Nelle Harper Lee, better known by her pen name, Harper Lee, has died at the age of 89.
Her debut 1960 novel ”To Kill a Mockingbird” won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was turned into a movie starring Gregory Peck, who plays white lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends Tom Robinson, a black man, falsely accused of raping a white woman in a small Southern town.
Finch’s quest for justice are seen through the eyes of his six-year-old daughter Scout.
Peck won an Oscar for Best Actor.
After finishing ‘Mockingbird,” Truman Capote, who’d just written ”Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” invited her to help him on a new profject – the story of a murdered Kansas family, the Clutters.
Lee became part-secretary, part-interviewer, part go-between for Capote.
Their work would become the foundation of the 1966 best-seller, ”In Cold Blood”.
Lee’s manuscript for the ‘Mockingbird’ sequel, ”Go Set A Watchman,” was discovered and published last year.
‘Watchman’ is set 20 years after ‘Mockingbird,’ although Lee actually wrote ‘Watchman’ first.
Despite mixed reviews it was one of the top sellers of 2015.
Lee received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.
Her literary agent says, ”We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity.”
The owner of a small book store in Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, says ”The world has lost a brilliant mind and a great writer.”