To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee Dies at 89
The writer's classic novel will be adapted for the Broadway stage.
It was confirmed this morning that Nelle Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. She was 89.
Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Lee was the youngest of four children. Her iconic American novel, published in 1960, is based on her Southern upbringing with her father, Amasa Coleman Lee, who once defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper.
The book was famously adapted for the screen by Horton Foote in 1962. The Oscar-winning film was directed by Robert Mulligan and starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout.
Christopher Sergel adapted the book for the stage, premiering the piece in 1990 in Monroeville. The play runs every May on the county courthouse grounds with townspeople making up the cast.
Sergel's play toured the UK, starting at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in 2006, and again in 2011 starting at the York Theatre Royal. Both productions featured Duncan Preston as Atticus Finch. Robert Sean Leonard also took on the role of Atticus Finch for a 2013 production at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London, his first London appearance in 22 years.
It was recently announced that Oscar-winning screen writer Aaron Sorkin will bring his own stage adaptation of the novel to Broadway for the 2017-18 season. The production will be directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (The King and I).
In 2015, Go Set a Watchman, Lee's sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird (which was written before To Kill a Mockingbird), was released.
Though To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee's only published novel until 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 by President George W. Bush for her contribution to literature. To Kill a Mockingbird is considered one of the classics of modern American literature, with 50 million copies in print to date.