Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck

Infobox actor
name = Gregory Peck

imagesize = 150px
caption = in "Roman Holiday" (1953)
birthname = Eldred Gregory Peck
birthdate = birth date|1916|4|5|mf=y
birthplace = La Jolla, California
deathdate = death date and age|2003|6|12|1916|4|5|mf=y
deathplace = Los Angeles, California
yearsactive = 19441999
spouse = Greta Kukkonen
Veronique Passani
(1955-2003) (his death)
academyawards = Best Actor
1962 "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
1968 Outstanding Contributions to Humanitarian Causes
cesarawards = Honorary César
1995 Lifetime Achievement
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1947 "The Yearling"
1963 "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Cecil B. DeMille Award
1969 Lifetime Achievement

1999 "Moby-Dick"
screenactorsguildawards = Life Achievement Award
1971 Lifetime Achievement
sagawards = Life Achievement Award
1970 Lifetime Archievement
awards = NYFCC Award for Best Actor
1949 "Twelve O'Clock High"
AFI Life Achievement Award
1989 Lifetime Achievement

Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an Academy Award-winning and four-time Golden Globe Award-winning American film actor. He was one of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars, from the 1940s to the 1960s, and played important roles well into the 1990s. One of his most notable performances was as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film version of "To Kill a Mockingbird", for which he won his Academy Award. President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. [ Gregory Peck Medal of Freedom] .] In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at #12.

Early life

Peck was born Eldred Gregory Peck in San Diego, California's seaside community of La Jolla, the son of Missouri-born Bernice Mae "Bunny" (née Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, who was a chemist and pharmacist. Peck's father was of English (paternal) and Irish (maternal) heritage, [Freedland, Michael. "Gregory Peck: A Biography". New York: William Morrow and Company. 1980. ISBN 0688036198 p.10] [United States Census records for La Jolla, California 1910] and his mother was of Scots (paternal) and English (maternal) ancestry. [United States Census records for St. Louis, Missouri - 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910] Peck's father was a Catholic and his mother converted upon marrying his father. Peck's Irish-born paternal grandmother, Catherine Ashe, was related to Thomas Ashe, who took part in the Easter Rising less than three weeks after Peck's birth and died while on hunger strike in 1917. Peck's parents divorced by the time he was six years old and he spent the next few years being raised by his grandmother. [Freedland, pp. 12-18]

Peck was sent to a Roman Catholic military school, St. John's Military Academy, in Los Angeles at the age of 10. His grandmother died while he was enrolled there, and his father again took over his upbringing. At 14, Peck attended San Diego High School and lived with his father. [Freedland, pp. 16-19] When he graduated, he took a few courses at San Diego State University and then won admission to his first-choice college, the University of California, Berkeley. For a short time, he took a job driving a truck for an oil company. In 1936, he declared himself a pre-medical student at Berkeley, and majored in English. Since he was 6'3" and very strong, he also decided to row on the university crew. Partly because of his great stature, the Berkeley acting coach spotted Peck and decided he would be perfect for university theater work. Peck then developed an interest in acting and was recruited by Edwin Duerr, director of the university's Little Theater. He went on to appear in five plays during his senior year. Although his tuition fee was only $26 a year, Peck still struggled to pay, and had to work as a "hasher" (kitchen helper) for the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority in exchange for meals. Peck would later say about Berkeley that, "it was a very special experience for me and three of the greatest years of my life. It woke me up and made me a human being." [ "Gregory Peck comes home," "Berkeley Magazine", Summer 1996. Retrieved December 27, 2007.] In 1997, he donated $25,000 to the Berkeley crew in honor of his coach, the renowned Ky Ebright.



After graduating from Berkeley with a BA degree in English, Peck dropped the name "Eldred" and headed to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. He was often broke and sometimes slept in Central Park. He worked at the 1939 World's Fair and as a tour guide for NBC's television broadcasting.

