|Height:||189 cm (6' 3'')|
|Birth Day:||April 5, 1916|
|Death Date:||Jun 12, 2003 (age 87)|
|Birth Place:||San Diego, United States|
As per our current Database, Gregory Peck died on Jun 12, 2003 (age 87).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|189 cm (6' 3'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
While attending college, he was employed as a truck driver for an oil company. Following his graduation from Berkeley with an English degree, he moved to New York and studied under Sanford Meisner.
Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in San Diego, California, to Bernice Mae "Bunny" (née Ayres; 1894–1992), and Gregory Pearl Peck (1886–1962), a Rochester, New York-born chemist and pharmacist. His father was of English (paternal) and Irish (maternal) heritage, and his mother was of English and Scots ancestry. She converted to her husband's religion, Catholicism, and Peck was raised as a Catholic. Through his Irish-born paternal grandmother Catherine Ashe (1864–1926), Peck was related to Thomas Ashe (1885–1917), who participated in the Easter Rising less than three weeks after Peck's birth and died while being force-fed during his hunger strike in 1917.
Peck's parents divorced when he was five, and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, who took him to the movies every week. At the age of 10, he was sent to a Catholic military school, St. John's Military Academy in Los Angeles. While he was a student there, his grandmother died. At 14, he moved back to San Diego to live with his father. He attended San Diego High School, and after graduating in 1934, he enrolled for one year at San Diego State Teacher's College (now known as San Diego State University). While there, he joined the track team, took his first theatre and public-speaking courses, and pledged the Epsilon Eta fraternity. Peck had ambitions to be a doctor, and later transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, as an English major and pre-medical student. Standing 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), he rowed on the university crew. Although his tuition fee was only $26 per year, Peck still struggled to pay and took a job as a "hasher" (kitchen helper) for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority in exchange for meals.
Peck did not graduate with his friends because he lacked one course. His college friends were concerned for him and wondered how he would get along without his degree. "I have all I need from the university", he told them. Peck dropped the name "Eldred" and headed to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. He was often broke, and sometimes slept in Central Park. He worked at the 1939 World's Fair as a barker, and Rockefeller Center as a tour guide for NBC television, and at Radio City Music Hall. He dabbled in modelling before, in 1940, working in exchange for food at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, where he appeared in five plays, including Family Portrait and On Earth As It Is.
His stage career began in 1941, when he played the secretary in a Katharine Cornell production of George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma. The play opened in San Francisco just one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Emlyn Williams' The Morning Star in 1942. His second Broadway performance that year was in The Willow and I with Edward Pawley. Peck's acting abilities were in high demand during World War II because he was exempted from military service, owing to a back injury suffered while receiving dance and movement lessons from Martha Graham as part of his acting training. Twentieth Century Fox later claimed he had injured his back while rowing at university, but in Peck's words, "In Hollywood, they didn't think a dance class was macho enough, I guess. I've been trying to straighten out that story for years."
After about 50 plays in total, including three short-lived Broadway plays, four or five road tours, and the rest during summer theater, Peck was offered his first film role, the male lead in the war-romance Days of Glory (1944), directed by Jacques Tourneur, alongside top-billed Tamara Toumanova, a Russian-born ballerina. Peck portrayed the leader of Russian guerrillas resisting the Germans in 1941 who stumble across a beautiful Russian dancer (Toumanova), who had been sent to entertain Russian troops, and protect her by letting her join their group. During production of the film, Tourneur "untrained" Peck from his theater training where he was used to speaking in a formal manner and projecting his voice to the entire hall. Peck considered his performance in the film as quite amateurish and did not wish to watch the film after it was released. The film lost money at the box office, disappeared from theaters quickly, and was largely dismissed by critics.
Next, Peck was in Sri Lanka and then back in the UK for the shooting of his second movie as a North American bomber commander who has strong emotional problems during WWII, The Purple Plain (1954). Peck's role is as a Canadian squadron leader whose wife had been killed in a Luftwaffe bombing raid on London in 1941 and four years later in Burma he has become a killing machine with no regard for his own life, although a love affair with an alluring, young Burmese beauty helps him regain the will to live. When his bomber is shot down by the Japanese and crash lands in a desert with purple-hued soils (the "Purple Plain"), he and his crew have a long, arduous journey back to British territory. The Purple Plain was hit in the UK where it was tenth in box office grosses for the year and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film; however, it was a box office flop in the U.S.
