Mary Badham Speaks

Mary Badham Speaks

Hoover Library hosts To Kill a Mockingbird star.

April 03, 2008
Birmingham native Mary Badham, the child star who played Scout in the highly acclaimed 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, will share memories of her days as a Best Actress-nominated starlet at the Hoover Library Theatre on April 11. Badham’s rough-and-tumble tomboy persona was true to her real life. She left Hollywood at age 13 after three years, with the blessing of her mom and dad. “Some kids have the life dream of being an actor—I never did,” Badham told the San Jose Mercury News in 2006. “I just wanted to be a kid when I was growing up in Alabama. . . . I’ve never been a pretty person, a Hollywood person. Know what I’m saying?”

Mary Badham on the set of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962. (click for larger version)

Badham, who stayed in touch with Mockingbird star Gregory Peck throughout their lives, said she always called him “Atticus,” his character name. She was the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award until Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar for Paper Moon. (Badham lost to Patty Duke, who won the Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.)

Badham’s appearance is the highlight of the Jefferson County Library system’s The Big Read program, which urges local residents to read a particular work of fiction to encourage group discussion. Participants are reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the month of April. The week of Badham’s visit will also include two free screenings of the film: one at the Hoover Library Theatre on April 7, and one at the Alabama Theatre one evening of April 10. &

Mary Badham will speak at the Hoover Library Theatre on April 11 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 444-7820 or go to for details.

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