'To Kill a Mockingbird' Author Harper Lee Dies at 89

Harper Lee
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House Nov. 5, 2007 in Washington, DC. 

Author Harper Lee has died at the age of 89, a source confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

The To Kill a Mockingbird author was a resident at the Meadows, an assisted living facility, in her hometown Monroeville in Alabama. No further details were immediately available. 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author published only one novel until Go Set a Watchman was released last July by HarperCollins.

Lee has famously avoided giving interviews in recent decades about her work even as it became required reading for generations of students.

Mockingbird, a landmark in American literature bringing to life the Southern lawyer Atticus Finch was published in July, 1960. Set in the 1930's, Finch is tasked with defending an African-American man, Tom Robinson, accused of rape. 

"Lee writes with gentle affection, rich humor and deep understanding of small-town family life in Alabama," a 1960 book review from The New York Times read, adding: "The dialogue of Miss Lee’s refreshingly varied characters is a constant delight in its authenticity and swift revelation of personality."

Watchman, originally written prior to Mockingbird, saw a revision of the Finch character in a storyline set two decades after the events of the first book. 

The Times, the first to review the new title, noted in its surprised appraisal last year that now "Atticus is a racist." Due to enormous interest (and controversy), the title sold more than 1 million copies in its first weeks at booksellers.

Gregory Peck portrayed Finch in the Robert Mulligan-directed 1962 film, which claimed eight nominations at 35th Academy Awards and nabbed three wins.

Mockingbird will once again be revived, this time for the stage for the 2017-2018 Broadway season, with Social Network and West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin penning the adaptation.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


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