In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen (1911–2008), with whom he had three sons: Jonathan (1944–1975), Stephen (b. 1946), and Carey Paul (b. 1949). They were divorced on December 31, 1955.
Film historian David Thomson wrote, "From his debut, Peck was always a star and rarely less than a box office success." From 1945 to 1951, Peck was among the most successful Hollywood stars as The Valley of Decision was the highest-grossing movie of North America in 1945; Spellbound was the third highest-grossing movie of 1946; Duel in the Sun and The Yearling were second and ninth, respectively, for 1947; and, Gentlemen's Agreement was eighth for 1948. Then he was back in the top ten in 1950 with Twelve O'Clock High placing tenth that year and, in 1951, David and Bathsheba was the top-grossing film of the year, while Captain Horatio Hornblower was seventh. His rapid success was further shown by him being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor four times in the first six years of film career, those being for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Twelve O'Clock High (1949).
In 1947, Peck co-founded The La Jolla Playhouse, at his birthplace, with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire. This summer stock company presented productions in the La Jolla High School Auditorium from 1947 until 1964. In 1983, the La Jolla Playhouse re-opened in a new home at the University of California, San Diego, where it operates today. It has attracted Hollywood film stars on hiatus, both as performers and enthusiastic supporters, since its inception.
In November 1947, Peck's next film, the landmark Gentleman's Agreement, directed by Elia Kazan, was released and was immediately proclaimed as "Hollywood's first major attack on anti-Semitism." Based on a novel, the film has Peck portraying a New York magazine writer who pretends to be Jewish so he can experience personally the hostility of bigots. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Peck for Best Actor, and won Best Film and Best Director, picks which the New York Film Critics Circle and the Golden Globes affirmed. It was also a hit, challenging for the position of top-grossing film of 1948 with $3.9 million, $600,000 behind the top film. Peck would indicate in his later years that this was one of his movies of which he was most proud.
In 1947, while many Hollywood figures were being blacklisted for similar activities, Peck signed a letter deploring a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of alleged communists in the film industry.
Peck also received many Golden Globe awards. He won in 1947 for The Yearling, in 1963 for To Kill a Mockingbird, and in 1999 for the TV mini-series Moby Dick. He was nominated in 1978 for The Boys from Brazil. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969, and was given the Henrietta Award in 1951 and 1955 for World Film Favorite – Male.
Later in 1949, Twelve O'Clock High (1949), the first of many successful war films in which Peck embodied the brave, effective, yet human, fighting man, was released. Based on real characters and events, Peck portrays the new commander of a U.S. World War II bomber squadron who is tasked with whipping the squadron into shape, but then breaks down emotionally because of the stress of the job. The National Board of Review ranked it in their top ten films of the year and it received four Academy Awards nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Actor in a leading role (Peck,) with Peck winning that title from the New York Film Critics Circle. Twelve O'Clock High was a commercial success finishing tenth in the 1950 box office rankings.
Twelve O'Clock High received very strong reviews upon release, with Bosley Crowther describing it as a "top-flight drama" and as "tremendously vivid", and saying that it "has conspicuous dramatic integrity, genuine emotional appeal and a sense of the moods of an airbase that absorb and amuse the mind. And it is beautifully played by a male cast, directed by Henry King, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck for Twentieth Century-Fox." Variety said the movie "deals soundly and interestingly with its situations" and unveils its plot "from a flashback angle so expertly presented that the emotional pull is sharpened." Film critics of the 1990s and since still hold a high opinion of it with TimeOut writing "One of Peck's best performances...A superb first half...King's control, the electric tension and the performances all hold firm (to its end)." Evaluations of Peck's performance, both in 1949 and in recent years, are glowing, including Bosley Crowther writing "High and particular praise for Gregory Peck...Peck does an extraordinarily able job in revealing the hardness and the softness of a general exposed to peril." Film historian Peter von Bagh considers Peck's performance "as Brigadier General Frank Savage to be the most enduring of his life."
