President Obama to introduce USA Network airing of “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Gregory Peck stars in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee is notoriously press-shy (she gave her last interview in 1964 before retiring from the limelight), but the writer of the acclaimed novel To Kill a Mockingbird has had her name in the media a bit this week. On Monday, there was an American Masters episode about her, and now word comes that USA Network will be presenting a special airing of the film based on her memorable work.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, which was nominated for eight Oscars and won three, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction. Based on Lee’s novel, the film tells the story of how Finch, a lawyer, struggles for justice in a small community in Alabama. With its bold portrayal of racial injustice and strong message of tolerance, fairness and honor, the movie still resonates with audiences. The American Film Institute — which has partnered with Universal Pictures to support the restoration and preservation of 13 motion picture classics as part of Universal’s 100th anniversary — lists To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the 100 Greatest American Films, and names Atticus Finch as the No. 1 Film Hero of All Time.

USA Network will be airing the first national broadcast of the digitally remastered and fully restored version of the classic film this Saturday, April 7, at 8pm ET/PT. President Barack Obama will deliver a special introduction to the film.

“I’m deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by introducing it to a national audience,” says Harper Lee. “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.”