He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Emlyn Williams' "The Morning Star" in 1942. His second Broadway performance that year was in "The Willow and I" with Edward Pawley. Peck's acting abilities were in high demand during World War II, since he was exempt from military service owing to a back injury suffered while receiving dance and movement lessons from Martha Graham as part of his acting training. Twentieth Century Fox claimed he had injured his back while rowing at university, but in Peck's words, "In Hollywood, they didn't think a dance class was macho enough, I guess. I've been trying to straighten out that story for years."Welton Jones. [ "Gregory Peck,"] "San Diego Union-Tribune", April 5, 1998. Retrieved December 27, 2007.]

In 1949, Peck founded The La Jolla Playhouse, at his birthplace, along with his friends Jose Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire. This local community theater and landmark (now in a new home at the University of California, San Diego) still thrives today. It has attracted Hollywood film stars on hiatus both as performers and enthusiastic supporters since its inception.

Film work

Peck's first film, "Days of Glory", was released in 1944. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, four of which came in his first five years of film acting: for "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1944), "The Yearling" (1946), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), and "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949).

"The Keys of the Kingdom" emphasized his stately presence. As the farmer Penny Barker in "The Yearling" his good-humored warmth and affection toward the characters playing his son and wife confounded critics who had been insisting he was a lifeless performer. "Duel in the Sun" (1946) showed his range as an actor in his first "against type" role as a cruel, libidinous gunslinger. "Gentleman's Agreement" established his power in the "social conscience" genre in a film that took on the deep-seated but subtle anti-Semitism of mid-century corporate America."Twelve O'Clock High" was the first of many successful war films in which Peck embodied the brave, effective, yet human fighting man.

Among his other films were "Spellbound" (1945), "The Paradine Case" (1947), "The Gunfighter" (1950), "Moby Dick" (1956), "On the Beach" (1959), which brought to life the terrors of global nuclear war, "The Guns of Navarone" (1961), and "Roman Holiday" (1953), with Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role. Peck and Hepburn were close friends until her death; Peck even introduced her to her first husband, Mel Ferrer. Peck once again teamed up with director William Wyler in the epic Western "The Big Country" (1958), which he co-produced.

Peck won the Academy award with his fifth nomination, playing Atticus Finch, a Depression-era lawyer and widowed father, in a film adaptation of the Harper Lee novel "To Kill a Mockingbird". Released in 1962 during the height of the US civil rights movement in the South, this movie and his role were Peck's favorites. In 2003, Atticus Finch was named the top film hero of the past 100 years by the American Film Institute.

He served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969, Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund in 1971, and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966. He was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966.

A physically powerful man, he was known to do a majority of his own fight scenes, rarely using body or stunt doubles. In fact, Robert Mitchum, his on-screen opponent in "Cape Fear", often said that Peck once accidentally punched him for real during their final fight scene in the movie.

Peck's rare attempts at unsympathetic roles usually failed. He played the renegade son in the Western "Duel in the Sun" and the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in "The Boys from Brazil". Critics could be unkind. Pauline Kael of the New Yorker once labeled Peck "competent but always a little boring." He famously did not get along with Marlon Brando, who described him as "a wooden actor and a pompous individual". Off-screen as well as on, Peck conveyed a quiet dignity. He had one amicable divorce, and scandal never touched him.

Later work

In the 1980s, Peck moved to television, where he starred in the mini-series "The Blue and the Gray", playing Abraham Lincoln. He also starred with Barbara Bouchet in the Television film "The Scarlet and The Black", about a real-life Roman Catholic priest in the Vatican who smuggled Jews and other refugees away from the Nazis during World War II.

Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam all had roles in the 1991 remake of "Cape Fear" directed by Martin Scorsese. All three were in the original 1962 version. In the remake, Peck plays Max Cady's lawyer.

Peck retired from active film-making in 1991. Like Cary Grant before him, Peck spent the last few years of his life touring the world doing speaking engagements in which he would show clips from his movies, reminisce, and answer questions from the audience. He came out of retirement to appear in the 1998 remake of one of his most famous films, "Moby Dick", portraying Father Mapple (played by Orson Welles in the 1956 version), with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab, the role Peck played in the earlier film.

