Gregory Peck stories

Gregory Peck was once asked what he wanted to be remembered as. His reply, “A good storyteller.”

The other day TNC (Turner Classic Movies channel) had a Gregory Peck festival, and played one of my favorite flicks, To Kill A Mockingbird, a story by Harper Lee. It has held up well over the years. Scout (Mary Badham) is as charming as ever.

To fill spaces between features, TNC often uses related documentaries. This time they had a hour-and-a-half doc filmed around 1998-99, when Gregory Peck took a nostalgic, one-man show to theaters around the world, playing to full houses. At 83 then, he presented an impressive, stately, white-haired, bearded figure.

When asked about working with Audrey Hepburn, who was just beginning her career ca. 1960, he told a story about when they filmed Roman Holiday. As he was on the way to Rome for location shooting, he stopped off in Paris where he was interviewed by a reporter, Veronique.

After the month’s shoot in Italy, he had some time to kill before his next assignment in Germany, so he flew to Paris, called up the newspaper and asked for Veronique.

“Who shall I say…?”

“Gregory Peck.”

Over the paging system he could hear, “Veronique, Gregory Peck calling.” He heard the click of her heels as she came to the phone.

Could he see her for lunch? There was a long pause. But asked again, and she reluctantly accepted. During lunch, he asked why she had hesitated. She said, “A scheduling conflict. I had an interview planned and had to cancel it.”

“I am sorry. Nobody important, I hope?”

“Albert Schweitzer at Jean Paul Sartre’s house.”

In the documentary, after relating that tale, Peck stood up and said, “I’d now like you to meet my wife of 40 years, Veronique,” who joined him on stage.

Another person introduced to the contemporary audience was Mary Badham; they had remained friends since she was little Scout.

The documentary crew and his family followed him as he toured. His daughter was visibly pregnant, and they discussed naming the kid. A few months later, we are in the delivery room. The new arrival’s name is Harper Daniel Peck.

Obviously, To Kill a Mockingbird was still a big part of his life.

RIP, Gregory Peck (1916-2003). :frowning:

I remember a story Gregory Peck told about the filing of To Kill A Mockingbird, but I can’t remember if it was on television or on the radio.

He said that Harper Lee was watching them film a scene one day, and he noticed that she was in tears. He thought, “Boy, I’m the world’s greatest actor. I’m just tearing her apart.”

After the scene he went to her and asked why she was crying. She said, “Oh, Mistah Peck, you’ve got a little pot belly just like my daddy’s!”

Apparently the documentary I saw is A Conversation with Gregory Peck, available on video. The cast list includes Bill & Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, and Jacques Chirac, although those are only cameos, of course.

And yes, the potbelly story is included, pugluvr!

Yes, but! You’re missing the punch line to this (my personal favorite Peck story):

Peck replied sternly, “That is NOT a pot belly, Harper. That is great acting.”

I taped that show! I wish I could have seen him when he was doing this-he was touring, doing these shows.

I liked the story he told about how he thought Audrey should share top billing with him in Roman Holiday. And the people who were in charge and his agent said, “You’re crazy, YOU are the big star, she’s a nobody, what are you doing?”

And he said, (paraphrased), “If you don’t do it, I’m gonna look like a damned fool. SHE’S the star of this picture, not me. And mark my words-she’ll win an Oscar for this role.”

And guess who won the Oscar for Best Actress at the next Academy Awards? :wink:

And then there was another story, years later, that I read in Barry Peris’s biography of Hepburn. When she was dying of colon cancer, she wished to return to her home in Switzerland, and spend her last days there. Well, before she left, she and her partner, Rob Wolders, went to visit the Pecks, because she had always remained close to Greg and Veronique. A reporter followed them and as he was getting out of the fan, Greg himself came out and read the guy the riot act and told him to get the hell off of his property before he called the police.

I love Gregory Peck. :smiley: He is missed greatly. We need more people like him.

He told a story on that show about when he was doing the mini-series “MacArthur” (or however you spell it) about the famous General.

At the time he and his wife were shopping for a new home. In the middle of the production one day she called him and said, “I think I’ve found the perfect house, you need to come see it right away, someone else is also interested in it!”

Wearing his full MacArthur makeup and still in character, he takes a limo over to the house, gets out of the car, takes a glance around the place and says:

“Buy it!”

Gets in the limo and drives off. Classic!!

I watched TKAM the other day and, as usual, bawled like a baby at the end, especially where Atticus shakes Boo Radley’s hand and says, “Thank you for my children”.

Oh, and then there was the time when he was dressed up as Mengele for Boys From Brazil, and he was in an elevator with two other people.

As they got out, they were whispering to each other, “Did you get a lot of that creepy guy in the elevator?”

“a LOAD” Did you get a LOAD of that creepy guy.