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Mary Badham Speaks to Birmingham-Southern College
October 7, 1952 |
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Mary Badham (born October 7, 1952) is an American actress, known for her portrayal of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. At the time, Badham (aged 10) was the youngest actress ever nominated in this category.
Badham also played 'Sport Sharewood' in "The Bewitchin' Pool", the final episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Portions of her dialogue were dubbed in post production by ADR artist June Foray. Badham also appeared in the films Let's Kill Uncle and This Property Is Condemned before retiring from the acting profession.
Mary Badham is the younger sister of film director John Badham. The Badham siblings, however, have never worked together on the same film. Their parents were Henry Lee Badham, Jr. and Mary (Hewitt), an English-born actress. Henry Lee Badham was an aviator in both World Wars and was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007. After retirement from the US Air Force as a Brigadier General, Henry L. Badham, Jr. became a businessman, involved with the development of the Ensley and Bessemer regions near Birmingham, Alabama. This same line of business had brought his father, Henry Lee Badham, Sr. into association with Walker Percy, grandfather of writer Walker Percy.
Mary Badham had no film acting experience before being cast in To Kill a Mockingbird. The Oscar in her category went to another child actress, Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker. During filming, Badham became particularly close to actor Gregory Peck, who played Scout's father, Atticus Finch; she kept in touch with him, always calling him 'Atticus', until his death in 2003. At the urging of actor/writer/director Cameron Watson, Badham came out of retirement to play an offbeat cameo opposite Keith Carradine for his film Our Very Own. Watson stated he would not accept any other actress for the part. He had managed to contact her in Monroeville, Alabama, where she had been invited to attend a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird.
At present, Badham is an art restorer and a college testing coordinator. Married to a school teacher, and the mother of two (Anthony and Anna), she also travels around the world recalling her experiences making To Kill a Mockingbird while expounding on the book's messages of tolerance and compassion.
- List of oldest and youngest Academy Award winners and nominees - Best Supporting Actress, Youngest Nominees