Truman Capote and Harper Lee
Two of the most important literary voices of the 20th century were actually childhood friends. Truman Capote and Harper Lee both hailed from the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, growing up as neighbors during the 1930s. Both achieved literary fame in the 1960s, and were integral to the success of each other’s most famous works.
Truman Capote (1924-1984) wrote numerous short stories and achieved a certain level of fame with his 1958’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was famously adapted into a film starring Audrey Hepburn. In Capote’s first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, the character of Idabel was based on Lee.
Harper Lee catapulted to fame in 1960 with publication of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The character of Dill has long been confirmed to be a fictionalized version of Capote. Following the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee spent four years assisting Capote with the research for what would become his best known, and controversial book, In Cold Blood.
In Cold Blood supposedly tells the story of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Capote and Lee traveled to Holcomb several times over the course of four years, interviewing residents and conducting research. When finally published in 1966, Capote called it a “nonfiction novel,” but many questioned some of the details in the work, making it his last published novel.