Against All Odds: 55 Years of Love Amidst Hate

Leslie Uggams, a well-known actress, has been in the entertainment industry since she was just six years old. She’s had her fair share of fan mail over the years. But when she married Australian actor Grahame Pratt, they started receiving something different: hate letters.


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Leslie and Grahame first met in Sydney, Australia during the 1960s. They crossed paths at a club where he invited her and her friends for a drink, despite being a bit tipsy. Leslie recalls thinking he was English at first. They spent a lot of time together during her stay in Australia, and despite being just 21, Leslie found herself falling in love.

Growing up, Leslie dated a Caucasian boy, even though some family members expected her to settle down with a black man eventually. But when she met Grahame, she knew she couldn’t keep that promise. It took a whole year before they saw each other again after her time in Australia.

When they reconnected, doubts lingered. Leslie worried about how her family would react to Grahame, and she wondered if he truly understood the racial tensions in America. Additionally, he was the one who would have to leave his life in Sydney to be with her in New York due to her career.


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Their engagement marked a turning point. Grahame came to New York to meet Leslie’s family and friends. Surprisingly, he fit in seamlessly. Being Australian gave him a unique perspective, free from the ingrained biases that some Americans might have.

In 1965, they tied the knot. Living in New York, they found acceptance to be more prevalent. However, when Leslie was on the road, they faced a different reality. They received hate letters addressed to “The Little Negro Entertainer,” filled with hurtful comments about their marriage.

Despite these challenges, Leslie and Grahame weathered the storm and are still happily married after 55 years. They’ve raised two children and now have a granddaughter aspiring to follow in Leslie’s footsteps in the entertainment industry.

Leslie and Grahame’s enduring love story serves as a powerful reminder that genuine love can overcome any obstacle. In a time when racial tensions are high, their marriage stands as an inspiration, proving that love prevails over hate.

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