On April 5 2012, President Obama hosted a screening of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the White House in commemoration of the film’s 50th anniversary, a timely date that marked the late Gregory Peck’s 96th birthday. The screening was a wonderful and quite meaningful homecoming for AFI, as the Institute was created in the White House Rose Garden in 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson set a national mandate to “bring together leading artists of the film industry, outstanding educators and young men and women who wish to pursue the art form as their life’s work.”
Gregory Peck had a long association with the American Film Institute, serving as Founding Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1969, and receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film – in 1989. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD ranks 25th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list of greatest American films, and AFI named Atticus Finch the greatest hero in the history of American film when it announced it’s AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list in 2003.
This video is featured on the home page of AFI’s Website.
Guests of the screening included local students from Washington-Lee High School, Mary Badham Wilt, the actress who played Scout, and Veronique Peck, widow of Gregory Peck. The President also acknowledged the American Film Institute for their commitment to the fine arts and NBC Universal and USA Network for their efforts to commemorate this important film.