Gregory Peck Biography

(One of the Reigning Actors of Classic Hollywood Cinema)

Birthday: April 5, 1916 (Aries)

Born In: La Jolla, California, United States

Gregory Peck was an ‘Oscar’ award-winning performer and one of Hollywood's most commendable actors. He was popularly known for his portrayal of larger-than-life characters. Unlike other actors of his generation, he did not struggle in the initial days of his career; he achieved popularity as an actor in his first year. In fact, out of the five nominations won by him at the ‘Academy Awards,’ four of them came during the early days of his career. An actor with a strong physique, Peck was known for doing a majority of the stunts, rarely using body or stunt doubles. An actor with a troubled childhood, he never let his past get in the way of his successful career. He realized his passion for acting at a young age and started developing his skills under the guidance of ace acting teachers. He went on to make a name for himself in the film industry for his top-class acting skills and the ability to act in varied genres of films. He was also known for his humanitarian efforts and was honored with the 'Presidential Medal of Freedom' in 1969.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: Eldred Gregory Peck

Died At Age: 87

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Greta Kukkonen (m. 1942–1955), Veronique Passani (m. 1955–2003)

father: Gregory Pearl Peck

mother: Bernice Mae

children: Anthony Peck, Carey Paul Peck, Cecilia Peck, Jonathan Peck, Stephen Peck

Born Country: United States

Actors American Men

Height: 6'3" (190 cm), 6'3" Males

political ideology: Democrat

Died on: June 12, 2003

place of death: Los Angeles, California, United States

Cause of Death: Broncho-Pneumonia

Ancestry: Irish American, British American

U.S. State: California

Ideology: Democrats

Notable Alumni: San Diego State University

More Facts

education: University Of California, Berkeley, San Diego State University

  • 1

    What was Gregory Peck's most famous movie role?

    Gregory Peck is best known for his role as Atticus Finch in the film "To Kill a Mockingbird."
  • 2

    Did Gregory Peck serve in the military?

    Yes, Gregory Peck served in the United States Army during World War II.
  • 3

    How did Gregory Peck prepare for his roles?

    Gregory Peck was known for his meticulous preparation for his roles, often immersing himself in research and studying the character extensively.
  • 4

    Did Gregory Peck ever win an Oscar for his acting?

    Yes, Gregory Peck won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 1963.
  • 5

    What was Gregory Peck's acting style?

    Gregory Peck was known for his understated and naturalistic acting style, often portraying strong, moral characters with integrity and depth.
Childhood & Early Life

Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in San Diego, California, USA, to Bernice Mae ‘Bunny’ and Gregory Pearl Peck. Born into a family of Irish-English-Scottish descent, he was raised a Catholic.

His parents separated when he was just six years old, leaving him under the care of his maternal grandmother. Upon the death of his grandmother four years later, his father took up the responsibility of raising him.

Academically proficient, Peck received his basic education from ‘St. John's Military Academy’ and ‘San Diego High School.’ For a year, he took up theatre and public-speaking courses at ‘San Diego State Teachers College’ before enrolling at the ‘University of California, Berkeley.’

In 1936, he joined the ‘University of California, Berkeley’ as a pre-medical student, but majored in English. It was the university’s acting coach Ky Ebright who saw his potential acting talent. Edwin Duerr, director of the university's ‘Little Theatre,’ enrolled him in the acting group. Soon, he started performing in plays and dramas.

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Career

Upon completing his graduation, he moved to New York City to polish his acting skills. For the same, he enrolled at the ‘Neighborhood Playhouse’ to gain knowledge from the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. To earn a living, he took up menial jobs.

He made his stage debut in 1941 in George Bernard Shaw's play ‘The Doctor's Dilemma.’ A year later, he was seen in the Broadway production of ‘The Morning Star’ opposite Emlyn Williams. The same year, he gave his second Broadway performance alongside Edward Pawley in ‘The Willow and I.’

He made his big screen debut, playing the character of a Russian guerrilla fighter, in the film ‘Days of Glory’ released in 1944. It was his second movie ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’ that brought him rave reviews. He received an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for his performance.

From then on, he started showcasing his acting prowess, taking up diverse projects and playing his characters with great panache. ‘The Yearling,’ which was released in 1946, earned him rave reviews from critics. His exceptional performance earned him an ‘Academy Award’ nomination.

Following this, he earned his third and fourth ‘Academy Award’ nominations under the ‘Best Actor’ category for his films ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ and ‘Twelve O'Clock High.’ Both films proved his versatility as an actor. While the former was a drama film, the latter was a war film about aircrews in the US Army.

Meanwhile, he was also seen in films like ‘Spellbound,’ ‘Duel in the Sun,’ ‘The Paradine Case,’ and ‘The Gunfighter.’

In 1953, he was cast alongside Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Roman Holiday.’

During the 1950s, he was seen in movies, such as ‘Moby Dick,’ ‘The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,’ ‘The Big Country,’ and ‘On the Beach.’

In 1961, the iconic film ‘The Guns of Navarone’ was released wherein he was seen playing the character of ‘Captain Keith Mallory.’ The same year, ‘Cape Fear’ was also released.

