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Carol Speed, Actress in ‘The Mack,’ ‘Abby,’ and ‘Black Samson,’ Dies at 76

The Blaxploitation-era movie star was best known as Lulu, the girlfriend to Max Julien in 1973’s ‘The Mack.’

2022 continues to add more names to the obituary list as Carol Speed, the actress and singer who became best known for her performances in The Mack, Abby, and Black Samson, died Friday. She was 76.

The actress died surrounded by her family in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Speed portrayed Lulu, the girlfriend of Max Julien’s Goldie in 1973’s The Mack. She also played the girlfriend of a lion-owning club owner (Rockne Tarkington) in Chuck Bail’s 1974 classic, Black Samson. She was also in the cult martial arts drama Dynamite Brothers, which premiered in 1974 and starred Timothy Brown.

Speed also starred in the lead role Abby, as a minister’s wife who becomes possessed by a vengeful spirit in the 1974 horror film. It was rooted in the vein of other spiritual horror films such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

“The script reminded me of [1957’s] The Three Faces of Eve, which starred Paul Newman’s wife, [Joanne Woodward],” Speed said in an undated interview. “I thought ‘Abby’ was a wonderful vehicle to show off my acting.”

RELATED: ‘The Mack’ Actor Max Julien Dies at 88

Born in Bakersfield, California, on Mar. 14, 1945, Carol Ann Bennett Stewart was the first Black homecoming queen in Santa Clara County. She attended San Jose State University and later the American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco.

Speed sang backup for Bobbie Gentry at Harrah’s in Reno, Nevada, and even appeared on an episode of NBC’s Julia opposite Diahann Carroll and had a recurring role on the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives in 1970.

After a hiatus from acting, Quentin Tarantino offered her a role in his 1997 film, Jackie Brown, opposite Pam Grier, but she backed out at the last minute, according to her family. Her final acting credit came in 2006’s Village Vengeance.

A singer, songwriter, and author — Speed wrote compositions for Abby and penned the book Inside Black Hollywood, published in 1980. There was also 2002’s The Georgette Harvey Story and contributed to another book, 2004’s Gods in Polyester.

Speed is survived by her grandson, Marc, and her sister Barbara.

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