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The 5 Roles That Defined Gregory Peck's Career

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 06:39 PM

Film fans most often identify legendary actor Gregory Peck with "To Kill a Mockingbird," a film that drifted back into the public consciousness again with the recent revelation that Harper Lee would finally be releasing a follow-up to the novel that inspired the classic film.

Truth be told, Peck was well established years before the release of "Mockingbird" in 1963, and played several notable roles before his death in 2003 at the age of 87.

Here's a look at the five roles that helped define Peck's career, in chronological order:

1. Phillip Schulyer, "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)

Peck earned the third of his five Oscar nominations for Best Actor for playing Phillip Schulyer Green, a reporter who is awakened to the cruelties of anti-Semitism when he pretends to be Jewish in order to write a story about the bigotry against Jews in U.S.

2. Captain Ahab, "Moby Dick" (1956)

Peck starred in the iconic role of Captain Ahab in director John Huston's big-screen interpretation of Herman Melville's literary classic.

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The film chronicles Ahab's fatal obsession with the great white whale that claimed his leg. Peck set sail with the story one more time, appearing in his final acting role as Father Mapple in the 1998 TV miniseries version of "Moby Dick," which starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab.

3. Sam Bowden, "Cape Fear" (1962)

Peck starred opposite Robert Mitchum in this classic thriller about lawyer and family man Sam Bowden (Peck), who is tormented by an ex-con (Mitchum) he helped imprison.

Director Martin Scorsese paid homage to Peck and Mitchum in 1991 by casting them in his "Cape Fear" remake, which starred Nick Nolte and Robert DeNiro in the lawyer and ex-con roles, respectively. Scorsese's "Cape Fear" marked Peck's last feature film appearance.

4. Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1963)

After four previous tries in the category, Peck won his first and only Academy Award for Best Actor for playing Atticus Finch, an attorney a judge appointed to represent Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of raping a young white woman (Collin Wilcox). The film was also about racial tensions in an Alabama town in the early 1930s.

Finch beat out the likes of Indiana Jones, James Bond and "Casablanca's" Rick Blaine to take the No. 1 "Heroes" slot in the American Film Institute's list of "100 Greatest Heroes and Villains" in 2003.


5. Robert Thorn, "The Omen" (1973)

In a rare venture into the horror film genre, Peck plays U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Robert Thorn, who, along with his wife Katherine (Lee Remick), agree to raise the infant of a woman who died in childbirth. As the boy, Damien (Harvey Stephens), begins to grow, Thorn believes the child may be the Antichrist.

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Film fans most often identify legendary actor Gregory Peck with his Atticus Finch role in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Truth be told, Peck was well established years before its release in 1963, and played several notable roles before his death in 2003 at the age of 87.
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