Gregory Peck Biography

Gregory Peck was an Academy award winning actor known for portraying larger than life characters. Know in details about his life, profile and timeline with this biography.

Gregory Peck
Quick Facts

Birthday: April 5, 1916

Nationality: American

Famous: Philanthropists Actors

Died At Age: 87

Sun Sign: Aries

Born in: La Jolla

political ideology: Democrat

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

Died on: June 12, 2003

place of death: Los Angeles

U.S. State: California

Ideology: Democrats

More Facts

education: St. John's Military Academy, San Diego High School, San Diego State University, University of California

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An Academy Award winning actor, Gregory Peck was one of the most commendable actors of Hollywood, popularly known for his portrayal of larger-than-life characters. Unlike other actors of his generation, he did not struggle at the big screen in the initial days of the his career and shot to fame in his first year itself. In fact, out of the total five nominations won by him at the Academy Awards, four of them came in the early days of his career! Blessed with a physically stout body, he was known for doing a majority of the fight scenes in his films on his own, rarely using body or stunt double. Despite having a somewhat unstable childhood, he never let this be a reason to be a failure and instead strived hard to achieve success. He realized his passion for acting at a young age and started developing his skills under the guidance of ace acting teachers. He bagged himself a name in the film fraternity for his top-class acting capability and the ability to act in varied genre of films. To further equip yourself with information regarding his life, profile and timeline, read on.

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Gregory Peck
Childhood & Early Life
  • Gregory Peck was born to Bernice Mae ‘Bunny’ and Gregory Pearl Peck in La Jolla, California. Coming from an Irish-English-Scottish descent, he was raised as a Catholic.
  • His parents separated while he was just six years old, leaving him under the care of maternal grandmother. Upon the death of his grandmother four years later, his father took on his responsibility.
  • Academically proficient, he attained 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 Teacher's College before enrolling at University of California, Berkeley.
  • In 1936, 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 realized his potential acting talent. Edwin Duerr, director of the university's Little Theatre, took it further by enrolling him in the group. No sooner, 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 admitted himself at the Neighborhood Playhouse to gain knowledge from the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. To support a living, he took up menial jobs.
  • He made his stage debut in 1941 for George Bernard Shaw's play ‘The Doctor's Dilemma’. A year later, he was seen in Broadway productions, ‘The Morning Star’ opposite Emlyn Williams’. Same year, his second Broadway performance was released under the title ‘The Willow and I’, alongside Edward Pawley.
  • He made his big screen debut, playing the character of a Russian guerrilla fighter, in the film ‘Days of Glory’ released in 1944. However, it was his second movie ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’ that brought him rave reviews. He bagged an Academy Award nomination for his top-notch performance.
  • From then on, he started to make a mark with his acting prowess taking up diverse projects and fulfilling them with great panache. ‘The Yearling’ brought out his warm and affectionate side as an actor. His exceptional performance earned him an Academy award nomination.
  • Following this, he earned his third and fourth Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Actor for the films ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ and ‘Twelve O'Clock High’. Both the films proved his versatility as an actor. While the first was in the genre of social conscience, the latter was a war film.
  • 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 for the movie, ‘Roman Holiday’.
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  • The later films of the 1950s decade include, ‘The 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. Same year, ‘Cape Fear’ was released.
  • His role of Atticus Finch, a Depression-era lawyer and widowed father, for the film, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a film adaptation of the Harper Lee novel, won him his fifth Academy Award nomination. Released in 1962, the film further cemented his position as an ace actor.
  • It was his sheer talent and exceptional acting kills that earned him the chair of the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967. Same year, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute 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 had no intentions of holding a political office.
  • An ardent detractor of Vietnam War, in 1972, he produced a film adaptation of Daniel Berrigan's play ‘The Trial of the Catonsville Nine’. The plot revolved around the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Four years later, he played the titular role of General Douglas MacArthur in the film MacArthur.
  • Starting 1980s, he switched to the small screen and was starred in a number of series. While he played the character of Abraham Lincoln in ‘The Blue and Gray’, he was cast as Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty in the television film ‘The Scarlet and The Black’.
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  • Year 1991 witnessed the release of his last film, ‘Other People’s Money’. In it, he played the role of a business owner who was trying to prevent his company from a takeover bid by a Wall Street liquidator. He retired from films thereon and dedicated his time touring the world.
  • In 1998, he came out of retirement for his last stint before the camera for the miniseries version of his film, ‘The Moby Dick’. The role won him a Golden Globe award in the category for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
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Awards & Achievements
  • For his acting talent, he was nominated five times for the Academy awards, winning the same once in 1962, for playing the character of Atticus Finch in the movie ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Six years later, he was awarded with Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  • He was the proud recipient of multiple Golden Globe awards, for the movie ‘The Yearling’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Boys from Brazil’. He also received the same for the TV miniseries of his film, ‘The Moby Dick’.
  • Year 1969 witnessed him being felicitated by US President Lyndon Johnson with the nation's highest civilian honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Post retirement, he received a number of lifetime achievement award for his artistic contributions such as Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, Crystal Globe award, Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award and George Eastman Award
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  • In 1993, at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival, he was honoured with an Honorary Golden Bear. Five years later, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts. In 2000, he was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland.
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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 the aisle for a second time with Paris news reporter, Veronique Passani. The couple was blessed with a son, Anthony Peck and daughter Cecilia Peck.
  • He died in his sleep on June 12, 2003 and is survived by his second wife and children. He was buried in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles, California.
  • The vast body of work which astutely display his cinematic excellence was honoured with him receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Blvd.
  • In 2011, the U.S. postal department venerated the contribution made by him by issuing a postage stamp commemorating him.
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Trivia
  • He was the first native Californian to win an Academy Award in the category of Best Actor for his film, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
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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 Gunfighter (1950)

  (Western)




7. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

  (Adventure, Drama, War, Action)

8. The Omen (1976)

  (Horror)





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

How To Cite

Article Title
- Gregory Peck Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/gregory-peck-4285.php
Last Updated
- September 14, 2017

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