Leslie Uggams on Getting Hate Letters for Marrying Her White Husband
While the current generation knows her as Wade Wilson’s roommate, Leslie Uggams had her heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, being nominated for her role in Roots.
Besides her career, the actress’s love life is no less interesting, as she married her husband, Grahame Pratt, in 1965, when interracial marriage was highly frowned upon.
Inside Leslie Uggams’ Long-Lasting Marriage with Husband Grahame Pratt
Leslie Uggams married his husband, Grahame Pratt, in 1965. But it wasn’t without any turmoils! The actress shared in an interview with Ebony that her family initially wanted her to marry a nice black man.
While Leslie admitted that she never discriminated against people she dated, the actress never thought that her soulmate turned out to be a white Australian lad who also served as her manager during her stay in the country.
“I came for my first appearance at Chequers nightclub and met Grahame,” she recalled. “I found myself really falling for him, which was quite a thing for me to realize as I was only 21,” Leslie added.
Being the object of racial discrimination back in the States made Leslie have doubts about the newly budding romance. While she “believed” Grahame loved her, she felt that Grahame “might also have welcomed a way out” from their relationship.
Her doubts were baseless, though, as Grahame proved his commitment by proposing to Leslie soon after and even willing to move with Leslie to the United States and meet her family. While Leslie was happy, she was still wary about her family’s reaction to their daughter bringing a white boy home as a husband-to-be.
Leslie claimed that on their way home, she wanted to see whether her family “would really accept Grahame” and “not just tolerate him.”
Well, surprise, surprise! Thanks to Grahame being an Australian with less racial discrimination than most American whites, he turned out to fit well with Leslie’s family and friends. The actress shared that her father told her he “couldn’t hope for a better son-in-law.”
Leslie and Grahame got married in 1965, and the rest is history. According to People, they are now parents to daughter Danielle and son Justice and also grandparents of Cassidy, who follows in her grandma’s footsteps as an actress.
Leslie Uggams and Her Husband Received Hate Letters After Getting Married
Leslie Uggams and Grahame Pratt got married in 1965 when interracial marriage was still illegal in several states.
Unfortunately, while Grahame’s being Australian might help him blend in with Leslie’s culture, that didn’t mean the other American whites could accept it and let them live peacefully.
In an interview with People, Leslie admitted that while the nasty remarks “was not as hard” as she expected, the couple (mainly Leslie, though, because, you know, racism) still got hate mail now and then.
“Sometimes when I go on tour through the States, I get anonymous letters about being married to a white man,” the actress recalled. “It came to the club addressed to ‘The Little N—- Entertainer,” she continued, claiming that the letters were “always addressed something like that.”
Leslie also received another letter where the writer claimed that Leslie and Grahame would have “polka-dot children.”
Years after being married and many hate mails later, Leslie and Grahame are still very much in love with each other. While she shared that (of course) their marriage “ain’t always roses,” the couple’s love persevered through the tough times.
“He’s smart and witty and fearless,” Leslie gushed. “We have fun together,” she concluded.