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Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016).
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird became one of the most beloved books in US literary history. Here are seven facts about Lee, who died at the age of 89 on February 19, 2016.
She went by Harper, her middle name, because she was afraid her first name, Nelle, would be mispronounced as "Nellie," not "Nell."
Lee based the To Kill a Mockingbird character Dill on childhood friend Truman Capote, who in turn used her as the basis for a character in his Other Voices, Other Rooms.
To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Conrad Richter's The Waters of Kronos beat Mockingbird for the National Book Award.
Lee’s fans were stunned to learn 55 years after publication of the novel of a long-stashed manuscript written before To Kill a Mockingbird and even more stunned that Atticus, the hero of the first book, was portrayed as a segregationist in Go Set a Watchman. Atticus was based on Lee’s father.
Lee and actor Gregory Peck became friends during the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird. She remained close to his family and Peck’s grandson, Harper Peck Voll, is named for her.
To Kill a Mockingbird created a cottage industry in her hometown, Monroeville, Alabama, with a museum dedicated to it, although Lee filed a lawsuit claiming it was selling unlicensed merchandise, such as To Kill a Mockingbird beverage coasters.
Actresses Sandra Bullock (Infamous in 2006) and Catherine Keener (Capote in 2005) portrayed Lee in movies about the writing of Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”