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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Profile: Gregory Peck's Filmography

Aired June 12, 2003 - 14:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: For now we are going to get back to a story we've been telling you about all afternoon. And that is Gregory Peck, who died overnight at the age of 87.
We have David Daniel to tell us more about his life and works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREGORY PECK, ACTOR: In our courts, all men are created equal.

DAVID DANIEL, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He personified earnestness and nobility, whether fighting southern bigotry in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

PECK: I'm saying I'm Jewish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's working.

PECK: It works; it works too well.

DANIEL: Or northern anti-Semitism in "Gentleman's Agreement." But playing a hero or villain, Gregory Peck brought quiet dignity to every roll.

PECK: I'm sure that Aunt Polly would be very happy if I were to become a priest.

DANIEL: His first lead role, that of a Roman Catholic priest in "The Keys of the Kingdom," earned Peck his first of five Oscar nominations.

He showed his range playing a mentally disturbed patient of psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound," an understanding father in "The Yearling," which brought a second Oscar nod, and a womanizing bad boy in "Duel in the Sun" before picking up his third Oscar nomination as the conscientious reporter of the Best Picture-winning "Gentleman's Agreement."

PECK: Look, I'm Jewish and you don't take Jews. That's it, isn't it?

DANIEL: By the late '40s and '50s Peck had become one of Hollywood's most popular leading men, giving memorable performances as a World War II Air Force commander in "Twelve O'Clock High" and the hardened reporter who fell for Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday."

PECK: Hello. AUDREY HEPBURN, ACTRESS: You!

DANIEL: One unusual aspect of Peck's success: he achieved it without signing a long-term studio contract, a standard practice at the time.

PECK: I had that stubborn streak. The Irish in me, I guess, that I never wanted to be owned by anybody and I wanted to make up my own mind. For better or for worse.

DANIEL: In 1962 came the pinnacle of Peck's career. His Oscar- winning portrayal of a small town southern lawyer Atticus Finch in the big screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "To Kill a Mockingbird."

PECK: She did something in our society that in our society is unspeakable. She kissed a black man.

PECK: Everybody's about to see that I can't walk on water.

DANIEL: Larger than life roles followed: the legendary five-star General MacArthur, the evil Doctor Mengele of "The Boys from Brazil."

Peck loomed large off-screen, as well, devoting himself to charitable and political causes, following the philosophy which guided his career and his life.

PECK: The idea of the final curtain, as they say in the song, that doesn't bother me. Living every day and appreciating the people around me, and occasionally doing a nice piece of work, I've come to accept that as a good way of life.

DANIEL: For "Entertainment Weekly," I'm David Daniel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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