Also released in spring 1951 in the United Kingdom (fall 1951 in North America), was Peck's first movie of four in eight years portraying a commander at sea. Based on a popular British novel, Captain Horatio Hornblower features Peck as the commander of a warship in the British fleet during naval battles against the French and Spanish in the Napoleonic Wars, a commander who also finds romance with Virginia Mayo's character in between the swashbuckling. Peck was attracted to the character, saying, "I thought Hornblower was an interesting character. I never believe in heroes who are unmitigated and unadulterated heroes, who never know the meaning of fear." The role had been originally intended for Errol Flynn, but he was felt to be too old by the time the project came to fruition. Captain Horatio Hornblower was a box office success finishing ninth for the year in the UK. and seventh in the North America.
Some reviews in 1951 lauded Peck's performance as Captain Horatio Hornblower, with Bob Thomas of the Associated Press saying Peck provided "the proper dash and authenticity as the remarkable nineteenth-century skipper" and Variety writing "Peck stands out as a skilled artist, capturing the spirit of the character and atmosphere of the period. Whether as the ruthless captain ordering a flogging as a face-saving act for a junior officer or tenderly nursing a woman through yellow fever, he never fails to reflect the Forester character." In the twenty-first century, reviews of Peck's performance range from somewhat negative to very positive. Richard Gilliam of AllMovie argues, it is "an excellent performance from Gregory Peck" elaborating that "Peck brings his customary aura of intelligence and moral authority to the role," but David Parkinson of the RadioTimes asserts "Gregory Peck plays Hornblower as a high-principle stuff shirt and thus confounds director Raoul Walsh's efforts to inject some pace." The reviews of the movie upon its release were good to very good with Variety giving the most positive review saying it's "a spectacular success" and "effervescent entertainment with action all the way. It is an incisive study of a man who is dispassionate, aloof and remote, yet is often capable of finer feelings ... The major action sequences have been lensed with great skill." Critical opinion today ranges from rating it as average to excellent with some critics asserting the romance or psychological study components detract from the well-filmed adventure components.
Peck's performance in David and Bathsheba was evaluated upon release by Bosley Crowther "as an authoritative performance," Variety said "Peck is a commanding personality...he shades his character expertly,", and Bob Thomas said "Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward lend great credibility to the title roles." In recent years, Jerry Butler of AllMovie argues, if Peck "is a trifle stiff, he supplies the requisite power and charisma," Radiotimes says "Peck manages to exude nobility," TV Guide says the movie is "awash with juice thanks to the force supplied by the three leads," and Leonard Maltin says the movie has "only fair performances." In 1951, the critics gave David and Bathsheba positive reviews, generally saying it avoided excessive spectacle with Bob Thomas writing it "is a Biblical epic of immense scope...written and performed with dignity and restraint...There are some dull spots and David could have used some of Samson's excitement. But David is more satisfying work and a tribute to its makers." By contrast, in recent decades, some critics do assert it is overblown and also dull and generally give it negative to slightly positive reviews. Craig Butler of AllMovie says, "The script is predictably overblown, filled with the kind of bombast and stilted melodrama that is to be expected. It's ridiculous, yet in its own strange way it works...The direction is big and broad...yet ultimately rather sterile. But there's plenty of spectacle to fill the eyes, with gorgeous costumes, delicious cinematography and fabulous sets...David also has a stellar cast...Susan Hayward is a delight as the luscious adulterous...throw in some nifty battle scenes, and the result is good if occasionally dawdling." Eddie Dorman Kay asserts it "paled in comparison to other large-scale melodramas," which could be the reasons for its low level of viewing in recent decades.
