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Truman Capote and Harper Lee were next-door neighbors as kids.

Harper Lee’s perennial classic To Kill a Mockingbird and Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel In Cold Blood were defining literary works of the 1960s and beyond, so it makes a certain kind of sense that their origins are closely entwined. In addition to being longtime friends, the two authors were also next-door neighbors as kids. Born in New Orleans, Capote moved to Monroeville, Alabama, at age 4. There, he met Lee — a girl two years his junior who became his protector from neighborhood bullies. It wasn’t long before Capote moved to New York City, but the two friends stayed close enough that each based fictional characters on the other: To Kill a Mockingbird’s Dill was inspired by Capote, while Idabel Thompkins, a tomboy in Capote’s debut novel Other Voices, Other Rooms, was based on Lee.

They were so close, in fact, that some believed Capote was To Kill a Mockingbird’s true author — a pernicious rumor that academics and historians have long dismissed. In fact, the runaway success of Mockingbird, which was a National Book Award finalist and won the Pulitzer Prize, led to severe jealousy on Capote’s part. Lee later wrote, “I was his oldest friend, and I did something Truman could not forgive: I wrote a novel that sold.” She helped Capote research In Cold Blood nevertheless, but was not thanked in the acknowledgments section, a slight that hurt her deeply.

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