Peck, Gregory

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Peck, Gregory

Gregory Peck, 1916–2003, American movie actor, b. La Jolla, Calif., as Eldred Gregory Peck. Peck studied at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse and debuted on Broadway in The Morning Star (1942) and in film in Days of Glory (1944). He achieved stardom in 1944 with his role in The Keys to the Kingdom and went on to become one of the screen's most enduring leading men. Tall and dark with a resonant baritone voice, Peck often portrayed characters who displayed quiet strength and nobility in the face of adversity, as he did most notably in his Academy Award–winning role of Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Among the many other movies in which he starred are Spellbound (1945), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Twelve O'Clock High (1949), The Gunfighter (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956), On the Beach (1959), Cape Fear (1962, 1991), The Omen (1976), The Boys from Brazil (1978), and Old Gringo (1989). He appeared in several television productions in the 1980s and 90s. A prominent Hollywood liberal who was active in many charities, Peck also served as chairman (1967–69) of the American Film Institute and president (1967–70) of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

See biographies by M. Freedland (1980), G. Molyneaux (1995), G. Fishgall (2002), and L. Haney (2004); J. Griggs, The Films of Gregory Peck (1984, repr. 1988); Barbara Kopple, dir., A Conversation with Gregory Peck (documentary film, 1999).

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