Thursday, June 12, 2014

"To Kill A Mockingbird" Actor Gregory Peck 2003 Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels

Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor. He is best known for his performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Peck was one of the world's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s and continued to play major film roles until the late 1970s. President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at #12.

 Eldred Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla, California, the son of Missouri-born Bernice Mae "Bunny" (née Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a New York-born chemist and pharmacist. His father was of Irish (maternal) heritage and English (paternal) heritage, while his mother had Scottish and English ancestry. Peck's father was a Catholic and his mother converted to the religion upon marrying his father.
 In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen (1911–2008), with whom he had three sons, Jonathan (1944–75), Stephen (b. 1946), and Carey Paul (b. 1949). They were divorced on December 30, 1955, but maintained a very good relationship. Jonathan Peck, a television news reporter, committed suicide in 1975. Stephen Peck is active in support of American veterans from the Vietnam War; his first wife is screenwriter Kimi Peck, who co-wrote Little Darlings with Dalene Young. Carey Peck had political ambitions, running for Congress in California in 1978 and again in 1980 with the support of his father and family. He narrowly lost to conservative Republican Bob Dornan.
 On December 31, 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Peck married Veronique Passani (1932–2012), a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1953 before he went to Italy to film Roman Holiday. He asked her to lunch six months later and they became inseparable. They had a son, Anthony, and a daughter Cecilia Peck. The couple remained married until Gregory Peck's death. His daughter Cecilia lives in Los Angeles. Peck had grandchildren from both marriages.
 Peck was a practicing Roman Catholic, although he disagreed with the Church's positions on abortion and the ordination of women. On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep at home from bronchopneumonia. His wife, Veronique, was by his side.  

Gregory Peck is entombed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles, California. His eulogy was read by Brock Peters, whose character, Tom Robinson, was defended by Peck's Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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