Peck had been slated to take the role of Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but died before shooting and release. David Kelly replaced him in the role. Fact|date|date=May 2008


In 1947, while many Hollywood figures were being blacklisted for similar activities, he signed a letter deploring a "House Un-American Activities Committee" investigation of alleged communists in the film industry.

President Richard Nixon placed Peck on his enemies list due to his liberal activism. [ [ "Oscar Winner Gregory Peck dies at age 87"] .] [Corliss, Richard. [,8816,458777,00.html "The American as Noble Man"] - Time Magazine - Monday, June 16, 2003]

A lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party, Peck was suggested in 1970 as a possible Democratic candidate to run against Ronald Reagan for the office of Governor of California. Although he later admitted that he had no interest in being a candidate himself for public office, Peck encouraged one of his sons, Carey Peck, to run for political office. Carey was defeated both times he tried for Congress, in 1978 and in 1980, by Republican Congressman Robert K. Dornan, both times by slim margins.

In an interview with the Irish media, Peck revealed that former President Lyndon Johnson had told him that, had he sought re-election in 1968, he intended to offer Peck the post of U.S. ambassador to Ireland — a post Peck, due to his Irish ancestry, said he might well have taken, saying " [I] t would have been a great adventure". [Haggerty, Bridget. [ "Gregory Peck's Irish Connections"] -] [O'Clery, Conor. [ "Gregory Peck dies in Los Angeles at the age of 87"] - the Irish Times - Friday, June 13, 2003] Author Michael Freedland, in his biography of Peck, substantiates the report and says that Johnson indicated that his presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Peck would perhaps make up for his inability to confer the ambassadorship. [Freedland, pp. 197]

Peck's liberal beliefs were frequently reflected by his work. "The Big Country" was intended as a pacifist allegory for the Cold War, while "The Guns of Navarone" was considered very anti-war for a major American movie of its time.

He was outspoken against the Vietnam War, while remaining supportive of his son, Stephen, who was fighting there. In 1972, Peck produced the film version of Daniel Berrigan's play "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine" about the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Despite his initial reluctance to portray the controversial General Douglas MacArthur on screen, he did so in 1977 and ended up with a great admiration for the man.

In 1987, Peck did the voice over on television commercials opposing President Ronald Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of conservative jurist Robert Bork. Fact|date=March 2008 Bork's nomination was defeated.

Personal life

In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen with whom he had three sons. Greta was awarded the Rose of Finland, equivalent to a Medal of Freedom. They were divorced on December 30 1955, but maintained a very good relationship as parents Fact|date=March 2008 to their sons, Jonathan, Stephen and Carey Peck. Jonathan Peck, a television news reporter, committed suicide in 1975. Stephen Peck is active in support of American veterans from the Vietnam war. His first wife is screenwriter Kimi Peck who co-wrote "Little Darlings" with Dalene Young. Carey Peck had political ambitions and ran for United States Representative in California, with the support of his father and family. He narrowly lost to conservative Republican Bob Dornan.

On December 31 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Gregory Peck married Veronique Passani, a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1953 before he went to Italy to film "Roman Holiday". He asked her to lunch six months later and they became inseparable. They had a son Anthony Peck, and a daughter Cecilia Peck. They remained happily married until Gregory Peck's death. Peck had grandchildren from both marriages. Stephen has a daughter named Marisa, and a younger son named Ethan. Carey has four children, three daughters Marisa, Isabelle, and Jasmine, and a son Christopher. Anthony has a son, Zack, with model Cheryl Tiegs. Cecilia has two children with writer Daniel Voll, son Harper and daughter Ondine.

Peck owned the thoroughbred steeplechase racehorse Different Class which raced in England. [ Pedigree Query] ] The horse was the favorite for the 1968 Grand National but finished 3rd. Peck was close friends with French president Jacques Chirac. [ Communiqué de la Présidence] , Champs Elysées fr icon]


On June 12 2003, Peck died in his sleep from cardiorespiratory arrest and bronchial pneumonia, at the age of 87, at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California. His wife of 48 years was at his side. Peck is buried in a mausoleum in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California.


Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once. He was nominated in 1946 for "The Keys of the Kingdom", in 1947 for "The Yearling", in 1948 for "Gentleman's Agreement", and in 1950 for "Twelve O'Clock High". He won the Oscar for best actor in 1963 for "To Kill a Mockingbird", and he received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for 1967.

Peck also received many Golden Globe awards. He won in 1947 for "The Yearling", in 1963 for "To Kill a Mockingbird", and in 1999 for the TV mini series "Moby-Dick". He was nominated in 1978 for "The Boys from Brazil". He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969, and was given the Henrietta Award in 1951 and 1955 for "World Film Favorite — Male".

In 1969, Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

In 1971, the Screen Actors Guild presented Peck with the SAG Life Achievement Award. In 1989, the American Film Institute gave Peck the AFI Life Achievement Award. He received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema in 1996.

In 2000, Peck was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland. He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film, where he persuaded Martin Scorsese to become an honorary patron. Peck also became chair of the American Cancer Society for a short time.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Blvd. In November 2005, the star was stolen. It has since been replaced. [ [ Gregory Peck's Hollywood star is reborn ] ]


* "Days of Glory" (1944)
* "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1944)
* "The Valley of Decision" (1945)
* "Spellbound" (1945)
* "The Yearling" (1946)
* "Duel in the Sun" (1946)
* "The Macomber Affair" (1947)
* "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)
* "The Paradine Case" (1947)
* "Yellow Sky" (1949)
* "The Great Sinner" (1949)
* "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949)
* "The Gunfighter" (1950)
* "Captain Horatio Hornblower" (1951)
* "Only the Valiant" (1951)
* "" (1951) (short subject)
* "David and Bathsheba" (1951)
* "" (1951) (documentary) (narrator)
* "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (1952)
* "The World in His Arms" (1952)
* "The Million Pound Note" (1953)
* "Roman Holiday" (1953)
* "Boom on Paris" (1954)
* "Night People" (1954)
* "The Purple Plain" (1954)
* "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1956)
* "Moby Dick" (1956)
* "Designing Woman" (1957)
* "The Bravados" (1958)
* "The Big Country" (1958) (also producer)
* "Pork Chop Hill" (1959)
* "Beloved Infidel" (1959)
* "On the Beach" (1959)
* "The Guns of Navarone" (1961)
* "Cape Fear" (1962)
* "Lykke og krone" (1962) (documentary)
* "How the West Was Won" (1962)
* "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962)
* "Captain Newman, M.D." (1963)
* "Behold a Pale Horse" (1964)
* "Mirage" (1965)
* "" (1966) (documentary) (narrator)
* "Arabesque" (1966)
* "Pähkähullu Suomi" (1967) (Cameo)
* "The Stalking Moon" (1969)
* "Mackenna's Gold" (1969)
* "The Chairman" (1969)
* "Marooned" (1969)
* "I Walk the Line" (1970)
* "Shoot Out" (1971)
* "Billy Two Hats" (1974)
* "The Dove" (1974) (producer)
* "The Omen" (1976)
* "MacArthur" (1977)
* "The Boys from Brazil" (1978)
* "" (1980)
* "The Scarlet and the Black" (1983)
* "" (1985) (documentary)
* "Directed by William Wyler" (1986) (documentary)
* "Amazing Grace and Chuck" (1987)
* "Old Gringo" (1989)
* "Other People's Money" (1991)
* "" (1991) (documentary) (narrator)
* "Cape Fear" (1991)
* "The Portrait" (1993)
* "L'Hidato Shel Adolf Eichmann" (1994) (documentary) (narrator)
* "" (1996) (documentary)
* "The Art of Norton Simon" (1999) (short subject) (narrator)
* "A Conversation With Gregory Peck" (2000) (documentary)

