Sunday , June 16 2024

Gregory Peck Dies at 87

Another great from Hollywood’s Golden Age gone – coincidentally, Peck’s Atticus Finch character from To Kill a Mockingbird was just chosen as the greatest hero in film history by the American Film Institute.

AP’s obit:

    Peck, who won the best-actor Academy Award for playing the noble Atticus in 1962’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died Thursday at his Los Angeles home, spokesman Monroe Friedman said.

    ….The actor had not been suffering from any particular ailments, Friedman said, but simply slipped off to sleep and died as his wife held his hand.

    Late in his career, Peck played such blackhearts as Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in “The Boys From Brazil.” But the role of the heavy never quite suited him.

    Friedman said that over the years Peck told him he knew audiences recalled him most fondly for Atticus, the widowed Southern lawyer raising two children amid racial unrest as he defends an innocent black man against charges of raping a white woman.

    Peck’s career was defined by that film, said Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, “because he was the classic, quintessential American hero, a fellow who puts to hazard his whole future in order to do something he believes is right to do.”

    ….”I put everything I had into it – all my feelings and everything I’d learned in 46 years of living, about family life and fathers and children,” Peck said in 1989. “And my feelings about racial justice and inequality and opportunity.”

    Peck’s lanky, gaunt-cheeked good looks, measured speech and courtly demeanor quickly established him as star material when he broke into movies in the 1940s.

    He made his film debut in 1944’s “Days of Glory,” a tale of Russian peasants coping with Nazi occupation. The next year, he played a priest in his second film, “Keys of the Kingdom,” which brought him his first Oscar nomination.

    Three more nominations soon followed: For 1946’s “The Yearling,” the family classic about a boy and his pet fawn; for 1947’s best-picture winner “Gentleman’s Agreement,” in which Peck played a reporter posing as a Jew to expose anti-Semitism in America; and for 1949’s “Twelve O’Clock High,” with Peck as a World War II flight leader coming unglued under the pressures of command.

    His “legacy not only lies in his films, but in the dignified, decent and moral way in which he worked and lived,” said director Steven Spielberg. “He was the reigning father of the actor.”

    ….A Roosevelt New Dealer, Peck campaigned for Harry Truman in 1948 “at a time when nobody thought he had a chance to win.” He continued championing liberal causes, producing an anti-Vietnam War film in 1972, “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” and helped with the successful campaign against the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987.

    Peck married his first wife, Greta, in 1942 and they had three sons, Jonathan, Stephen and Carey. Jonathan, a TV reporter, committed suicide at age 30. After his divorce in 1954, Peck married Veronique Passani, a Paris reporter. They had two children, Anthony and Cecilia, both actors.

Here is a complete list of Peck’s films:

    Days of Glory, 1944

    The Keys of the Kingdom, 1945

    The Valley of Decision, 1945

    Spellbound, 1945

    The Yearling, 1946

    Duel in the Sun, 1946

    The Macomber Affair, 1947

    Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947

    The Paradine Case, 1948

    Yellow Sky, 1948

    The Great Sinner, 1949

    Twelve O’Clock High, 1949

    The Gunfighter, 1950

    Only the Valiant, 1951

    David and Bathsheba, 1951

    Captain Horatio Hornblower, 1951

    The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1952

    The World in His Arms, 1952

    Roman Holiday, 1953

    Night People, 1954

    The Million-Pound Note or Man With a Million, 1954

    The Purple Plain, 1954

    The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1956

    Moby Dick, 1956

    Designing Woman, 1957

    The Bravados, 1958

    The Big Country, 1958

    Pork Chop Hill, 1959

    Beloved Infidel, 1959

    On the Beach, 1959

    The Guns of Navarone, 1961

    To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962

    Cape Fear, 1962

    How the West Was Won, 1962

    Captain Newman M.D., 1963

    Behold a Pale Horse, 1964

    Mirage, 1965

    Arabesque, 1966

    The Stalking Moon, 1969

    Mackenna’s Gold, 1969

    The Chairman or The Most Dangerous Man in the World, 1969

    Marooned, 1969

    I Walk the Line, 1970

    Shoot-Out, 1971

    The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (producer only), 1972

    Billy Two Hats, 1974

    The Dove (producer only), 1974

    The Omen, 1976

    MacArthur, 1977

    The Boys from Brazil, 1978

    The Sea Wolves, 1980

    The Blue and the Gray (TV movie), 1982

    The Scarlet and the Black (TV movie), 1982

    Amazing Grace and Chuck, 1987

    Old Gringo, 1989

    Other People’s Money, 1991

    Cape Fear, 1991

    The Portrait (TV movie), 1993

    Moby Dick (TV movie), 1998 [AP]

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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