Harper Lee’s lawyer-sister featured in documentary
10:05 am, April 17th, 2012
So many lawyers credit Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mockingbird” as their inspiration to join the bar that it’s almost a cliché. Yet there is one lawyer in Monroeville, Ala., who truly carries the mantle of Atticus—or, to be more accurate, Amasa Coleman Lee, the father of Nelle Harper Lee, “Mockingbird’s” author.
That would be 100-year-old Alice Finch Lee, Harper Lee’s sister, who still practices law in the firm her father started. Alice Lee is featured prominently in a documentary about her sister aired recently on PBS’ “American Masters” series.
Given that Harper Lee last gave an interview in 1964, Alice Lee’s perspective is important to the film, called “Harper Lee: Hey, Boo.” In it, Alice Lee offers insight into her sister’s friendship and eventual falling out with Truman Capote, the basis for the “Mockingbird” character Dill.
Alice Lee is significantly older than her sister, and her entry on the Alabama Bar website says that she graduated from the Birmingham School of Law and joined the bar in 1943.
The documentary, which tells how the book could not have been written without an act of generosity allowing Harper Lee to quit her job to have time to write, can be seen in its entirety here.