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Gregory Peck: A Biography

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Gregory Peck's acting career has spanned six decades, during which the ruggedly handsome actor has played everything from a jaunty reporter to an angry Western gunfighter, an honorable lawyer to an obsessed sea captain, a priest to a World War II bomber pilot. To every role, he has lent a depth and intelligence that have made him a permanent American icon. In "Gregory Peck Gregory Peck's acting career has spanned six decades, during which the ruggedly handsome actor has played everything from a jaunty reporter to an angry Western gunfighter, an honorable lawyer to an obsessed sea captain, a priest to a World War II bomber pilot. To every role, he has lent a depth and intelligence that have made him a permanent American icon. In "Gregory Peck: A Biography," Gary Fishgall meticulously recounts Peck's influential life, revealing the effects of the actor on the film industry and of the film industry on the actor. Although he planned on being a doctor, Peck was lured to the stage as a young man, leaving his native California for an uncertain existence as an actor in New York. After two years of study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan, he made a successful Broadway debut in 1942, eventually returning to Hollywood to begin his new, high-profile life. His stunning movie career has included starring roles in such classics as "Roman Holiday, Gentleman's Agreement, Cape Fear, Captain Horatio Hornblower, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Yearling," and "Moby-Dick." After many Academy Award nominations, Peck won an Oscar in 1962 for his moving portrayal of Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird," his most celebrated film. Despite his very public career, Peck remains an extremely private man. In this comprehensive biography, the first written with the actor's cooperation and drawn from extensive research as well as dozens of interviews with Peck's friends and associates, Gary Fishgall portrays him in his many guises: the lonely young son of divorced parents; the stalwart military cadet; the aspiring college thespian; the hot Hollywoodnewcomer pursued by Goldwyn, Zanuck, Mayer, and Selznick; and the handsome movie star charming the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones, and Ava Gardner. Fishgall reveals the truth about Peck's unhappy first marriage, his struggle to keep his family together, and the blissful second marriage that has lasted more than forty years. Finally, Fishgall depicts Peck as the esteemed professional, graduating from leading man to gifted character actor, and as the concerned citizen, determined to extend himself beyond the bounds of his own profession. An ardent activist, Peck supports many charitable and political causes, and is unwavering in his desire to make the world a better place. Renowned biographer of Hollywood giants such as Jimmy Stewart and Burt Lancaster, Fishgall brings an actor's and director's understanding of the movie industry to "Gregory Peck." He takes readers behind the scenes of the star's numerous films, and he sets his story within the larger context of the changes and evolution of twentieth-century entertainment. The tale of an American classic, "Gregory Peck" is a compelling, intimate account of a full and fascinating life.


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Gregory Peck's acting career has spanned six decades, during which the ruggedly handsome actor has played everything from a jaunty reporter to an angry Western gunfighter, an honorable lawyer to an obsessed sea captain, a priest to a World War II bomber pilot. To every role, he has lent a depth and intelligence that have made him a permanent American icon. In "Gregory Peck Gregory Peck's acting career has spanned six decades, during which the ruggedly handsome actor has played everything from a jaunty reporter to an angry Western gunfighter, an honorable lawyer to an obsessed sea captain, a priest to a World War II bomber pilot. To every role, he has lent a depth and intelligence that have made him a permanent American icon. In "Gregory Peck: A Biography," Gary Fishgall meticulously recounts Peck's influential life, revealing the effects of the actor on the film industry and of the film industry on the actor. Although he planned on being a doctor, Peck was lured to the stage as a young man, leaving his native California for an uncertain existence as an actor in New York. After two years of study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan, he made a successful Broadway debut in 1942, eventually returning to Hollywood to begin his new, high-profile life. His stunning movie career has included starring roles in such classics as "Roman Holiday, Gentleman's Agreement, Cape Fear, Captain Horatio Hornblower, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Yearling," and "Moby-Dick." After many Academy Award nominations, Peck won an Oscar in 1962 for his moving portrayal of Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird," his most celebrated film. Despite his very public career, Peck remains an extremely private man. In this comprehensive biography, the first written with the actor's cooperation and drawn from extensive research as well as dozens of interviews with Peck's friends and associates, Gary Fishgall portrays him in his many guises: the lonely young son of divorced parents; the stalwart military cadet; the aspiring college thespian; the hot Hollywoodnewcomer pursued by Goldwyn, Zanuck, Mayer, and Selznick; and the handsome movie star charming the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones, and Ava Gardner. Fishgall reveals the truth about Peck's unhappy first marriage, his struggle to keep his family together, and the blissful second marriage that has lasted more than forty years. Finally, Fishgall depicts Peck as the esteemed professional, graduating from leading man to gifted character actor, and as the concerned citizen, determined to extend himself beyond the bounds of his own profession. An ardent activist, Peck supports many charitable and political causes, and is unwavering in his desire to make the world a better place. Renowned biographer of Hollywood giants such as Jimmy Stewart and Burt Lancaster, Fishgall brings an actor's and director's understanding of the movie industry to "Gregory Peck." He takes readers behind the scenes of the star's numerous films, and he sets his story within the larger context of the changes and evolution of twentieth-century entertainment. The tale of an American classic, "Gregory Peck" is a compelling, intimate account of a full and fascinating life.

