Harper Lee didn’t quite make it to 90, but calendar years were barely of interest when it came to her legend, which became fixed and gleaming when “To Kill A Mockingbird” was published in 1960, and particularly after Robert Mulligan, Horton Foote, Gregory Peck and Alan Pakula released their film version on 12.25.62. Last year’s publication of “Go Set A Watchman,” which was sold as a “Mockingbird” sequel but which was basically an early “Mockingbird” draft when Lee first submitted it in 1957, was regrettable, but certain parties wanted the payday.
Written by Gregory Peck for the paperback edition of “Mockingbird”: “The Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, reminds me of the California town [i.e., La Jolla] I grew up in. The characters of the novel are like people I knew as a boy. I think perhaps the great appeal of the novel is that it reminds readers everywhere of a person or a town they have known. It is to me a universal story — moving, passionate and told with great humor and tenderness.”