Gregory Peck dies

Gregory Peck, the handsome movie star whose long career included such classics as Roman Holiday, Spellbound and his Academy Award winner To Kill A Mockingbird, has died, a spokesman said tonight. He was 87.

Gregory Peck, the handsome movie star whose long career included such classics as Roman Holiday, Spellbound and his Academy Award winner To Kill A Mockingbird, has died, a spokesman said tonight. He was 87.

Peck died overnight, Monroe Friedman told The Associated Press.

Peck's craggy good looks, grace and measured speech contributed to his screen image as the decent, courageous man of action.

From his film debut in 1944 with Days of Glory, he was never less than a star. He was nominated for an Oscar five times, and his range of roles was astonishing.

He portrayed a priest in Keys of the Kingdom, combat heroes in Twelve O’Clock High and Pork Chop Hill, Westerners in Yellow Sky and The Gunfighter, a romantic in Roman Holiday.

His commanding presence suited him for legendary characters: King David in David and Bathsheba, sea captains in Captain Horatio Hornblower and Moby Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Beloved Infidel, the war leader MacArthur, and Abraham Lincoln in the TV mini-series The Blue and the Grey.

Peck’s rare attempts at unsympathetic roles usually failed. He played the renegade son in the Western Duel in the Son and the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in The Boys from Brazil.

Off-screen as well as on, Peck conveyed a quiet dignity. He had one amicable divorce, and scandal never touched him. He served as president of the Motion Picture Academy and was active in the Motion Picture and Television Fund, American Cancer Society, National Endowment for the Arts and other causes.

“I’m not a do-gooder,” he insisted after learning of the Academy’s Jean Hersholt humanitarian award in 1968. “It embarrassed me to be classified as a humanitarian. I simply take part in activities that I believe in.”

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up