Actress Leslie Uggams has had an interesting career in both the theater and on the big screen.
The Harlem-born singer and actress, who is probably best recognized for her part in the Deadpool series, has had a fruitful career spanning seven decades.
Yet after she married White Australian man Grahame Pratt in 1965, her private life may be the topic of a movie because their love connection has lasted through the centuries against all the hurdles against interracial love.
The Leslie Uggams Show was the first network variety show hosted by a person of color since “The Nat King Cole Show” in 1969. But, her musical success was just the beginning of her journey.
Grahame Pratt, an actor, was someone she had met and fallen in love with behind the scenes. The couple initially met at the Professional Children’s School of New York, where they both attended and then ran into one another while she was onstage in Sydney while Leslie was on one of her famous tours of Australia.
Leslie had dated a white man when she was a teenager, so she was aware of the consequences and her aunt had advised her not to consider a future with him.
Leslie admitted as much in a 1967 interview with Ebony, “I recall the shock I felt once when I was dating a white boy.”
“He sent me an image of himself in color. My aunt saw it after I did. He had lovely hair and was a handsome boy. I admired his beauty. But after taking one look, my aunt began lecturing me. He’s okay, I guess, she said, but only for dates, right, honey? You’ll make sure to marry a good [Black] fella when you’re ready to settle down for the long haul, won’t you?
Leslie claimed that she continued to see Grahame after their unexpected encounter.
As a young woman of 21, “I found myself truly falling for him, which was quite a thing for me to comprehend.”
It would be 12 months after she left Australia before she saw him once more.
Despite Leslie’s concerns about Grahame moving to the United States for Leslie’s job and what that would entail for the two of them, the two had fallen in love. For five months, they were engaged, and Grahame paid her a visit in New York.
Considering my family’s attitudes against mixed marriages, she added, “I also wanted to see if they would truly welcome Grahame and not simply tolerate him.”
Leslie didn’t need to worry, though, because Grahame’s being an Australian had its benefits.
Of course, we received mail, though.
He lacked the usual white American self-consciousness about the circumstance. He was comfortable around all of my pals simply because he liked them. He was well-liked by both the females and the guys.
Leslie claimed that despite not suffering many of the racial problems that the rest of the United States had, the two still received hate mail after getting married in 1965.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Leslie reflected on her marriage and remarked, “It was not as terrible as I thought it to be.” “I believe the cause was the fact that Grahame was not a white American man. Of course, we did receive mail.
Leslie said, “I occasionally receive anonymous letters about being married to a white man when I am on tour in the States. “I recall that, of all places, I received one in Detroit. The letter addressed to “The Little Negro Entertainer” arrived at the club. They are never addressed nicely, and they are unpleasant to read.
Grahame took up the role of Leslie’s manager, and the couple welcomed two kids: Justice was born in 1976 and Danielle was born in 1970.
One year after the birth of their second child, in 1977, Leslie had secured the major role in the miniseries “Roots,” for which she was nominated for an Emmy in the character of Kizzy.
She played Lillian Rogers Parks in the miniseries “Backstairs at the White House” two years later, for which she received an Emmy Award nomination for Best Actress.
She portrayed Rose Keefer on “All My Children” in 1996, and in 1983, while hosting the NBC game show “Fantasy,” she won a Daytime Emmy Award.
Also, she appeared as a guest on TV shows like “Family Guy,” “I Spy,” “Hollywood Squares,” “The Muppet Show,” “The Love Boat,” and “Magnum, P.I.”
After 55 years, Leslie and Grahame are still together and much in love. They have two children as well as a granddaughter named Cassidy.
And Leslie revealed the secret to their blissful union: “We laugh all the time, but it ain’t all flowers. Together, we have fun.”
These two’s relationship has withstood the test of time and surmounted all odds. They are an inspiration since they are obviously committed to one another and have helped one another over the years.
Please spread the word to your family and friends so they may read this lovely love tale.