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Gregory Peck Learned Alabama Accent from Harper Lee

Dec. 22, 1962 - To perfect his Southern accent for his starring role as an Alabama lawyer in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Gregory Peck (left) had as his coach a famous literary figure. She was Harper Lee (right), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the feature which opens Christmas Day. Peck and Miss Lee became friends when the actor visited Alabama to soak up information and atmosphere in preparation for the screen assignment. He carried along a tape recorder when he went to her hometown of Monroeville and talked her into reading a dozen pages of her novel into a microphone. “There are many different Southern accents,” Peck said, “and I wanted to study only the Alabama version. Getting Harper Lee to speak the dialogue she originated in her novel seemed to be the most ideal ‘textbook’ I could get.”


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