Peck's next movie was his "first real foray into comedy" and he was working with director William Wyler, who had not made a comedy since 1935, and co-starring with Audrey Hepburn, a 24-year-old newcomer in her first significant film role; yet it turned out as a "genuinely magical romance that worked beyond all expectations" and made Hepburn an overnight star. Roman Holiday (1953) has Peck playing a reporter who ends up escorting a young princess (Hepburn) on a whirlwind 24-hour tour of Rome after she sneaks out of her high-security hotel while on a tour of European capitals. Roman Holiday was a commercial success finishing 22nd in the box office in 1953, its first calendar year of release, but continuing to earn money into 1955 with "modern sources noting it earned $10 million total at the box office". It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, with Hepburn winning for Best Actress, a pick which the Golden Globes, New York Film Critics Circle and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) echoed, a rare occurrence; Peck was nominated for a BAFTA for Foreign Actor. At the Golden Globe awards held in early 1955, Peck and Hepburn were named the World Film Favorite Award winners for their respective genders; Peck had also won the award in 1950.
In 1954, reviews of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit were disparate. Bosley Crowther espoused it as, "a mature, fascinating and often quite tender and touching film" positing that "The film runs for two and a half hours and, except for two somewhat long war flashbacks, every minute is profitably used" in particular citing a scene between Peck and his boss, played by Fredric March, saying "this sequence takes time, but it is one of the most eloquent and touching we've seen" adding "all the actors are excellent." John McCarten of The New Yorker said "if it were an old-fashioned serial, I'm sure we might have been able to tolerate it. In one massive, dose, though, it's just too damned much." Variety's review voiced some concerns about the acting, including Peck's, but said, "Fredric March is excellent, and the scenes between him and Peck lift the picture high above the ordinary." In recent years, critics have had similar, but more moderated comments about The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Craig Butler of AllMovie says, "a powerful film...there's some brilliant dialogue and character sketching from Nunnally Johnson, who directs with a sure hand" adding "there are a few sections where...the tone gets a little too preachy" and "Although Jennifer Jones is disappointing (a fact that mars the effectiveness of the film), [Peck] gets extremely solid support" from everyone else. He concedes "it's also undeniable that a good 20 minutes could and should have been chopped away." Adrian Turner of RadioTimes evaluates it as "An overlong, self-important yet compelling melodrama." Two recent reviewers who comment on Peck's performance describe it as excellent, with Craig Butler of AllMovie declaring, "the role fits (Gregory Peck) as if it had been tailor-made for him. Peck's particular brilliance lies in the quiet strength that is so much a part of him and the way in which he uses subtle changes in that quietness to signal mammoth emotions. He's given ample opportunity to do so here and the results are enthralling...an exceptional performance". Adrian Turner of RadioTimes refers to "the excellent Peck" and states Peck plays "the appealing flawed hero."
Peck's popularity seemed to be on the wane in the U.S. That was not the case in the UK though, where a poll named him the third most popular non-British movie star. Peck did not have a film released in 1955.
On New Year's Eve in 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Peck married Véronique Passani (1932–2012), a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1952 before he went to Italy to film Roman Holiday. He asked her to lunch six months later, and they became inseparable. They had a son, Anthony Peck (b. 1956), and a daughter, Cecilia Peck (b. 1958). The couple remained married until Gregory Peck's death. His son Anthony is an ex-husband of supermodel Cheryl Tiegs.
Assessments of Moby Dick have also been diverse. In 1956 Bosley Crowther wrote, the movie is a "rolling and thundering color film that is herewith devotedly recommended as one of the great motion pictures of our times," "the drama is set up on strong, realistic incidents," "space does not possibly permit us to cite all the things about this film that are brilliantly done, from the strange subdued color scheme employed to the uncommon faithfulness to the details of whaling that are observed," and "it cannot be done better, more beautifully or excitingly." In the same year, Variety, opined the movie is "more interesting than exciting" and "does not escape the repetitiousness that often dulls chase movies." In recent years, most reviews are favorable with TV Guide asserting it is "one of the most historically authentic, visually stunning, and powerful adventures ever made," but some reviews are negative, with Adrian Turner of RadioTimes positing, it "has some wonderful scenes but must be counted as a noble failure. The great whale always looks phony."
Peck decided to follow some other actors into the movie-production business, organizing Melville Productions in 1956, and later, Brentwood Productions. These companies would produce five movies over the following seven years, all starring Peck, including Pork Chop Hill, for which Peck served as the executive producer. These and other films Peck starred in were observed by some as becoming more political, sometimes containing a pacifist message, with some people calling them preachy, although Peck said he tried to avoid any overt preachiness.
