Harper Lee, author of the 1961 novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has died at age 89.
Known as Nelle by those closest to her, Lee lived the last few years of her life in a nursing home located less than a mile from her childhood home in Monroeville, Alabama. Her hometown served as the setting for Maycomb, the fictional town in her the book that sold more than 40 million copies and earned the author a Pulitzer prize.
Lee avoided public attention and made it known that she had no intention of writing another book. However, a second novel, 'Go Set A Watchman', was discovered and published last year.
Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children. Lee moved to New York City with hopes of becoming a writer. Several years later, her then-boss, Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Brown, gave Lee a year-long paid leave from her job so she could focus on writing a book. During that year, Lee penned 'To Kill A Mockingbird', a story of southern racism narrated by a young girl named Scout, inspired by a young Harper Lee.
The book was made into a movie in 1962 that starred Gregory Peck as Scout's father. The portrayal earned Peck a Best Actor Oscar as well as a long-time friendship with Harper Lee.
Lee made few comments about 'Mockingbird' over the years, but in 1964 said "I never expected any sort of success with 'Mockingbird.' I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little...but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected."
Our prayers are with Harper Lee's family and friends and her many fans around the world.
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