Mary Badham, who played Scout in the film To Kill a Mockingbird, took the stage of Legacy Hall Wednesday night, Feb. 13, for a question and answer session with an audience that gathered from all over the Texas Panhandle.
She began the night with a small lecture and a little bit of a background on her life. She now has two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren. She is originally from Alabama where her life was very similar to that of Scout’s. She had her own version of Calpurnia and even had a church scene like in the book.
“When we made this film I was just an ignorant child, just playing and having fun,” Badham said.
She then spoke about her experience with the cast and on the set. She went through each of the characters she worked with and described their personalities.
“This book and film have become very near and dear to my heart,” Badham said. “The people I got to work with have become family. It’s a really good film and I’m proud to be a part of it because it’s been a really good teaching tool.”
After her small introduction she opened the floor to the audience for a question and answer session. The audience was eager to form a line at the microphone and started with young high school students. Nervous, as it was her turn to speak,
Aeriel McBride, junior at Canyon High School, squealed out a hello to the famous actress.
“I was nervous. My friends and I typed [the question] down before,” McBride said. “I’m really funny when I’m nervous.”
Badham emphasized her two main points by having the audience repeat after her.
“Ignorance is the root of all evil. Would you all agree?” Badham asked. “Education is the key to freedom.”
She has recently met the president and was eager to share her experience with the audience, describing his hugs and his personality.
“This is a man who really loves our country,” Badham said. “You kids have to know who your congressmen and senators are.”
She encouraged the students to stay active in their education and not to give up on it.
“I don’t care what you’re interested in, just read,” Badham said. “We are desperate for good writers, but you have to read first. The ability to get a job is based on education.”
After the lecture was over she signed autographs. The autographs were twenty dollars apiece though she provided black and white photos of different scenes from the movie. Employees from Hastings were also there selling copies of the book that audience members could buy. She spoke to every person at the table.
“It was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Katie White, a junior Mass Communication Electronic Media major, said. “It was cool to meet a movie star, but also to see how it impacted her life. Everyone falls in love with that little girl on screen.”
Badham told sponsors of the event that she would love to come back to the campus at a later date.