Wilcox-Paxton died Oct. 14 in her hometown, Highlands, N.C., at age 74. She had been diagnosed with three brain tumors two months earlier. Her husband, Scott Paxton, said there was no funeral but that the family held a memorial service before her death.
"It's pretty special being at your own memorial," her husband of more than 30 years was quoted as saying.
In the movie that won three Oscars including best actor for Gregory Peck's performance as defense lawyer Atticus Finch, Wilcox-Paxton's role as Mayella Violet Ewell — the white woman who accuses a black man of beating and raping her — was brief but pivotal. She angrily breaks down as Finch suggests she lied to avoid being abused by her racist father.
Besides her role in the big screen adaptation of Harper Lee's acclaimed novel, Wilcox-Paxton steadily appeared in TV and film projects for four decades, including shows such as The Twilight Zone and Gunsmoke and films like Jaws 2 and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Wilcox-Paxton is survived by her husband, three children and three grandchildren.