Mary Badham

Mary Badham (born October 7, 1952) is an American actress who portrayed Jean Louise "Scout" Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[1] At the time, Badham (aged 10) was the youngest actress ever nominated in this category.[2]

Mary Badham
Mary Badham Speaks to Birmingham Southern.jpg
Mary Badham speaking at Birmingham-Southern College in 2012
Born (1952-10-07) October 7, 1952 (age 69)
OccupationChild actress, art restorer
Years active1962–1966, 2005
Richard Wilt
(m. 1975)


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.[1][3][4]

Badham played Sport Sharewood in "The Bewitchin' Pool", the final episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Due to technical issues, her voice in outdoor scenes was dubbed in post production by adult voice actress June Foray. She also appeared in the films This Property Is Condemned and Let's Kill Uncle before retiring from the acting profession.[3]

In 2005, 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.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Badham is the younger sister of director John Badham.[5]

As of 2014, Badham was an art restorer and a college testing coordinator. She is married to Richard W. Wilt, dean of Library and Educational Support Services at Lehigh Carbon Community College, and the mother of two children. She has traveled around the world recalling her experiences making To Kill a Mockingbird, while expounding the book's messages of tolerance and compassion.[1]

In 2012, she attended a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird with President Barack Obama at the White House to mark the 50th anniversary of the film.[3] In 2015, she defended the release of Harper Lee's first draft of Go Set a Watchman and its portrayal of an older, more bigoted,[6][7] Atticus Finch.[8]


Year Title Director Role Notes Ref.
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird Robert Mulligan Jean Louise "Scout" Finch [9]
1963 Dr. Kildare Elliot Silverstein Cora Sue Henty [10]
1964 The Twilight Zone Joseph M. Newman Sport Sharewood "The Bewitchin' Pool" [11]
1966 This Property Is Condemned Sydney Pollack Willie Starr [12]
1966 Let's Kill Uncle William Castle Chrissie [12]
1998 Fearful Symmetry Charles Kiselyak Herself Documentary on To Kill a Mockingbird
2005 Our Very Own Cameron Watson Mrs. Nutbush
2015 Earl Hamner Storyteller Ray Castro Jr Herself Documentary
2019 Erasing His Past Jared Cohn Barbara [13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Badham, Mary (July 11, 2015). "How playing Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird changed my life". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  2. ^ Chilton, Martin (4 February 2015). "Robert Duvall hails return of Harper Lee". The Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Mary Badham Official Website: "50th Anniversary" Archived 2015-08-10 at the Wayback Machine; accessed July 16, 2015.
  4. ^ February 2012, 17. "Mary Badham Q&A". Retrieved Oct 24, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Mary Badham biography,; accessed March 2, 2018.
  6. ^ Bruinius, Harry (July 21, 2015). "With 'Go Set a Watchman,' Atticus Finch shows complexities of racism in America (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Massachusetts: Christian Science Publishing Society. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Wilkerson, Isabel (July 18, 2015). "Opinion - Our Racial Moment of Truth". The New York Times. New York City.
  8. ^ Galo, Sarah (July 16, 2015). "An Evening with the Real Scout Finch". The New Republic. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  9. ^ Baer, Rebecca Angel (March 27, 2019). "Mary Badham Shares Behind-the-Scenes Stories from Her Iconic Role in To Kill a Mockingbird". Southern Living. Birmingham, Alabama: Southern Progress Corporation. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  10. ^ BWW news desk. "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD's 'Scout' Mary Badham Visits the White Theatre This Weekend". New York City: Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Teussell, Robert (December 27, 2014). "Spend New Year's Eve in 'The Twilight Zone'". The Kansas City Star. Kansas City, Missouri: McClatchy. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Kazek, Kelly (January 13, 2019). "Former Alabama child actors: Where are they now?". Birmingham News. Birmingham, Alabama: Alabama Media Group. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Mary Badham". IMDb. Retrieved October 24, 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2002). Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Film and Television. McFarland & Co. p. 30-37. ISBN 1476613702.
  • Dye, David (1988). Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., p. 7.

External linksEdit