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Arts & Culture

AMERICAN MASTERS: Harper Lee: Hey, Boo

Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee in a local courthouse while visiting her home town.
Courtesy of Donald Uhrbrock/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee in a local courthouse while visiting her home town.

Airs Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

AMERICAN MASTERS explores the phenomenon behind "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the mysterious life of its Pulitzer Prize-winning author, including why she never published again in "Harper Lee: Hey, Boo."

Offering an unprecedented look into Lee’s mysterious life, Emmy®-winning filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy (author of "Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of To Kill a Mockingbird") interviews Lee’s friends and family, including her centenarian sister Alice, who share intimate recollections, anecdotes and biographical details for the first time: her rise from small-town Alabama girl to famous author, her tumultuous friendship with Truman Capote, and the origin of her most memorable characters: Atticus Finch, his daughter Scout, her friend Dill, and Boo Radley.

The documentary reveals the context and history of the novel’s Deep South setting, and the social changes it inspired after publication. The popular film version, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, leaves an enduring image for the novel’s message.

Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow, Oprah Winfrey and others reflect on the novel’s power, influence, popularity, and the ways it has shaped their lives.

This film originally aired in 2012.

Past episodes and clips from AMERICAN MASTERS are available for online viewing. AMERICAN MASTERS is on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and you can follow @PBSAmerMasters on Twitter.