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Mary Griffith, Champion of LGBTQ rights, has passed away

February 13, 2020

Sigourney Weaver starred as Mary Griffith in the Emmy Award nominated and GLAAD Award-winning movie Prayers for Bobby


LOS ANGELES—Mary Griffith, iconic crusader for LGBTQ equality, passed away after a lengthy illness on Friday, February 7, 2020 at her home in Walnut Creek, CA. She was 85. 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. 

Sigourney Weaver starred as Mary Griffith in the Emmy Award-nominated—and GLAAD Award-winning Lifetime movie, PRAYERS FOR BOBBY ; Weaver received nominations for Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild awards for her portrayal.

PRAYERS FOR BOBBY trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSee8On2lEQ
Interview with Mary Griffith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf6cIdhYDVc  

Based on the landmark Harper Collins book by journalist Leroy Aarons, Prayers for Bobby is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to his tragic conclusion, and equally so the story of Mary, a fearful churchgoer who first prayed that her son would be “healed”, then anguished when he died by suicide in 1983. Mary ultimately transformed herself into a national crusader for LGBTQ+ youth.  

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National, the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies, said, “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. 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.”

Continued Bond, “Mary Griffith was a force to be reckoned with, and her story—told both in the original book by Leroy Aarons and the beautiful award-winning film PRAYERS FOR BOBBY—continues to change lives around the world. We’re grateful to the Griffith family for their generosity and support of PFLAG National, which will ensure that Mary’s story continues to change the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their families. The hearts of PFLAGers everywhere are with the Griffith family.” 

“Mary’s life story has been embraced by millions of people globally, said Daniel Sladek, Executive Producer of PRAYERS FOR BOBBY. “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.” 

In celebration of Mary’s life, contributions can be made to PFLAG National at pflag.org/marygriffith. 

Photos available and linked below; please credit as noted.


PFLAG is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world. We are hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of chapters from coast to coast who are leading with love to support families, educate allies, and advocate for just, equitable, and inclusive legislation and policies. Since our founding in 1973, PFLAG works every day to ensure LGBTQ+ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered and loved. Learn more, find support, donate, and take action at PFLAG.org.

Media Contact

Laura McGinnis (she/her),
Sr. Manager, Press and Public Relations

[email protected]  |  (202) 864-2247