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Think Harper Lee Is A Cute Little Old Lady? She Could Kick Your Ass Back In The Day

And Nine other Nuggets About America's Favorite Reclusive Author

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1. / Via The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills

Harper Lee could fight. "If somebody picked on her she'd jump on 'em and fight 'em. So a bunch of the boys decided one day they were going to get the best of Nelle [Harper]... But she jumped on that first one, and then the others came in and she jumped on them. And they didn't jump on her anymore!"

2. / Via Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles Shields

The character of Dill is based on her best friend growing up, Truman Capote. She got into many scraps defending him, as he wore little white suits and shoes while most other kids wore overalls and went barefoot.


Ann Jumbo Finchburg, from "The Thanksgiving Visitor," by Truman Capote, is said to be based on Harper Lee: "a sawed-off but solid tomboy with an all-hell-let-loose wrestling technique."


NOT actually Harper Lee! / Via Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles Shields

At the end of her first semester of college, her roommates asked her to leave because she smoked a pipe and cursed like a sailor.


Atticus is based on Harper Lee's dad, A.C. Lee. While he never defended an accused rapist, he was once assigned to represent two african american defendants accused of murder. He lost. The men were hanged and their scalps sent to their victim's family. A.C. Lee never took another criminal case.


She once met Winston Churchill. In a letter recounting the meeting, she wrote "Today I met history. I met History Itself."


To explain why she didn't want to do an interview for O Magazine, she told Oprah: "You know the character Boo Radley. Well, then if you know Boo then you understand why I wouldn't be doin' an interview. Because I'm really Boo."


The setting of To Kill a Mockingbird is straight out of Harper Lee's childhood. She lived where Scout lived, Truman where Dill lived, Atticus' office is her dad's office, the square, the courthouse, the Jitney Jungle, even Boo's house (inspired by a neighborhood recluse known as Son Bowler) were all real places.

10. / Via Hey Boo documentary

Gregory Peck, who starred as Atticus in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, became a lifelong friend of Harper Lee's. "Isn't he delicious?" she is reported to have said of him. Robert Duval made his film debut as Boo Radley.

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