Gregory Peck is Born


Eldred Gregory Peck born April 5, La Jolla, CA. to Gregory Pearl Peck, of Irish descent, and Bernice Ayres, of Missouri.

Parents Divorce


His parents divorce, his mother returns to St. Louis, Missouri, and Gregory goes to live with his maternal grandmother in La Jolla.

St. John’s Catholic Military Academy


Sent to St. John’s Catholic Military Academy outside of Los Angeles, where he serves as an altar boy.

High School in San Diego


Returns to live with his pharmacist father. Attends San Diego High School.

First Year of College


Enrolls in San Diego State

Berkeley Awaits


Transfers to UC Berkely, enrolls in Pre-med, joins Cal crew team.

Finding the Stage


As a senior, discovers his passion in acting and appears in five plays at UC Berkeley.

New York Bound


Graduates UC Berkeley, boards a train to NY to study acting, and drops the first name “Eldred.”

Making Ends Meet


Barker at NY Worlds Fair, Usher at Radio City, models for Montgomery Ward, sleeps in Central Park when out of cash.

Acting School


Wins A Scholarship to the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse, studies acting with Sanford Meisner, movement with Martha Graham.

Summer Stock


Exempted from military service in WWII due to back injury. Begins playing roles in Summer Stock theater, including the Barter Theater, the Cape Playhouse.

Traveling Show


Tours in The Doctor’s Dilemma, by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Guthrie McClintic and starring Katherine Cornell.

Broadway Bound


Broadway debut in The Morning Star, with Katherine Cornell



Greg marries Greta Kukkonen.

Acting on Broadway


Stars in The Willow and I, Sons and Soldiers.

First Son


Jonathan Peck is born.

Hollywood Beckons


Meets with Louis B Mayer, Darrel Zanuck, David O Selnick, Samuel Goldwyn. Says no to contract player system, becoming one of first actors able to work at multiple studios. Stars in first film, Days of Glory.

First Oscar Nomination


Stars in The Keys of the Kingdom, is nominated for Best Actor.

Working With The Greats


Stars in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, with Ingrid Bergman.

Lust in the Dust


Stars in Duel in the Sun, as memorable rogue Lewt McCanles.

Second Oscar Nomination


Stars in The Yearling.

Second Son is Born


Stephen Peck born.

First Golden Globe


Wins Golden Globe for The Yearling.

Third Oscar Nomination


Stars in Gentleman’s Agreement, first major film to deal with discrimination against Jews. Winner of Best Picture Oscar.

Goes Back to Theater Roots


Founder of La Jolla Playhouse, with fellow actors Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire.

Fourth Oscar Nomination


Stars in Twelve O'Clock High and receives fourth Oscar nomination.

Third Son


Carey Paul Peck born.

Set In Stone


Puts handprints in the cement at Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

His Favorite Western


Stars in The Gunfighter.

Movie Star Accolade


Golden Globe for World Film Favorite, Male

A Classic For All Times


Stars in Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, directed by William Wyler.

Bambi Award


Germany's Best Actor Award for Roman Holiday.

More Recognition


Golden Globe for World Film Favorite, Male.

First Marriage Ends


Gregory and Greta file for divorce.

Model for Mad Men


Stars in The Man In the Grey Flannel Suit.



Gregory marries Veronique Passani.

Takes on Melville


Stars in Moby Dick, directed by John Huston.

Fourth Son


Anthony Peck is born.

An Epic Western


Stars in The Big Country with Charlton Heston, also Co-Produces the film with William Wyler

Ahead of the Curve


Stars in On The Beach, sounding a warning against nuclear proliferation. Third film with beloved friend Ava Gardner.

Gets A Girl


Cecilia Peck is born.

Walk of Fame


Gets a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Original Buddy Movie


Stars in The Guns of Navarone, with Anthony Quinn, David Niven and Anthony Quayle.

Takes on Mitchum


Stars in and produces Cape Fear.

His Favorite Role


Stars as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, fifth Oscar nomination.

Best Actor Oscar


Wins Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actor, To Kill A Mockingbird.

Academy Governorship


Elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Mr. Peck Goes to Washington


Appointed to National Council on the Arts.

Raises Record Breaking Funds


Appointed Chairman of American Cancer Society, travels the country raising awarness and funding.

Inner City Cultural Center


Helped found the Inner City Cultural Center, a multi-cultural theater in South Central Los Angeles.

A Presidential Call to Service


Appointed Founding Chairman of the American Film Institute.

Academy President


Elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, serves three terms.

Humanitarian Oscar


Second Oscar: The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Highest Civilian Honor


Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A Special Globe


Wins Golden Globe Cecil. B. DeMille Award, for Outstanding Contributions to the World of Entertainment.

Supporting His Community


Chairman of the Motion Picture Television and Relief Fund.

Opposes Vietnam War


Produces The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. At the same time is very proud of his son Stephen, who is deployed as a Marine in Vietnam.

Biggest Box Office Hit


Stars in The Omen.

Old Soldiers Never Die


Stars in MacArthur.

Works With Friend Laurence Olivier


Stars in Boys from Brazil as evil villain Dr. Josef Mengele.

Delivers Gettysburg Address


Plays Abraham Lincoln in The Blue and the Grey.

Jane Fonda Beckons


Stars in The Old Gringo, filmed on location in Mexico.

Honored By His Peers


AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award.

December at The White House


Receives Kennedy Center Honors.

Works With Scorsese


Plays cameo in remake of Cape Fear.

Celebrated in Manhattan


Honored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

In the Hometown of Veronique


Awarded Legion d'Honneur in Paris, France's Highest Honor, by President Jacques Chirac.

