Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor who was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. Peck continued to play major film roles until the late 1980s. His performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor . He had also been nominated for an Oscar for the same category for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and Twelve O’Clock High (1949). Other notable film s he appeared in include Spellbound (1945), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956, and its 1998 miniseries), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Cape Fear (1962, and its 1991 remake), How the West Was Won (1962), The Omen (1976) and The Boys from Brazil (1978).
Peck’s parents divorced when he was five and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, who took him to the movies every week. At the age of 10 he was sent to a Catholic military school, St. John’s Military Academy in Los Angeles. While he was a student there, his grandmother died. At 14, he moved back to San Diego to live with his father, attended San Diego High School, and after graduating enrolled for one year at San Diego State Teacher’s College, (now known as San Diego State University). While there he joined the track team, took his first theatre and public-speaking courses, and pledged the Epsilon Eta fraternity.Peck however had ambitions to be a doctor and the following year gained admission to the University of California, Berkeley, as an English major and pre-medical student. Standing 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), he rowed on the university crew. Although his tuition fee was only $26 per year, Peck still struggled to pay, and took a job as a “hasher” (kitchen helper) for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority in exchange for meals.