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LGBTQ Rights Crusader Mary Griffith Dies at 85

Mary Griffith, a longtime crusader for LGBTQ rights, died after a lengthy illness last Friday, at her home in Walnut Creek, Calif. She was 85.

Griffith was portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the 2009 Lifetime movie “Prayers for Bobby.” She took up the LGBTQ cause after her son Bobby died by suicide in 1983 due to his churchgoing mother’s homophobia. Her journey was chronicled in Leroy Aarons’ 1989 book “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son.”

“Prayers for Bobby” received a GLAAD Media Award and was nominated for an Emmy. Weaver received Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for her portrayal.

“The PFLAG family is deeply saddened by the loss of Mary Griffith, who led by heroic example on changing hearts and minds by sharing her personal story,” said PFLAG National executive director Brian K. Bond. “After the devastating loss of her son to suicide, Mary found PFLAG and learned that one can love both their child and their faith and not have to choose between them. Mary used this personal journey to help countless other parents, so that they would not have to face the same loss that she did.”

“Mary’s life story has been embraced by millions of people globally,” said “Prayers for Bobby” executive producer Daniel Sladek. “On behalf of myself and my producing partners Chris Taaffe and David Permut, we are heartbroken to learn of our dear friend Mary’s passing. While soft-spoken and endlessly kind, Mary’s dedication was absolute. The thousands of emails and letters we received on Mary’s behalf are validation of the impact she has made on people’s lives. She was a fierce advocate on behalf of LGBTQ equality and she will be deeply missed.”

She is survived by her husband, Robert; children Joy Griffith, Ed (Suzy) Griffith and Nancy Griffith; grandchildren Caiden, Ernesto Jesse, Jordyn, Ben and Clancy; and brother Charles Griffith. In celebration of Griffith’s life, contributions can be made to PFLAG National at pflag.org/marygriffith.

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