Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor. He was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among 25 Greatest Male Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema, ranking him at No. 12.
Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only child, he was sent to live with his grandmother.
Gregory Peck wrote himself into our lives with his talent, his magnetism, his subtlety, his force, and his intelligence. – Martin Scorsese. His humanity encourages us to feel what we long for in a father, in our social system, in our country, and within each other. – Laura Dern. He spoke for those who were not being heard.
- Early life
- Later career
- Later years
Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only child, he was sent to live with his grandmother. He never felt he had a stable childhood. His fondest memories are of his grandmother taking him to the movies every week and of his dog, which followed him everywhere. He studied pre-med at UC-Berkeley and, while there, got bitten by the acting bug and decided to change the focus of his studies. He enrolled in the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and debuted on Broadway after graduation. His debut was in Emlyn Williams' play \\"The Morning Star\\" (1942). By 1943, he was in Hollywood, where he debuted in the RKO film Days of Glory (1944).
Stardom came with his next film, The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Peck's screen presence displayed the qualities for which he became well known. He was tall, rugged and heroic, with a basic decency that transcended his roles. He appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) as an amnesia victim accused of murder. In The Yearling (1946), he was again nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe. He was especially effective in westerns and appeared in such varied fare as David O. Selznick's critically blasted Duel in the Sun (1946), the somewhat better received Yellow Sky (1948) and the acclaimed The Gunfighter (1950). He was nominated again for the Academy Award for his roles in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), which dealt with anti-Semitism, and Twelve O'Clock High (1949), a story of high-level stress in an Air Force bomber unit in World War II.
With a string of hits to his credit, Peck made the decision to only work in films that interested him. He continued to appear as the heroic, larger-than-life figures in such films as Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951) and Moby Dick (1956). He worked with Audrey Hepburn in her debut film, Roman Holiday (1953). Peck finally won the Oscar, after four nominations, for his performance as lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). In the early 1960s, he appeared in two darker films than he usually made, Cape Fear (1962) and Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), which dealt with the way people live. He also gave a powerful performance as Captain Keith Mallory in The Guns of Navarone (1961), one of the biggest box-office hits of that year.
In 1967, Peck received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He was also been awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. Always politically progressive, he was active in such causes as anti-war protests, workers' rights and civil rights. In 2003, his Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch was named the greatest film hero of the past 100 years by the American Film Institute. Gregory Peck died at age 87 on June 12, 2003 in Los Angeles, California.
In honor of Gregory’s 100th, a dynamic, interactive website to learn about tribute events around the world, to explore his timeline, favorite places, never before published photos and clips, and to share your favorite memory of the beloved screen legend about whom Harper Lee said: “Atticus Finch gave Gregory Peck the chance to play himself.
Born in La Jolla, California, in 1916, Gregory Peck studied pre-med at the University of California, Berkeley. He began acting while in college, and soon after moved to New York to further his...
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Apr 01, 2021 · Gregory Peck, in full Eldred Gregory Peck, (born April 5, 1916, La Jolla, California, U.S.—died June 12, 2003, Los Angeles, California), tall, imposing American actor with a deep, mellow voice, best known for conveying characters of honesty and integrity.
Gregory Peck was an American actor who was born on April 5, 1916, in San Diego, California, in the United States. He was the son of Bernice Mae and Gregory Pearl Peck who were of Irish and English descent. Peck was raised as a Catholic but his parents divorced when he was five leading him to be raised by his grandmother.
- They say that great acting is born from pain, and such is the case with Gregory Peck. His parents, Gregory and Bunny Peck, divorced when he was five years old, and he even lived with his grandmother for a spell.
- Gregory’s deep, clear voice made him stand out in his university’s public speaking course, and he was encouraged to get into acting. He acted in five plays during his senior year at Berkeley, which he later said “woke [him] up and made [him] a human being.”
- He was 25 when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but he was exempt from military services. For years it was believed that an old rowing injury made him ineligible, but Gregory claimed it was all because of an injury from a dance class!
- One of Gregory’s most famous (and divisive) roles, that of Captain Ahab in 1956’s Moby Dick, almost cost him his life. He almost drowned twice while filming due to the stormy weather off the coasts of Ireland, and much of the crew suffered injuries as well.
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