Gregory Peck was one of the world's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times and his performance as Atticus Finch in the film To Kill a Mockingbird earned him the Oscar for Best Actor in 1962.
Birth and Youth
Eldred Gregory Peck was born 5 Apr 1916, in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, the son of Gregory Pearl Peck, a New York-born chemist and pharmacist, and his Missouri-born wife, Bernice Mary "Bunny" (Ayres) Peck. Gregory was of Irish, English, and Scottish ancestry. Gregory's parents divorced by the time he was six years old; his maternal grandmother, Catherine Ashe, raised him for the next few years, often taking him to the movies.
Marriage and Family
In October 1942, Gregory married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen. The couple would have three sons: Jonathan, Stephen, and Carey Paul. Gregory and Greta were divorced on 30 Dec 1955. On 31 Dec 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Gregory married Veronique Passani, a Paris news reporter. They had a son, Anthony, and a daughter, Cecilia.
Gregory Gable won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Actor
While studying medicine at University of California at Berkeley, he was cast in some productions and fell in love with acting. After graduating, he won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. It was then that he dropped "Eldred" and started going by his middle name, "Gregory". Due to a back injury he sustained while participating in dance classes with Martha Graham there, he was unable to participate in World War II. He supported himself as an usher at Radio City Music Hall and as a concession barker at the 1939 World’s Fair. He made his Broadway debut in "The Morning Star" in 1942. Soon after, he made his way in Hollywood and was on the path to stardom.. His career spanned more than 60 films from the forties to the two thousands. He was nominated for an Academy Award five times. His biggest box office hit was "The Omen" in 1976. Gregory's favorite role was also the one he was best known for, Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird", which was also his favorite film and the film for which he won his Oscar. Even the author of the novel the movie was based on felt the role was perfect, saying, "Atticus Finch gave Gregory Peck an opportunity to play himself."
Public Service and Honors
Gregory Peck was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Gregory remained devoted to live theatre throughout his life, founding the La Jolla Playhouse in 1947 with Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. In the late 1950s, Gregory formed his own production company, noted for movies like "The Big Country" and "Cape Fear". He served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1967-70. He was an inaugural member of the National Council on the Arts and the Founding Chairman of the American Film Institute. He was National Chairman of the American Cancer Society and raised record-breaking contributions. He also devoted himself to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, which provides health care to members of the entertainment industry. For his public service, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar, in 1967.
Gregory was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 by President Lyndon Johnson. In 1970, Gregory received the Screen Actors Guild award for “outstanding achievement in fostering the ideals of the acting profession.” In 1989, he received the AFI Life Achievement Award, followed by the Kennedy Center Honors in 1991 and the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1998.
On June 12, 2003, Gregory died of bronchopneumonia in his sleep at home, with his wife, Veronique, by his side. He was 87 years old. Gregory is entombed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles, California.
↑ "California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V25Z-KWZ : 13 December 2014), Eldred G Peck, 05 Apr 1916; citing San Diego, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
↑ "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XC6J-BDW : accessed 7 June 2019), Eldred G Peck in household of Gregory P Peck, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 162, sheet 2B, line 96, family 77, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 193; FHL microfilm 2,339,928.
↑ "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHWD-Z1X : accessed 7 June 2019), Eldred G Peck in household of Gregory P Peck, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States; citing ED 265, sheet 5B, line 94, family 156, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 131; FHL microfilm 1,820,131.
↑ "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HD-3KM : 14 March 2018), Eldred Peck in household of Gregory Peck, Councilmanic District 3, San Diego, San Diego Judicial Township, San Diego, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 62-63B, sheet 3A, line 14, family 84, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 451.
↑ "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JGCP-CZP : 20 May 2014), Gregory Peck, 12 Jun 2003; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
↑ Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 06 June 2019), memorial page for Gregory Peck (5 Apr 1916–12 Jun 2003), Find A Grave: Memorial #7568029, citing Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave . Retrieved 07 Dec 2017.
"New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24TX-VM1 : 15 March 2018), Eldred Gregory Peck, 1950; citing Immigration, New York City, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
"United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KTQY-NNM : 23 May 2014), Gregory E Peck, Residence, Los Angeles, California, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
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