Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dead French in L.A.: Philanthropist Veronique Peck 2012 Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels

Veronique Peck (née Passani; c. 1932 – August 17, 2012) was a French-American arts patron, philanthropist and journalist. She was married to actor, political activist and philanthropist Gregory Peck until his death in 2003.[1][2][3]

Born in Paris, France,[1][2] Passani's mother was an artist and writer, while her father was an architect.[3] She began her career as a journalist for France Soir, a French daily newspaper. She met Gregory Peck while conducting an interview for France Soir in 1953. The couple married on December 31, 1955, shortly after Peck's divorce from his first wife, Greta Kukkonen.[1] Veronique Peck became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1976.[2]

Veronique Peck became a well-known philanthropist in Greater Los Angeles. She and her husband raised approximately $50 million for the American Cancer Society during the 1960s.[1] The Los Angeles Times named her "Woman of the Year" in 1967.[3] Peck also co-founded the Inner City Cultural Center, a theater group composed of members from different ethnic backgrounds, and the Los Angeles Music Center.[2]

Gregory Peck died in 2003 and his widow took control of the Gregory Peck Reading Series soon after her husband's death. The series raises money on behalf of the Los Angeles Public Library through the collaboration of celebrities, including Sharon Stone and Quincy Jones.[2] Veronique Peck had become friends with author Harper Lee while her husband was filming To Kill a Mockingbird. In 2005, Peck convinced the normally reclusive Lee to accept the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award in person. Peck and her family attended a private White House screening of To Kill a Mockingbird in 2012 with President Barack Obama to mark what would have been her late husband's 96th birthday.[1]


Veronique Peck died of a heart ailment at her home in Los Angeles on August 17, 2012, at age 80.[1] She was survived by two children, filmmaker Cecilia Peck, and screenwriter Anthony Peck, and three grandchildren, and her brother, Dr. Cornelius Passani.[3] Gregory and Veronique Peck are buried in the mausoleum at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.


1.^ "Obituaries of note: Veronique Peck, Frank Godden, Ben Isaacs, Svetozar Gligoric". Washington Post. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
2.^ "Gregory Peck's widow Veronique, an arts supporter, dies at 80". Reuters. 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
3.^ Nelson, Valerie J. (2012-08-19). "Veronique Peck dies at 80; Gregory Peck's widow was L.A. philanthropist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-09-02.

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