Peck retired from active film-making at that point. Peck spent the last few years of his life touring the world doing speaking engagements in which he would show clips from his movies, reminisce, and take questions from the audience. He did come out of retirement for a 1998 mini-series version of one of his most famous films, Moby Dick, portraying Father Mapple (played by Orson Welles in the 1956 version), with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab, the role Peck played in the earlier film. It was his final performance, and it won him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film.
In 1958, Peck and his good friend William Wyler co-produced the western epic The Big Country (1958), although it was not under Peck's production company. The project had numerous problems, starting with the script, as even after seven writers had worked on it, Wyler and Peck were still dissatisfied. Peck and the screenwriters ended up rewriting the script after each day's shooting, causing stress for the performers, who would arrive the next day and find their lines and even entire scenes different than for what they had prepared. There were strong disagreements between Wyler, as the director, and many of the performers, including with Peck, as Peck and Wyler had different views about the need for 10,000 cattle for a certain scene and about re-shooting one of Peck's close-ups; when Wyler refused to do another take of the close-up, Peck left the set and had to be persuaded to return. Peck and Wyler did not speak again for the rest of the shoot and for almost three years afterward, but then patched things up. Peck would say in 1974 that he had tried outright producing and acting at the same time and felt "either it can't be done or it's just that I don't do it well," adding that he did not have the desire to direct.
After having no movies released in 1960, Peck's first release of 1961 was the big-budget ($6 million) WWII adventure The Guns of Navarone, in which his six-man British and Greek commando team, which also includes David Niven and Anthony Quinn, undertakes a multi-step mission to destroy two seemingly impregnable cliff-top German radar-controlled artillery guns on the Greek island of Navarone. The team of specialists (Peck is the mountain climbing expert) need to destroy the guns so British ships can evacuate across the Aegean Sea two-thousand trapped British soldiers. Derived from a fact-based novel written by Alistair MacLean, subplots during the mission include finding a traitor in their midst, personal differences and bad history between characters, and debates about the morality of warfare. The movie was a huge hit becoming the top-grossing movie of 1961, and became "one of the most popular adventure movies of its day." It landed seven Academy Award nominations, including for best picture, director, and screenplay, winning for best special effects, while at the Golden Globe Awards it won for Best Dramatic Movie. It also won the BAFTA for Best British Screenplay.
Most reviews of The Guns of Navarone in 1961 were positive as illustrated by it being named the best picture of the year in Film Daily’s annual poll of critics and industry reporters. Variety, The New Yorker, and Bosley Crowther all said it was a thrilling action drama, although The New Yorker acknowledged the story was "preposterous" and Crowther commented it could have used more character development and human drama. In recent decades, most prominent critics or publications give it positive reviews such as Matthew Doberman of AllMovie observing, "The Guns of Navarone is proof that excitement and drama have always owed more to good storytelling than to computer graphics and hurtling asteroids. A classic underdog war tale, the film boasts strong human drama and intense emotional involvement thanks in large part to the compelling performances" and adding it contains "realistic tension". By contrast, two prominent critics, Tony Rayns of TimeOut and Christopher Tookey, argue the ongoing dialogue about the morality of warfare detracts from the story, and Mike Mayor in Videohound's War Movies says the plot is sometimes clunky, although both Tookey and Mayor still give the movie a positive review. The Guns of Navarone is considered to be one of the great WWII epics. Comments on the performances, both then and recently, generally say the whole cast was compelling, although Paul V. Peckly of The New York Herald Tribune had written, "Peck may seem at times a trifle wooden and his German accent too obviously American .... but his not too introspective, somewhat baffled manner is manly and fitted to the role he plays," while Tony Rayns of TimeOut asserts it's David Niven "who steals the acting honours here as a cynical explosives expert whose laid-back attitude is put to the test when the mission starts to go awry."