30 review for Gregory Peck: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angelina

    "And I'd like to be remembered by my wife as someone who's made her life as happy as she's made mine." dfkldkfldkf what a wonderful man i am so emo "And I'd like to be remembered by my wife as someone who's made her life as happy as she's made mine." dfkldkfldkf what a wonderful man i am so emo

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rayna

    Loved it simply because I love Gregory Peck.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    excellant book

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Zeck

    Disappointing review of Peck's life and film career. The writer's MO is for the most part chronological: he goes through the films, most of which are thoroughly forgettable, and quotes from actors and critics. Ho hum. There is little psychological insight into Peck, at least the kind that would guide a more enlightened thematic approach to the man and his work. I'm suggesting that the author might have been more aware of the psychological elements in Peck's life and career -- and used them to gu Disappointing review of Peck's life and film career. The writer's MO is for the most part chronological: he goes through the films, most of which are thoroughly forgettable, and quotes from actors and critics. Ho hum. There is little psychological insight into Peck, at least the kind that would guide a more enlightened thematic approach to the man and his work. I'm suggesting that the author might have been more aware of the psychological elements in Peck's life and career -- and used them to guide the structure and development of the book. If you don't know Peck's films well (I certainly don't), reading a lumbering series of reviews is hardly engaging. Yes, Peck was a private man, as Fishgall suggests. So how exactly did this privacy influence his choice of scripts and his relations with wives (he was married twice), other actors, and family? (In the case of the family, Fishgall discusses the suicide of Peck's oldest son in a few scant paragraphs, a throw-away in the middle of another boring recitation of film plots. And why would he have married his first wife, in his mid-20s, someone who had very little in common with him, as the marriage was to prove?)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    50/50 Book Quest category: Bonus (because this was a real joy for me to read; I have seen many of Gregory Peck's movies and understanding his life and the background behind the movies was a bonus). I did a little research on the best Gregory Peck biography to read, and this was the one I ultimately decided on. It was described as being fair and honest, and it did not disappoint. Author Gary Fishgall does a superb job of laying out the life of this great actor, from birth to childhood, college to 50/50 Book Quest category: Bonus (because this was a real joy for me to read; I have seen many of Gregory Peck's movies and understanding his life and the background behind the movies was a bonus). I did a little research on the best Gregory Peck biography to read, and this was the one I ultimately decided on. It was described as being fair and honest, and it did not disappoint. Author Gary Fishgall does a superb job of laying out the life of this great actor, from birth to childhood, college to Broadway to the silver screen, and finally to years of activism and t.v. roles. And it was all told with candor and honesty, well-researched and fairly portraying the great Gregory Peck. I must say I do love Mr. Peck quite a bit- tall, handsome, and that baritone voice!- and I found this biography an absolute delight! I gained so much insight into his life. He wasn't perfect, but he did his best in each endeavor he undertook, and was generally a quite upstanding man. I'll be watching every movie of his I can and with the background I have, will enjoy those films more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Stevenson

    My hero, Gregory Peck. It was great to learn his life story. The man is Atticus Finch, in heart and attitude and honor, although he is an actor not a lawyer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Not bad biography on this actor from his childhood up to about the year 2000. He had a strong work ethic and was honest and kind. I have always liked him but not all of his movies.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ní Bhríomhar

    I was so excited to read this but it really disappointed. Yes, there's heaps of information (more emphasis on his career) and it's easy to read, but it just didn't grab my attention and I honestly found reading it to be a chore. It's definitely not on my list of favourite biographies. I was so excited to read this but it really disappointed. Yes, there's heaps of information (more emphasis on his career) and it's easy to read, but it just didn't grab my attention and I honestly found reading it to be a chore. It's definitely not on my list of favourite biographies.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    I read this one year ago and still can remember large sections of it. There are two reasons for this: First, Gary Fishgall is one of the four best biographers around and he has experience and talent to back it up; the second reason is that Gregory Peck was one of the most articulate and noble men to ever grace the screen. I was enthralled by his level of dignity and honesty about himself. he is one of my top five favorite actors of all-time. BTW, James Stewart, John Wayne, Charlton Heston and Pa I read this one year ago and still can remember large sections of it. There are two reasons for this: First, Gary Fishgall is one of the four best biographers around and he has experience and talent to back it up; the second reason is that Gregory Peck was one of the most articulate and noble men to ever grace the screen. I was enthralled by his level of dignity and honesty about himself. he is one of my top five favorite actors of all-time. BTW, James Stewart, John Wayne, Charlton Heston and Paul Newman are the others. Have fun reading about this wonderful man and actor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Gregory Peck was an incredible man. He was not flashy or egomaniacal like so many other actors. His calm supportive presence during pictures was lauded by nearly all who worked with him. He tried to do what he believed was right nearly always. His bio was not always glowing with praise, but he does come off as noble as he appears on screen.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    I love Gregory Peck. Remember watching his movies as a child, and admiring how handsome he was and a great actor. I have the DVD of his Conversations with Gregory Peck, and there you see him as the person, with his loving family, and realize what a true Gentleman looks like. The book is great. I recommend it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    It was okay, it mainly focused on Peck's career. I'd only recommend it if you're a big Peck fan. It was okay, it mainly focused on Peck's career. I'd only recommend it if you're a big Peck fan.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    An easy read about a talented and charitable actor who conducted himself with dignity and integrity - Hollywood (and the rest of the world) could benefit from more people like him.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chrisanne

    3.5-- a little dense.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benedict Reid

    Good solid bio with a focus on the career rather than the man. However it lacked that spark which can make biographies great.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura Singleton

  17. 5 out of 5

    SweetLorraine

  18. 5 out of 5

    M. Merrill

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lachlan Hazelton

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Lauren

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lovell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauryn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Wilson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frank

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Kramer

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