Vol. 5 Num 728 Thu. June 15, 2006  

All Time Greats
Gregory Peck: Story of a legendary hero
"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. And my feelings about racial justice and inequality and opportunity."

--Gregory Peck on his role as a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape, in the film To Kill a Mockingbird.

June 12 marked Hollywood titan Gregory Peck's third death anniversary. This is an opportune time to remember the actor who loomed large in filmdom--be it opposite Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, his portrayal of General MacArthur in the film of the same name or the lawyer in To kill a mockingbird.

His first two Hollywood films were as Vladmir in Days of Glory and Father Francis Chisholm in The Keys of the Kingdom. His role as the taciturn Scottish missionary was an outstanding success and brought him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Peck won plaudits for essaying the roles of dignified statesmen and people with strong ethics: a magazine reporter confronting anti-Semitism in Gentleman's Agreement (a best picture Oscar winner), a military officer in The Guns of Navarone and the president of United States in Amazing Grace and Chuck.

However, Peck was a versatile artiste: He enacted the role of a conflict-ridden father in the original Cape Fear and a Nazi in The Boys from Brazil, the latter against Laurence Olivier's Nazi hunter.

All told, Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards. Besides Mockingbird, he was also nominated for The Keys of the Kingdom, The Yearling, Gentleman's Agreement and Twelve o' clock High.

Peck had the last word on his film career: "They say the bad guys are more interesting to play but there is more to it than that--playing the good guys is more challenging because it's harder to make them interesting."

Compiled by Cultural Correspondent