Peck's next role was in the 1962 film adaptation of the Harper Lee novel Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. In a small town in Alabama in the 1930s, Scout, a six-year-old girl, and Jem, her ten-year-old-brother, see and live events before, during and after their widowed father's passionate trial defense of a black man wrongly accused of the sexual assault of a white woman; Peck plays their kind and scrupulously honest lawyer father, Atticus Finch. Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, which was his fifth and last time nominated. The film received seven other Academy Award nominations including for Best Picture, Director and Cinematography, also winning Adapted Screenplay and Art Direction. At the Golden Globes, Peck won for Best Actor in a Drama and the film was nominated for Best Film and Director. It did not make the National Board of Review's Top 10 list. It was nominated for Best Film at the BAFTAs. The film grossed $22.9 million at the North American box office which was sixth most for the year. In 2003, Atticus Finch as portrayed by Gregory Peck was named the greatest film hero of the past 100 years by the American Film Institute. Peck would later say "My favorite film, without any question."
Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once. He was nominated for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Twelve O'Clock High (1949). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1967, he received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Peck was the owner of thoroughbred steeplechase race horses. In 1963 Owen's Sedge finished seventh in the Grand National. Another of his horses, Different Class, raced in the 1968 Grand National The horse was favored, but finished third.
Peck served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969, Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund in 1971, and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966. He was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966.
Peck revealed that former President Lyndon Johnson had told him that, had he sought re-election in 1968, he intended to offer Peck the post of U.S. ambassador to Ireland – a post Peck, owing to his Irish ancestry, said he might well have taken, saying, "[It] would have been a great adventure". The actor's biographer Michael Freedland substantiates the report, and says that Johnson indicated that his presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Peck would perhaps make up for his inability to confer the ambassadorship. President Richard Nixon, though, placed Peck on his "enemies list", owing to Peck's liberal activism.
In 1969, 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 1971, the Screen Actors Guild presented Peck with the SAG Life Achievement Award. In 1989, the American Film Institute gave Peck the AFI Life Achievement Award. He received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema in 1996.
A life-long Democrat, Peck was suggested in 1970 as a possible Democratic candidate to run against Ronald Reagan for the office of California Governor. Although he later admitted that he had no interest in being a candidate himself for public office, Peck encouraged one of his sons, Carey Peck, to run for political office. Carey was defeated both times by slim margins in races in 1978 and 1980 against Republican U.S. Representative Bob Dornan, another former actor.
Peck was outspoken against the Vietnam War, while remaining supportive of his son, Stephen, who fought there. In 1972, Peck produced the film version of Daniel Berrigan's play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine about the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Despite his reservations about American general Douglas MacArthur as a man, Peck had long wanted to play him on film, and did so in MacArthur in 1976.
Peck's eldest son, Jonathan, was found dead in his home on June 26, 1975, in what authorities believed was a suicide.
In 1978, Peck traveled to Alabama, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Donald W. Stewart of Anniston, who defeated the Republican candidate, James D. Martin, a former U.S. representative from Gadsden.
He received the Career Achievement Award from the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in 1983.
In 1986, Peck was honored alongside actress Gene Tierney with the first Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain for their body of work.
In 1987, Peck undertook the voice-overs for television commercials opposing President Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of conservative judge Robert Bork. Bork's nomination was defeated. Peck was also a vocal supporter of a worldwide ban of nuclear weapons, and a life-long advocate of gun control.
During his marriage with Greta, Peck had a brief affair with Spellbound co-star Ingrid Bergman. He confessed the affair to Brad Darrach of People in a 1987 interview, saying: "All I can say is that I had a real love for her (Bergman), and I think that's where I ought to stop...I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work."
In 1987, Peck was awarded the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
Peck originally rejected his assignment to The Great Sinner, which was to be his last movie under his contract to M-G-M, and only eventually agreed to do it as a favor to the studio's production head. Up until shortly before filming began, blonde siren Lana Turner was to play the female lead, but she was in Europe on an extended honeymoon and when she did not travel back in time, was replaced by the brunette Gardner. Peck ended up becoming great friends with Gardner and would later declare her his favorite co-star. Peck always said he thought she was a very good actress even though he said she often spoke poorly of her acting abilities. Their friendship lasted the rest of Gardner's life and when Gardner died in 1990, Peck took in both her housekeeper and her dog.
