|Packed House for Mary Badham Appearance|
There was not an empty seat to be found Monday evening (March 19) when Mary Badham ("Scout" in the classic film verson of To Kill a Mockingbird).
Badham was a young mother when she finally read the book version of To Kill a Mockingbird, which told the story of the events surrounding an upstanding, Depression-era Southern family. "It's such an amazing educational tool," Badham said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The film touches people, and I've seen where the book and the film both have brought people together and showed them what a family can do."
Badham's mother was one of Birmingham, Alabama's leading theatrical actresses, though Mary herself had never acted before winning the Mockingbird role at a casting call at age 9. "I grew up in a household full of boys and was very much a tomboy growing up," Badham said. She looked the part of the smart-but-sassy heroine in overalls, and her naturalistic performance made it impossible to imagine anyone else as the daughter of Atticus Finch.Atticus was played by Gregory Peck, who won an Academy Award for the role of gentleman lawyer battling prejudice. (Badham was nominated for best supporting actress, losing out to Patty Duke for "The Miracle Worker.") The relationship between Atticus and Scout on screen mirrored the real-life bond between Peck and Badham until his death in 2003. Badham said that Peck reminded her of her own upright, distinguished father, an Air Force general, and she always called him (Peck) "Atticus."