American Masters

Harper Lee

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Reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been a national pastime for five decades -- it is still selling nearly a million copies a year, its classic popularity and power are a common reference. And the courtroom image of Gregory Peck, as the passionate Atticus Finch, gave us an enduring picture for the novel's message. Behind it all was a young Southern girl named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said she wanted to be Alabama's Jane Austen. This program explores her life and unravels its mysteries, particularly why she never published again. Illuminated with family photos, revealing personal letters and an exclusive interview with her sister, Alice Finch Lee (100 years old), the film is steeped in the texture of the novel's Deep South and the social changes it inspired. Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow, Oprah Winfrey and Andrew Young reflect on how "Mockingbird" shaped their lives.
 

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