Supporing Literacy


Launches Gregory Peck Reading Series at the Los Angeles Public Library.

An Honor From The President


Awarded National Medal of Arts.

Sixth Golden Globe, at 78


Plays cameo in TV remake of Moby Dick. Nominated for Emmy Award, wins Golden Globe.

Friend Harry Belafonte Presents


Wins Marian Anderson Award in Philadelphia for humanitarian leadership.

A Fine Accolade


The American Film Institute names Gregory one of the Greatest Male Stars of All Time.

Treading the Boards Again


Tours in one man stage show, A Conversation With Gregory Peck.

Honored at Cannes


Documentary A Conversation With Gregory Peck premieres at Cannes Festival.

Stand Up, Miss Jean Louise


AFI names Atticus Finch #1 Movie Hero of All Time.

Gregory Peck Passes Away

June 12, 2003

June 12, at home in Los Angeles, with Veronique and his family at his side.

Final Words From a Lifelong Friend

June 16, 2003

June 16, Brock Peters delivers Gregory's eulogy, at Los Angeles' Catherdral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Atticus Forever


US Post Office issues a Forever Stamp of Gregory as Atticus Finch.

A Presidential Favorite


For the 50th anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird, President Obama screens film at the White House.



  • I’m not a do-gooder. It embarrassed me to be classified as a humanitarian. I simply take part in activities that I believe in.

    – Gregory Peck

  • I think that’s what the audience is really interested in… you, how you’re going to cope with the situation, the obstacles, the troubles that the writer put in front of you.

    – Gregory Peck

  • Tough times don’t last, tough people do, remember?

    – Gregory Peck

  • I enjoy practicing my craft as well as I possibly can. I enjoy the work for its own sake.

    – Gregory Peck

  • Of the movies I’ve done there isn’t much I really like. The Gunfighter,  Roman Holiday, Twelve O’Clock High I feel were my best.

    – Gregory Peck, 1957

GP-loadingTall and strikingly handsome, with a commanding presence and a deep, resonant voice, Peck was born in La Jolla, California, on April 5, 1916. As a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, he was cast in several plays and fell in love with acting. Upon graduating, he won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and made his Broadway debut in 1942. Critical praise and more stage roles followed. Peck soon caused a sensation in Hollywood and quickly became a major star. One of cinema’s most respected actors, Gregory Peck appeared in more than 60 films during an esteemed career that stretched from the 1940’s to the early 2000’s. His dignity, humanity, and integrity impressed critics from the start and endeared him to generations of moviegoers. Nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actor, he won the Oscar for his performance as defense attorney Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, a character that Peck said was closest to his own heart.

Although he played a wide variety of memorable roles throughout his career—a wayward cowboy in Duel in the Sun (1946), a love-struck reporter in Roman Holiday (1953), Captain Ahab in Moby Dick (1956)—Peck always grounded his performance in a keen intelligence and innate authenticity that illuminated the screen.

His thoughtful portrayal of a devoted priest in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Another Oscar nomination followed for The Yearling (1946). In Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), Peck played a passionate young reporter determined to expose anti-Semitism. Acclaimed by critics as well as the public, the film earned eight Academy Award nominations, including one for Peck as Best Actor. He received a fourth Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the commander of a demoralized World War II bomber squadron in Twelve O’Clock High (1949).

mockingPeck’s own favorite role, and the one for which he is most remembered, is Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, the film tells the story of Atticus’s defense of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The film opened in December 1962. According to Variety, it was “a major film achievement, a significant, captivating and memorable picture that ranks with the best of recent years.” The film earned eight Academy Award nominations, countless international honors, and the Best Actor Oscar for Peck. Perhaps Harper Lee summed it up best: “Atticus Finch gave Gregory Peck an opportunity to play himself.” In 2003, the American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Atticus Finch the number one movie hero in American film history.

From the beginning, Peck’s career included many critical and box-office hits, including Spellbound (1945), The Gunfighter (1950), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), On the Beach (1959), and The Guns of Navarone (1961). In the late 1950s, he also formed his own movie production company. Its films included the epic 1958 western The Big Country, the innovative Korean War drama Pork Chop Hill (1959), and the suspense thriller Cape Fear (1962), among others. In The Omen (1976), he had the biggest box office hit of his career. In 1991, he revisited Cape Fear in a version directed by Martin Scorsese, and in 1998 received a Golden Globe for his tour-de-force appearance in a television adaptation of Moby Dick.

In the midst of his phenomenal rise in Hollywood, Peck remained committed to live theater. In 1947, he was a founder of the La Jolla Playhouse, a nonprofit professional theater company, and was an active and avid supporter for the rest of his life. Peck was an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-semitism, and championed films which addressed these issues head-on.

Peck was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1967 to 1970 and also served as a longtime governor. He was an inaugural member of the National Council on the Arts and the Founding Chairman of the American Film Institute. He was National Chairman of the American Cancer Society and raised record-breaking contributions. He also devoted himself to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, which provides health care to members of the entertainment industry. For his public service, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar, in 1967.

In 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Peck the Presidential Medal of Freedom as “an artist who had brought new dignity to the actor’s profession,” and in 1970, Peck received the Screen Actors Guild award for “outstanding achievement in fostering the ideals of the acting profession.” In 1989, he received the AFI Life Achievement Award, followed by the Kennedy Center Honors in 1991 and the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1998.

Gregory Peck will long be remembered for leaving the indelible imprint of his own character on all the roles he played, especially Atticus Finch, of whom he said: “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.”