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
for "The Yearling"
before=Ray Milland
for "The Lost Weekend"
after=Ronald Colman
for "A Double Life"
succession box
title = NYFCC Award for Best Actor
years = 1950
for" Twelve O'Clock High"
before= Broderick Crawford
for "All the King's Men"
after = Arthur Kennedy
for "Bright Victory"
succession box
title=Academy Award for Best Actor
for "To Kill a Mockingbird"
before=Maximilian Schell
for "Judgment at Nuremberg"
after=Sidney Poitier
for "Lilies of the Field"
succession box
title=Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
for "To Kill a Mockingbird"
before=Maximilian Schell
for "Judgment at Nuremberg"
after=Sidney Poitier
for "Lilies of the Field"
succession box
title=Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
before=George Bagnall
after=Martha Raye
succession box
title=Cecil B. DeMille Award
before=Kirk Douglas
after=Joan Crawford
succession box
title=Donostia Award, San Sebastian International Film Festival
after=Glenn Ford
succession box
title=AFI Life Achievement Award
before=Jack Lemmon
after=David Lean
succession box
title=Honorary César
before=Jeanne Moreau
after=Steven Spielberg
succession box
for "Moby-Dick"
before=George C. Scott
"'for "12 Angry Men"
after=Peter Fonda
"'for "The Passion of Ayn Rand"
succession box
title = President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
before= Arthur Freed
years = 1967-1970
after = Daniel Taradash

Further reading

* Fishgall, Gary. "Gregory Peck: A Biography". New York: Scribner. 2002. ISBN 068485290X
* Freedland, Michael. "Gregory Peck: A Biography". New York: William Morrow and Company. 1980. ISBN 0688036198
* Haney, Lynn. "Gregory Peck: A Charmed Life". New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. 2004. ISBN 0786714735

ee also

* List of notable Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
* Steve Landesberg


External links

* [ Gregory Peck Online]

NAME= Peck, Gregory
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Peck, Eldred Gregory
DATE OF BIRTH= April 5 1916
PLACE OF BIRTH= La Jolla, California, United States
DATE OF DEATH= June 12 2003
PLACE OF DEATH= Los Angeles, California, United States

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  • Gregory Peck — 2000 in Cannes Gregory Peck (* 5. April 1916 in La Jolla, Kalifornien als Eldred Gregory Peck; † 12. Juni 2003 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler. Peck zählte jahrzehntelang zu den populärsten Hollywood Stars und ver …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gregory Peck — en Gentleman s Agreement (1947) Nombre real Eldred Gregory Peck Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gregory Peck — (5. april 1916 12. juni 2003) var en amerikansk skuespiller, der nåede at medvirke i mere end 60 film. Han blev en af Hollywoods helt store stjerner. Han blev nomineret fem gange til en oscar og modtog den en enkelt gang. Han blev født som Eldred …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Gregory Peck — (La Jolla, EE UU, 5 de abril de 1916 12 de junio de 2003) Actor estadounidense. En 1941 debutó en el teatro, pero en 1944 abandonó los escenarios para centrar su carrera en el cine. En 1945, Alfred Hitchcock le confió el papel protagonista de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gregory Peck — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Peck. Gregory Peck …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gregory Peck — I Australian Slang 1. neck, e.g. down the Gregory ; 2. cheque (rhyming slang from Gregory Peck, a US film actor) II Cockney Rhyming Slang 1. Cheque I never ad any bread on me, so I ad to pay by Gregory. I m going down to the iron to sausage a… …   English dialects glossary

  • Gregory Peck — 1. neck, e.g. down the Gregory ; 2. cheque (rhyming slang from Gregory Peck, a US film actor) …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • Gregory Peck — ➡ Peck * * * …   Universalium

  • Gregory Peck — • Modern Rhyming Slang for neck . e.g.. Get that pint dahn yer Gregory (drink that pint of beer quickly). Also this can mean underpants (kecks). e.g. Shit, I can t find me Gregs ! …   Londonisms dictionary

  • Gregory Peck — Meaning Neck. Origin Cockney rhyming slang …   Meaning and origin of phrases

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