President Obama to Introduce Screening of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at White House

"To Kill a Mockingbird"
"To Kill a Mockingbird"
 Courtesy of Everett Collection

President Obama will introduce a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird, marking the movie's 50th anniversary, at the White House Family Theater on Thursday. Children from Washington, D.C. area schools have been invited to attend.

Also on hand will be Mary Badham, who portrays Scout in the film; Veronique Peck, whose late husband Gregory Peck starred in the film as attorney Atticus Finch; Howard Stringer, chairman of the AFI board of trustees;  Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios;  and Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO; and Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Obama also will introduce a primetime broadcast of the film on the USA Network on April 7.

"I'm deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee, who wrote the novel on which the book is based, said."I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on – in a world that needs him now more than ever."

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American treasure – a film of family and fatherhood, justice and equality – all so richly embodied in the character of Atticus Finch," Gazzale said. “We are honored to screen the film in the White House, where AFI was born, and to partner with USA Network and Universal Pictures to inspire generations of movie lovers to discover and rediscover this classic American film.”

April 5 would also have been Peck’s 96th birthday. The actor had a long association with the American Film Institute, serving as founding chairof the AFI Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1969. He received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1989.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also plans to celebrate the film’s anniversary with a screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on April 11.

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