Nelle Harper Lee (28th April, 1926 - 19th February, 2016) was born in Monroeville, Alabama, April 28, 1926. She was a famous American author for her bestseller ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. For this, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States by President Bush for her contribution to literature. Of the 1962 Academy Award–winning screenplay adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird by Horton Foote, Lee said: "I think it is one of the best translations of a book to film ever made". Lee continues to live a quiet, private life in New York City and Monroeville. Active in her church and community, she usually avoids anything to do with her still popular novel.
One of her closest childhood friends was another writer-to-be, Truman Capote. Tougher than many of the boys, the tom-boy Lee often served as Truman’s protector. Truman was picked on for being a sissy and for the fancy clothes he wore. While the two friends were very different, they both shared in having difficult home lives. Truman was living with his mother’s relatives in town after largely being abandoned by his own parents. Their friendship was later torn apart by jealousy.
In high school, Lee developed an interest in English literature. After graduating in 1944, she went to the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery. She focused on her studies and on her writing. Lee was a member of the literary honor society and the glee club.
Transferring to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Lee was known for being a loner and an individualist. However, she did make a greater attempt at a social life there. Pursuing her interest in writing, Lee contributed to the school’s newspaper and its humor magazine, the Rammer Jammer. She eventually became the editor of the Rammer Jammer.
To Kill a Mockingbird
In 1949, Lee arrived in New York City. She strugled for several years, working as a ticket agent for Eastern Airlines and for the British Overseas Air Corp (BOAC). While in the city, Lee was reunited with her old friend Truman Capote, a rising literary star of the time. She also befriended Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Martin Brown and his wife Joy. In 1956, the Browns helped her find an agent, Maurice Crain. He was able to get the publishing firm interested in her first novel, which was first titled Go Set a Watchman, then Atticus, and later To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee finished the manual script in 1959.
The following year, To Kill a Mockingbird won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and several other literary awards. Horton Foote wrote a screenplay based on the book for the 1962 film adaptation. Lee visited the set during filming and did a lot of interviews to support the film. The movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird won four awards and eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch. The character of Atticus is said to have been based on Lee’s father.