Woman portrayed in 'The Blind Side' speaks out against bigotry and for doing good

January 17th, 2012
By Cheryl Truman
January 17, 2011

You might not have met Leigh Anne Tuohy, but you probably know her voice from the silver screen.

It sounds just like Sandra Bullock interpreted it: a little bit Memphis, a little bit insistent, a whole lot of steel.

It’s the voice that told her adopted son, Michael Oher, that football was like defending the family. If he had her back, she told him, he also needed to have the back of the team member whose blind side he was defending.

Bullock nailed that hard-driving Memphis lilt in her 2010 Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side, the movie that made Bullock a character-acting legend and Tuohy a force in national motivational speaking and fund-raising.

Tuohy and her husband, Sean, fast-food moguls, became famous after adopting Oher, a black teenage student who had suffered a calamitous home life. Oher went on to excel in high school football and at the University of Mississippi, which he attended with his sister, Collins Tuohy, and he now plays for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.

Bullock had a dialogue coach to capture the distinctive rhythm of Tuohy’s voice, “and they would worry the ever-living stew out of me,” said Leigh Anne Tuohy, who’s scheduled to make three speaking appearances in Kentucky next month, including at the Lexington Opera House on Feb. 4.