Actor Leslie Uggams has had a captivating career in both theater and film.

Despite her stellar seven-decade career, the singer and actress from Harlem is perhaps best known for her role in the Deadpool series. However, her life story, especially her marriage to White Australian Grahame Pratt in 1965, defied all expectations for an interracial relationship and could easily be the subject of a movie.

In 1953, Leslie, a talented vocalist, recorded a song for MGM at just 10 years old. Her aunt, soprano Eloise Uggams, recommended the renowned Juilliard School of Music and the Professional Children’s School in New York for her.

After her musical breakthrough, her career continued to flourish. In 1969, she hosted “The Leslie Uggams Show,” the first network variety show hosted by a Black person since “The Nat King Cole Show.”

Behind the scenes, Leslie fell in love with actor Grahame Pratt. The couple reconnected in Sydney during one of Leslie’s famous tours in Australia after first meeting as students at the Professional Children’s School in New York. Having dated a white man during her adolescence, Leslie was aware of the negative effects and her aunt had discouraged her from considering a future with him.

Leslie told Ebony in 1967, “I remember the shock I felt once when I was dating a white boy. He sent me a color picture of himself via mail. My aunt saw it. He was a young, attractive man with gorgeous hair. I felt he was very attractive. However, my aunt started lecturing me after glancing at it. ‘Well, I guess he’s alright,’ she remarked, ‘but only on dates, huh, honey? When you’re ready to settle down for good, you’ll marry a nice [Black] fella, won’t you?’”

Despite these warnings, Leslie continued to see Grahame after their fortunate encounter. “At just 21 years old, it was unexpected that I started to fall in love with him.” A year passed before she saw him again after leaving Australia. Leslie was worried about her family’s reaction and what would happen if Grahame moved to the US for her job, but the two had fallen in love. When they’d been engaged for five months, Grahame visited her in New York.

“I wanted to know if my family would really accept Grahame and not just tolerate him, knowing their views on mixed marriages,” she said.

Leslie’s concerns were alleviated because Grahame was an Australian. “Whereas many white Americans feel self-conscious about their circumstances, he didn’t. He liked my pals, so he easily fit in with them. And both the men and the women thought well of him.”

Living in New York, Leslie received hate mail because of their marriage even though they didn’t experience the same racial difficulties as the rest of the country. In an interview with PEOPLE, Leslie said of her marriage, “It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated. I think it’s because Grahame wasn’t a white man in America. Naturally, though, we got mail. I sometimes get anonymous letters about being married to a white man when I go on tour in the United States. I remember getting one, of all places, in Detroit. When it got to the club, it was addressed to ‘The Little Negro Entertainer.’ They are unpleasant to read and are frequently discussed in that way.”

As Leslie’s manager, Grahame took on responsibility, and the couple welcomed two daughters, Danielle in 1970 and Justice in 1976.

Leslie got the lead role in the miniseries “Roots” by 1977, a year after the birth of their second child. For the series, she was nominated for an Emmy in the role of Kizzy. She portrayed Lillian Rogers Parks in the miniseries “Backstairs at the White House” two years later, for which she was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Actress category. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1983 for hosting the NBC game show “Fantasy,” and in 1996, she played Rose Keefer on “All My Children.”

On television, Leslie has made appearances in shows like Family Guy, I Spy, Hollywood Squares, The Muppet Show, The Love Boat, and Magnum P.I.

After fifty-five years of marriage with a granddaughter named Cassidy, Leslie and Grahame are still happily married. “We have a lot of fun together, but it’s not always sunshine and roses,” Leslie remarked about her happy union. “We have fun while we’re together.”

Their love has endured the test of time and defied all expectations. They encourage each other, remain loyal, and have always supported one another.