- I just found out that Gregory Peck has died. He was one of my favorite actors and from what I’ve read about him he sounds like a truly good man.
- US News: A GENTLEMAN’S DISCERNMENT (Scroll down to the second story to read about Gregory Peck)
- Madison.com: Editorial: Atticus Finch & Gregory Peck
- UPI: Actor Gregory Peck dies at 87
- The Telegraph (UK): Obituary of Gregoy Peck
- MSNBC: Gregory Peck, last of noble breed — Actor was royalty to Hollywood
- NY Times: Gregory Peck, a Star of Quiet Dignity, Dies at 87
Here’s one excerpt that I want to share:
- Although Mr. Peck was nominated as best actor for “The Keys of the Kingdom,” “The Yearling,” “Gentleman’s Agreement” and “Twelve O’Clock High,” he did not win an Oscar until “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which dealt seriously with racism and social injustice at a time when the civil rights movement was gaining national attention.
“For Peck, it is an especially challenging role,” a critic wrote in Variety, adding, “He not only succeeds, but makes it appear effortless, etching a portrayal of strength, dignity and intelligence.”
Mr. Peck called “To Kill a Mockingbird” the picture “closest to my heart and the high point of my career.”
Reflecting on Atticus Finch in a Saturday Evening Post interview nearly 30 years later, Mr. Peck said, “It was easy for me to do. It was just like putting on a comfortable, well-worn suit of clothes.
“I identified with everything that happened in that story, with the small-town life which reminded me of the California town where I grew up,” he said in the interview. “And I think that Atticus Finch was a popular man. For a long time I was a very busy fellow on the freeways, waving back to well-wishers at red lights, who would grin and yell, `Hi, Atticus,” and I would grin right back.”
By all accounts, Mr. Peck and Mr. Finch were a perfect blend. Publicly and privately, throughout his adult life, he had maintained outspoken, liberal positions on public affairs.
A staunch advocate of nuclear disarmament, he said in an interview on the “Today” program: “I would give up everything I do and everything I have if I could make a significant difference in getting the nuclear arms race reversed. It is the No. 1 priority in my life.”
When he received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 1989, he warned of the dangers in having “all pictures and television” made by “two or three of these behemoths who happen also to own magazines, newspapers and cable stations.”
He continued: “If these Mount Everests of the financial world are going to labor and bring forth still more pictures with people being blown to bits with bazookas and automatic assault rifles with no gory detail left unexploited, if they are going to encourage anxious, ambitious actors, directors, writers and producers to continue their assault on the English language by reducing the vocabularies of their characters to half a dozen words, with one colorful but overused Anglo-Saxon verb and one unbeautiful Anglo-Saxon noun covering just about every situation, then I would like to suggest that they stop and think about this: making millions is not the whole ball game, fellows. Pride of workmanship is worth more. Artistry is worth more.”