To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50

The classic book To Kill a Mockingbird turns 50 years old this week.  INSIDE EDITION tracked down the woman who played Scout in the movie that has inspired generations.

It's one of the most beloved books ever written and became a classic movie.  To Kill a Mockingbird is 50 years old this week and still sells a million copies a year.  Its themes of moral courage, tolerance and compassion have inspired generations.

Scout, who tells the story of a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, is an iconic character of modern literature and a role model for young American girls.  She wore pants, fearlessly stood up for herself in a male dominated world, and rebelled against traditional gender roles

Scout was played by 10-year-old Mary Badham. INSIDE EDITION caught up with Mary Badham today.

"The character was so perfect because it was so much like me as a child.  I was very much the tom-boy."

We caught up with Mary, now 58 years old, at the historic courthouse in Monroeville, Alabama painstakingly recreated for the 1962 movie.  

"To be in this courtroom is very emotional," Badham said.

Scout's father, Atticus Finch, who became a touchstone of integrity for generations of dads, was played by Gregory Peck.

"We loved each other. That was real.  The love we felt for one another was absolutely real...The favorite scene for both of us I think was the bedroom scene where I'm reading to Atticus."

Scout's mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, was played by Robert Duvall in his first major movie role.  Many consider the two-words recited by Scout in this scene to be pure poetry in its simple power to communicate: "Hey Boo."

Mary Badham earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. But, she did not continue her acting career.

"I had a very normal life.  It was wonderful and I'm still married to same wonderful guy I married 35 years ago."

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird hasn't given an interview in decades, but Mary remains in close touch with her.

"It's so wonderful. It is so wonderful, we have a great relationship...I'm very honored to be part of To Kill a Mockingbird."

50 years later, To Kill a Mockingbird remains required reading in schools across America so it will likely continue to inspire generations to come.