, Elana (2007). Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television. Duke University Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-8223-3919-6.
  2. 1 2 "`Get Christy Love' TV star Teresa Graves, 54, dies in fire". Jet. 2002-10-28. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  3. Erickson, Hal (1999). From Beautiful Downtown Burbank: A Critical History of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in, 1968-1973. McFarland. p. 204. ISBN 0-7864-0766-2.
  4. "TV's Tough Lady Copy", Jet magazine, November 14, 1974, cover and pages 58-60, Online
  5. "Choosing Between Two Loves in My Life" as told by Teresa Graves, Awake!, April 22, 1977, p. 19.
  6. "Teresa Graves, 53, Of 'Get Christie Love'". The New York Times. 2002-10-16. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
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