Little Known Black History Fact: Judy Pace

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Pace starred alongside television beauties Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith in a show entitled “Owners”. For the first time in TV history, a black woman was shown as the roommate of two white women. The network executives were in talks of a new series that featured three women as crime-fighting beauty icons. They saw Fawcett and Smith as perfect choices, but believed that the black woman, who already had proven chemistry on screen, could not be a part of the cast. So they did not choose Judy Pace as the third Charlie’s Angel.

Among other firsts in Pace’s long resume of entertainment history, she was the first black woman to star in Broadway’s traveling production of “Guys and Dolls”, which was featured in Las Vegas. Pace had the leading role of Adelaide, opposite Clifton Davis.

As she gained notoriety in the television industry, executives of Fashion Fair cosmetics took notice of Judy Pace. Pace became the first model to appear in Fashion Fair advertisements. The ads soon also featured “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin.

In her personal life, Pace married actor Don Mitchell (“Ironsides”) in 1972. The two divorced in 1986 but had a daughter, Julia Pace Mitchell. That same year, Pace married Curt Flood, the former baseball player who broke barriers in the sport’s agency and trade policies. Flood passed away in 1997.

Judy Pace is a pioneer for her own daughter, Julia Pace Mitchell, who currently stars as Sofia on the “Young and the Restless”. Ironically, Sofia’s persona is similar to Pace’s character of Vickie Fletcher on “Peyton Place”. Judy Pace is a two-time NAACP Image Award winner and five-time nominee. It was the first time the NAACP organization had awarded the work of those in television. Pace is also the founder of the Image Award-winning Kwanza Foundation, the only philanthropic nonprofit black organization honoring the women of film in front and behind the camera.

For more information on the Kwanza Foundation, go to www.kwanzafoundation.org.

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