PRIMER: Erin Brockovich

July 5th, 2012, by

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Friday, July 6, 2012

Hometown | Lawrence, KS

Why You (Should) Know Her

  • Her life and her fight against Pacific Gas and Electric Company were portrayed in Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 film starring Julia Roberts in the title role. Erin Brockovich went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for best picture and best director in 2001.

Why She’s Buzzing | The documentary Last Call at the Oasis features Brockovich at length and has been showing at selected theaters since May 2012. According to the documentary’s website, the film presents “a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century” and “[illuminates] the vital role water plays in our lives, exposing the defects in the current system and depicting communities already struggling with its ill-effects.”


  • After a brief stint working at Kmart, she entered a beauty pageant, ultimately winning the Miss Pacific Coast crown in 1981.
  • As portrayed in Erin Brockovich, she was able to play a significant role in making a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993. However, she was able to do so without any formal legal education.
  • Brockovich had a cameo role in Erin Brockovich as a waitress aptly named Julia R.
  • In fact, according to her biography, it was while organizing papers on a pro bono real estate case that she found medical records that sparked her investigation on PG&E against the small town of Hinkley. The end result? The largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.
  • On her website, Brockovich claims the film about her is 98% accurate. That includes how the character dressed herself, her “potty mouth,” and how her character was twice divorced with three children. Of the movie, she says, “The movie had its positive and negative effects on my life. I didn’t aspire for this to happen. All I was doing was what was in my heart to do and that was to extend my hand of friendship, understanding and compassion towards another. Had my intentions been anything other than pure, this case, this movie and my life, as it is today would not exist.”
  • She was a host on ABC’s Challenge America with Erin Brockovich and on Lifetime’s Final Justice with Erin Brockovich.
  • Her book, Take it From me: Life’s a Struggle But You Can Win, was published in 2001 and made it on The New York Times‘ Business Bestseller’s List.
  • The city of Barstow, CA named August 16 “Erin Brockovich Day” in 2000.

Selection of Honors/Awards

  • Consumer Advocate of the Year and the Presidential Award of Merit from the Consumer Attorneys of California
  • The Julius B. Richmond Award from the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2005
  • Special Citizen Award from the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola Marymount University in 2007
  • Honorary Master of Arts in Business Communication from Jones International University
  • Carol Harnack

    Thank you Erin Brocovich for your passionate work to expose this tragedy of our water. My question is where is this community that you spoke of with 59 cases of glioblastoma maleforme, GBM. My son in law’s previously very healyhy sister, age 50, was diagnosed in May of this year and apparently the medical community have not found a primary cause for this brain tumor. Surely, 59 people with this devastating tumor, in one community must be a clue.

  • white Feather Curtiss

    thank you for this important work, we love ms Brockovich and her passion she brings to wake us up.
    please Mr. Tavis Smiley will you do a show about the Chemtrails affecting ALL of us! how about getting the filmmakers of” What in the world are they spraying?” and new” Why in the World are they Spraying.” we need to pay attention to this disaster happening.

  • Carla Amurao

    Hi everyone!

    We truly appreciate your support and your loyalty to our site. While we do not have any direct lines to Erin Brockovich for outreach such as these, we recommend that you contact her via Facebook ( or Twitter (

    Hope that helps. We hope that you will find clean water in your community, and for communities all over! It is most definitely a cause for concern and we must all be called to action.

    Tavis Smiley Staff

  • a Friend of people

    Erin Brockovich is a gal after my own heart, a prophet of our times and a fighter for the common man (people).

  • Delia

    I love this woman!

  • elaine filer

    Truly inspiring lady, I will admit to having to adjust my mental image of her from looking like Julia Roberts …but I imagine I’m not alone, as this is where we first came to notice Erin Brockovich……. what a Gal

Last modified: July 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm