Born Eldred Gregory Peck in La Jolla, California in 1916, Gregory Peck was the epitome of the tall, dark, and handsome leading man. Stalwart, dependable and always dignified, Peck was a free agent untrapped by the studio system and able to move from genre to genre with ease, appearing successfully in comedies, dramas, westerns, epics, and action pictures. He gravitated toward the steadfast hero types, which worked out fine from an audience perspective. There was something comforting, after all, in knowing that Peck would be around the make things right. The 6’3″ Peck didn’t set out to become an actor; he was pre-med at UC Berkeley when he was recruited by the director of the drama department, which was suffering from a shortage of tall men that year. It would not be the last time Peck would benefit from such shortages. The acting bug bit hard-he did five plays at Berkeley, changed his major to English, and graduated to New York to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
He made his Broadway debut in 1942s “The Morning Star,” and shortly thereafter left for Hollywood. Unable to serve in the Armed Forces in World War II because of a spinal injury incurred in a college rowing match, Peck stepped into the vacuum created by the absence of so many leading men and quickly became one of the biggest draws in Hollywood. He made his debut in Days of Glory (1944) and received an Oscar nod for his very next performance, as a priest in The Keys of the Kingdom (1945).
For four decades Peck continued to turn in finely crafted performances, working with the best directors in Hollywood (including Hitchcock, Kazan, Huston, Wellman, Wyler, Ford, Frankenheimer, and Scorcese) on projects that included Spellbound (1945), The Yearling (1946) Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), The Gunfighter, Twelve O’Clock High (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956), The Big Country (1958), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Cape Fear, How the West Was Won (1962), Arabesque (1966), The Omen (1976), The Boys from Brazil (1978) and Old Gringo (1989). In 1962 after four nominations, Peck took home an Oscar for his most memorable role, that of the ethical Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Truly one of Hollywood’s leading citizens, Peck had long been an active participant in the film community and worker for charitable institutions (serving as National Chairman of the American Cancer Society.) In 1969 he was presented with the nation’s highest civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Retired from acting, he made a cameo appearance in the 1998 TV production “Moby Dick” and was filmed for the 1999 documentary “Conversations with Gregory Peck,” based on Peck’s traveling series of lectures on life in Hollywood. Gregory Peck died on June 12, 2003 at the age of 87, leaving behind a body of work that will inspire many for years to come.
Born: April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, USA
Died: June 12, 2003 (at the age of 87) in Los Angeles, California, USA
OSCARS AND OTHER AWARDS
Won the Best Actor Oscar in 1963 for To Kill A Mockingbird and was also nominated four times for best actor between 1946 and 1950.
MOVIE AND TV CREDITS
|1979||Movies||Macarthur (Universal 1979, Gregory Peck, Dan O’Herlihy)||as Gen. Douglas MacArthur|
|1978||Movies||The Boys From Brazil (ITC 1978, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier)||as Dr. Josef Mengele|
|1976||Movies||Omen, The (1976, Gregory Peck, Lee Remick)||as Robert Thorn|
|1969||Movies||Mackenna’s Gold (Columbia 1969, Omar Sharif, Gregory Peck)||as Sheriff Mackenna|
|1969||Movies||Marooned (1969, Gregory Peck, David Janssen)||as Charles Keith|
|1966||Movies||Arabesque (Universal 1966, Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren)||as Prof. David Pollock|
|1963||Movies||How The West Was Won (1962, Henry Fonda, James Stewart)||as Cleve Van Valen|
|1961||Movies||Guns of Navarone, The (Columbia 1961, David Niven, Gregory Peck)||as Mallory|
|1953||Movies||Million Pound Note, The (1953, Gregory Peck, Jane Griffiths)||as Henry Adams|
|1952||Movies||David And Bathsheba (TCF 1952, Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward)||as King David|
|1951||Movies||Captain Horatio Hornblower (Warner 1951, Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo)||as Capt. Horatio Hornblower R.N|
|1950||Movies||Gunfighter, The (TCF 1950, Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott)||as Jimmy Ringo|
|1949||Movies||Twelve O’Clock High (TCF 1949, Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe)||as General Savage|
|1949||Movies||Yellow Sky (1949, Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter)||as James 'Stretch' Dawson|
|1947||Movies||The Macomber Affair (United Artists 1947, Gregory Peck, Robert Preston)||as Robert Wilson|
|1947||Movies||Gentleman’s Agreement (TCF 1947, Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire)||as Philip Schuyler Green|
|1947||Movies||Paradine Case, The (TCF 1947, Gregory Peck, Louis Jordan)||as Anthony Keane|
|1946||Movies||Duel in the Sun (TCF 1946, Joseph Cotton, Jennifer Jones)||as Lewton 'Lewt' McCanles|
|1946||Movies||Yearling, The (MGM 1946, Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman)||as Penny Baxter|
|1945||Movies||Spellbound (United Artists 1945, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman)||as John Ballantyne|