Birth Name: Eldred Gregory Peck
Born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, US
While studying for pre-med, Peck got the acting bug and decided to change the focus of his studies. He enrolled in the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and debuted on Broadway after graduation. His debut was in Emlyn Williams’ stage play The Morning Star (1942). By 1943, he was in Hollywood where he debuted in the RKO film Days of Glory (1944). Stardom would come with his next film, The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) for which he would be nominated for an Academy Award. Peck’s screen presence would display the qualities for which he would become well known. He would be tall, rugged, heroic, with a basic decency that would transcend his roles. He would appear in Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945) as the amnesia victim accused of murder. In The Yearling (1946), Peck would again be nominated for the Academy Award and would win the Golden Globe. Peck would appear in Westerns with Duel in the Sun (1946), Yellow Sky (1948) and The Gunfighter (1950). He would again be nominated for the Academy Award with his roles in Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), a story of discrimination and Twelve O’Clock High (1949), a story of high level stress at bomber command. With a string of hits behind him, Peck would soon only work in films that interested him. He would continue to appear as the heroic figures in larger than life films such as Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), Moby Dick (1956) and The Guns of Navarone (1961). He would work with Audrey Hepburn in her debut film Roman Holiday (1953). With four nominations, Peck would finally win the Oscar for his performance as Lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). In the early 60’s he would appear in two dark films Cape Fear (1962) and Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), which would deal with the way people live. After that, he would appear in a handful of average movies for the rest of the decade. In the early 70’s, he produced two movies, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (1972) and The Dove (1974), while his film career waned. He would make a comeback playing the wooden Robert Thorn in the horror film The Omen (1976). After that, he returned to the bigger than life roles as MacArthur (1977) and the evil Doctor Mengele in The Boys from Brazil (1978). In the 80’s, Peck would move into Television with the mini series The Blue and the Gray (1982) and the movie Scarlet and the The Black (1983) (TV).
In 1991, he would appear in the sequel to his 1962 film, playing a different part, in Cape Fear (1991). He would also be cast as the liberal owner of a wire and cable business in Other People’s Money (1991). In 1967, Peck received the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He has also been awarded the Medal of Freedom. Always politically liberal, Peck has been active in causes dealing with charities, politics or the film industry.