Peck, Mitchum, and Martin Balsam all had roles in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear, directed by Martin Scorsese. All three were in the original 1962 version. In the remake, Peck played Max Cady's lawyer.
His last prominent film role also came in 1991, in Other People's Money, directed by Norman Jewison and based on the stage play of that name. Peck played a business owner trying to save his company against a hostile takeover bid by a Wall Street liquidator played by Danny DeVito.
In 1993, Peck was awarded with an Honorary Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.
At Berkeley, his deep, well-modulated voice gained him attention, and after participating in a public speaking course, he decided to try acting. He was encouraged by an acting coach, who saw in him perfect material for university theatre, and he became more and more interested in acting. He was recruited by Edwin Duerr, director of the university's Little Theater, and appeared in five plays during his senior year, including as Starbuck in Moby Dick. Peck would later say about Berkeley that "it was a very special experience for me, and three of the greatest years of my life. It woke me up and made me a human being." In 1996, Peck donated $25,000 to the Berkeley rowing crew in honor of his coach, the renowned Ky Ebright.
In 1998, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Peck donated his personal collection of home movies and prints of his feature films to the Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1999. The film material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by printed materials in the Gregory Peck papers at the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library.
In 2000, Peck was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland. He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film, where he persuaded Martin Scorsese to become an honorary patron. Peck was also chairman of the American Cancer Society for a short time.
In 2003 Barry Monush wrote, "There was, and continues to be, controversy over his casting as Ahab in Moby Dick." Upon opening, Variety said: "Peck often seems understated and much too gentlemanly for a man supposedly consumed by insane fury." Bosley Crowther's review asserted that Peck "holds the character’s burning passions behind a usually mask-like face. We could do with a little more tempest, a little more Joshua in the role. Peck spouts fire from his nostrils only when he has at the whale." However, The Hollywood Reporter argued, "Peck plays it...in a brooding, smoldering vein, but none the less intensely and dynamically." In modern times, critics have said Peck is: "often mesmerizing" (Barry Monush); "stoic" and "more than adequate" (Brendon Hanley of AllMovie); " "lending a deranged dignity" to the role (Leonard Maltin); "not half as bad as some alleged, and actually suggesting the ingrained, heroic misanthropy" (David Thompson); a "lightweight Ahab"(Timeout); "neither pitiable or indomitable"; and never "vengeance incarnate" (David Shipman); "miscast, completing lacking the required demonic presence" (Adrian Turner of RadioTimes);" and, "miscast" (TV Guide). Huston always said he thought "Peck conveyed the exact quality he had wanted for the obsessed seaman." Peck himself later said "I wasn't mad enough, not crazy enough, not obsessive enough – I should have done more. At the time, I didn't have more in me." He also noted he thought he "played it too much for the richness of Melville's prose, too vocal a performance" and should have played it with a cracked voice as if his vocal cords were gone.
On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep from bronchopneumonia at the age of 87 at his home in Los Angeles. His wife, Veronique, was by his side.
Peck had been offered the role of Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but died before he could accept it. The Irish actor David Kelly was then given the part.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard. In November 2005, the star was stolen, and has since been replaced.
The Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence was created by the Peck family in 2008 to commemorate their father by honoring a director, producer or actor's life's work. Originally presented at the Dingle International Film Festival in his ancestral home in Dingle, Ireland, since 2014 it has been presented at the San Diego International Film Festival in the city where he was born and raised. Recipients include Gabriel Byrne, Laura Dern, Alan Arkin, Annette Bening, Patrick Stewart and Laurence Fishburne.
On April 28, 2011, a ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, California, celebrating the first day of issue of a U.S. postage stamp commemorating Peck. The stamp is the 17th commemorative stamp in the "Legends of Hollywood" series.
Documents declassified in 2017 show that the National Security Agency had created a biographical file on Peck as part of its monitoring of prominent US citizens.
Currently, Gregory Peck is 105 years, 2 months and 17 days old. Gregory Peck will celebrate 106th birthday on a Tuesday 5th of April 2022.
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