Hollywood has been around for over a century and thus, its history books are filled with stories of legends who made their mark in the annals of the industry and passed away. One of those men is Eldred Gregory Peck, who for a period during his existence, was one of the most popular movie stars on the planet. His life as an actor and as a person earned him awards and recognition from various places, including the President of the United States who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read below to learn more about the Hollywood legend.
Biography of Gregory Peck
Gregory was born to Bernice Mae and Gregory Peck on April 5, 1916. The loving relationship that brought fought Gregory Peck, however, did not last; when Gregory was five, his parents got divorced and he spent his days shuffling between his father’s, mother’s and maternal grandmother’s home after the divorce. Seeing how unsustainable and problematic that is for a young child, Gregory was sent to a military boarding school, St John’s Military Academy in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, while he was there, his grandmother died.
After his grandmother’s death, Gregory moved back with his father, living in San Diego and completed his high school education at San Diego High School. For his higher education, he started at San Diego State University which at the time was San Diego State Teacher’s College. He spent a year there and got admission into the University of California, in pursuit of a dream to be a doctor.
Born to a poor family, Gregory Peck struggled to pay his tuition and he had to take on menial jobs to take care of his needs. During his time navigating the complexities of college life in the University of California, he met an acting coach who, after seeing him thought he would be a good actor and encouraged him to try the University’s theatre. Gregory took his advice and fell in love with acting.
At the expiration of his time at Berkely, Gregory Peck moved to New York City where he studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and learned the acting profession under Sanford Meisner. His time in New York was a continuation of his dire financial state; he worked as a tour guide, among other odd jobs in order to support himself while he was in the city.
Career Take Off
After a few years of learning, Peck’s career finally started in 1941 in the stage play, The Doctor’s dilemma. Barely a week after the play opened, the famous attack on Pearl Harbor started. However, while the war went on, Peck, who couldn’t join the war during recruitment due to a back injury, started to experience growth in his career. The shortage of actors due to war assignments gave rise to the demand for Peck’s acting services. The young star started appearing as the lead in Broadway plays and soon his name was gaining prominence and poverty was becoming a distant memory for him.
In the films, where the icon solidified his legacy, Gregory Peck starred in a number of films but his best years, in respect to award recognition came in the first five years of his film debut during which time he earned four Oscar nominations.
Now a known and celebrated actor, Peck reached the height of his film career in 1962, when the film To Kill a Mockingbird was released. It was an adaptation of a Harper Lee novel with the same name. He played Atticus Finch and the portrayal earned him his only Oscar award. The character was later named the greatest film hero in 100 years by the American Film Institute in 2003.
Although Gregory Peck’s legacy is mostly centered in film, he did some work on television too. He starred in shows like The Blue and the Gray and The Scarlet and the Black. He was known as a physically strong actor who did his own fight scenes, refusing a body double. Despite being an actor, Peck was also a prominent political voice lending his voice to various political issues of the time. He was a supporter of a global ban on nuclear weapons and gun control in America. He died as a lifelong Democrat.
Gregory Peck’s Net Worth
Star of two decades of cinema, Gregory was no doubt one of the highest paid actors during his career timeline. With his career earnings and his investments, he was able to accumulate a net worth of $40 million.
Family Life – Wife and Children
Gregory Peck was married two times in his lifetime. His first marriage was to a certain Greta Kukkonen, and the couple was married for less than 15 years. Their union was good as it lasted and produced 3 sons but soon hit the rocks over Gregory’s infidelity in a publicized relationship with Ingrid Bergman. After the divorce, Peck remarried, this time to Veronique Passani who according to many popular opinions, was his soulmate. They got married on 31st December 1956 and stayed together until her death in 2012. They had two children, a boy, and a girl.
In all, Gregory had 5 children from two marriages. He had four boys, Stephen Peck, Jonathan Peck, Carey Paul Peck, and Anthony Peck. He had a daughter, Cecilia Peck, who is a film producer. Peck lost his son, Jonathan to what was considered to be suicide in 1975.