ROBERT MULLIGAN, 83
Directed "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Robert Mulligan, the Academy Award-nominated director of To Kill a Mockingbird who later helped launch the career of Reese Witherspoon, died Saturday at his home in Lyme, Conn. He had suffered from heart disease, his wife, Sandy, said yesterday.
Mr. Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird, the adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a child's world shaken by the racism of a Southern town.
The 1962 film starred Gregory Peck, who won the best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch, the small-town lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape.
The New York Times wrote that the film's opening segment "achieves a bewitching indication of the excitement and thrill of being a child."
Mr. Mulligan was also known as the director of Ms. Witherspoon's first film, The Man in the Moon. The 1991 family drama, Mr. Mulligan's last movie, brought Ms. Witherspoon notice as a teenage girl grappling with her first love in 1950s Louisiana.