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His role as ‘Atticus Finch,’ a Depression-era lawyer and widowed father, in the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ won him his fifth ‘Academy Award’ nomination. Adapted from Harper Lee’s novel and released in 1962, the film further cemented his position as an ace actor.

It was his sheer talent and exceptional acting skills that made him the president of the ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ in 1967. The same year, he was appointed the chairman of the ‘Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute,’ a position which he served until 1969.

In 1970, rumors of him being the possible Democratic candidate for the office of the California governor started doing the rounds due to his unflinching trust and support for the party. However, he clarified that he had no intention of holding a political office.

An ardent detractor of the ‘Vietnam War,’ he produced a film adaptation of Daniel Berrigan's play ‘The Trial of the Catonsville Nine’ in 1972. The plot revolved around the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Five years later, he played the titular role of ‘General Douglas MacArthur’ in the film ‘MacArthur.’

Starting from the 1980s, he took up TV projects and starred in a number of series. While he played the character of ‘Abraham Lincoln’ in ‘The Blue and Gray,’ he was also cast as ‘Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty’ in the television film ‘The Scarlet and The Black.’

The year 1991 witnessed the release of his last film ‘Other People’s Money.’ In the film, he played the role of a business owner who tries to prevent his company from being taken over by a Wall Street liquidator. He retired from films thereafter and spent his time touring around the world.

In 1998, he came out of retirement for his last performance before the camera. He appeared in the miniseries version of his film ‘The Moby Dick.’ The role won him a ‘Golden Globe Award’ under the ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film’ category.

Awards & Achievements

For his acting skills, he was nominated five times for the ‘Academy Awards.’ He won the prestigious award in 1962, for playing the character of ‘Atticus Finch’ in the movie ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Six years later, he was awarded the Academy's ‘Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.’

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He was the proud recipient of multiple ‘Golden Globe Awards.’ He received awards for his movies ‘The Yearling,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and ‘The Boys from Brazil.’ He also received the award for the TV adaptation of his film ‘The Moby Dick.’

The year 1969 witnessed him being felicitated by US President Lyndon Johnson with the nation's highest civilian honor the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom.’

Post-retirement, he received a number of lifetime achievement awards, such as the ‘Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award,’ the ‘American Film Institute Life Achievement Award,’ the ‘Crystal Globe Award,’ the ‘Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award,’ and the ‘George Eastman Award.’

In 1993, at the 43rd ‘Berlin International Film Festival,’ he was honored with an ‘Honorary Golden Bear.’ Five years later, he was presented with the ‘National Medal of Arts.’ In 2000, he was made Doctor of Letters by the ‘National University of Ireland.’

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Greta Kukkonen in October 1942. The couple was blessed with three sons, Jonathan, Stephen, and Carey. The couple separated in 1955 but maintained cordial relations with each other.

Following legal separation from his first wife, he walked down the aisle for the second time with Paris news reporter Veronique Passani. The couple was blessed with a son Anthony Peck and a daughter Cecilia Peck.

He died in his sleep on June 12, 2003, and was survived by his second wife and children. His mortal remains were buried in the ‘Cathedral of Our Lady’ of the ‘Angels Mausoleum’ in Los Angeles, California.

He was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ at 6100 Hollywood Blvd.

In 2011, the U.S. postal department honored him by issuing a postage stamp commemorating him.

To honor the legend, his family inaugurated the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence in 2008. It was initially presented at the Dingle International Film Festival in Gregory Peck’s ancestral home, however, it has been hosted at the San Diego International Film Festival since 2014. 

Facts About Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck was known for his love of playing practical jokes on set, often pulling pranks on his fellow actors and crew members to lighten the mood during filming.
Despite his serious and dignified on-screen persona, Peck had a great sense of humor in real life and enjoyed making people laugh with his witty remarks and playful banter.
Peck was an avid animal lover and was known to have a soft spot for dogs, often bringing his own furry companions to the set with him.
In addition to his successful acting career, Peck was also a passionate advocate for social justice and civil rights, using his fame to raise awareness and support important causes.
One of Peck's lesser-known talents was his skill as a drummer, and he would occasionally entertain friends and family with impromptu performances on the drums at home.

Gregory Peck Movies

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

  (Crime, Drama)

2. Roman Holiday (1953)

  (Comedy, Romance)

3. The Big Country (1958)

  (Romance, Western)

4. Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

  (Drama, War)

5. Cape Fear (1962)

  (Drama, Thriller)

6. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

  (Adventure, Drama, War, Action)

7. The Gunfighter (1950)

  (Western)

8. Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)

  (Adventure, Drama, Action, History, War)

9. The Omen (1976)

  (Horror)

10. Spellbound (1945)

  (Mystery, Thriller, Film-Noir, Romance)

Awards

Academy Awards(Oscars)
1963 Best Actor in a Leading Role To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Golden Globe Awards
1999 Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Moby Dick (1998)
1963 Best Actor - Drama To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
1955 World Film Favorite - Male Winner
1951 World Film Favorite - Male Winner
1947 Best Actor The Yearling (1946)

See the events in life of Gregory Peck in Chronological Order

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