Oscar Actors: Badham, Mary (Nominee, One of Youngest)–Background, Career, Awards

Updated July 13, 2021

Mary Badham Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: Yes; father is director John Badham

Social Class: Middle





Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut:

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut:

Breakthrough Role:

Oscar Role: To Kill Mockingbird, 1962; aged 10

Other Noms:

Other Awards:

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span:





Mary Badham (born October 7, 1952), the American actress who portrayed Jean Louise “Scout” Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), for which she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress.

At the time, Badham (aged 10) was the youngest actress ever nominated in this category.

Mary Badham had no film acting experience before being cast in To Kill a Mockingbird. The Oscar in her category went to another child actress, Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker.

Oscar Alert

In 1962, child actress Mary Badham vied for the Supporting Actress for her performance in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” with Patty Duke (who won) in “The Miracle Worker,” Shirley Knight in “Sweet Bird of Youth,” Angela Lansbury in “The Manchurian Candidate,” and Thelma Ritter in “Birdman of Alcatraz.”

During filming, Badham became close to actor Gregory Peck, who played Scout’s father, Atticus Finch; she kept in touch with him, always calling him ‘Atticus’, until his death in 2003.

Badham played Sport Sharewood in “The Bewitchin’ Pool,” the final episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Due to technical issues, her voice in outdoor scenes was dubbed in post production by adult voice actress June Foray.

She also appeared in the films This Property Is Condemned and Let’s Kill Uncle before retiring from the acting profession.

In 2005, at the urging of actor/writer/director Cameron Watson, Badham came out of retirement to play an offbeat cameo opposite Keith Carradine for his film, Our Very Own. Watson would not accept any other actress for the part. He had managed to contact her in Monroeville, Alabama, where she had been invited to attend a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Badham is the younger sister of director John Badham.

Art Restorer

As of 2014, Badham was an art restorer and a college testing coordinator. She is married to Richard W. Wilt, dean of Library and Educational Support Services at Lehigh Carbon Community College, and the mother of two children.

She has traveled around the world recalling her experiences making To Kill a Mockingbird, while expounding the book’s messages of tolerance and compassion.

In 2012, she attended a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird with President Barack Obama at the White House to mark the 50th anniversary of the film.

In 2015, she defended the release of Harper Lee’s first draft of Go Set a Watchman and its portrayal of an older, more bigoted Atticus Finch.


1962 To Kill a Mockingbird Robert Mulligan Jean Louise “Scout” Finch [9]
1963 Dr. Kildare Elliot Silverstein Cora Sue Henty [10]
1964 The Twilight Zone Joseph M. Newman Sport Sharewood “The Bewitchin’ Pool”
1966 This Property Is Condemned Sydney Pollack Willie Starr
1966 Let’s Kill Uncle William Castle Chrissie
1998 Fearful Symmetry Charles Kiselyak. Herself, Documentary on To Kill a Mockingbird
2005 Our Very Own Cameron Watson Mrs. Nutbush
2015 Earl Hamner Storyteller Ray Castro Jr Herself

2019 Erasing His Past Jared Cohn Barbara