The life-long actress, who played the neighbor Miss Maudie, was also an Emmy winner and Tony nominee

By Tim Nudd
July 10, 2014 09:15 AM
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Rosemary Murphy, an Emmy Award winner who played the neighbor Miss Maudie in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, has died at 89.

The actress passed away Saturday in her Upper East Side apartment in New York, having recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, her agent told the Hollywood Reporter.

Murphy won her Emmy for playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother in the 1976 miniseries Eleanor and Franklin. But she may be best known for her role as Maudie Atkinson, the neighbor who helped to teach Atticus Finch’s children about racism in To Kill a Mockingbird.

“You knew you were in something special. It was a fascinating experience,” Murphy told The Daily Beast in 2012, on the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary. “I was very respectful of where I was, and thrilled to be there. Gregory Peck was accessible and a real gent.”

Murphy was also nominated for one other Emmy and three Tony Awards in the 1960s, all for best actress in a play. She never married and is survived by a sister and a nephew.

With Murphy’s death, Robert Duvall is believed to be the only surviving adult cast member from To Kill a Mockingbird.

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