Spring 2011

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SNAPSHOT BY VALERIE YAROS November 20, 1970, Hollywood Palladium — Screen Actors Guild President Charlton Heston, left, congratulates Annual Award (now Life Achievement) recipient Gregory Peck. In center, applauding and smiling, is future Guild President Kathleen Nolan. GREGORY PECK: Movie Star, Humanitarian, Legend O 44 SCREEN ACTOR - Spring 2011 utside was chilly and rainy, and inside the unheated Hollywood Palladium on Sunday, February 27, 2000, it was scarcely warmer — but Gregory Peck was not deterred. He was almost 84 now, and used a cane to steady himself, but the Guild was kicking off a mass rally that aſternoon in support of the SAG/AFTRA negotiating team for the upcoming commercials contract, and he had promised to be there. When he passed away three-and-a- half years later, at age 87, the film industry lost not only one of its most beloved stars, but a dedicated humanitarian who worked to make the world a better place than when he entered it. Peck was signed to a film contract in Hollywood in 1943, aſter three short-run Broadway plays. Just two years later, he won a seat on the Guild’s Board of Directors, which he held from 1945 to 1947. When Screen Actors Guild bestowed its Annual Award (now Life Achievement) on him in 1970, he had already been awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1968 and, later that year, President Lyndon Johnson presented Peck with America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Guild President Charlton Heston praised Peck’s “good citizenship” activities, including chairmanship of the National and California State American Cancer Society and the Motion Picture Relief Fund building and endowment campaign. Peck thanked the Guild members and the board for his award, declaring that “the acting profession has already done so much for me that I have always wanted to do something in return.” Now, nearly eight years aſter his passing, Gregory Peck has been honored again: On April 28, 2011, he became the 17th film industry figure to join the U.S. Postal Service’s Legends of Hollywood series, which began in 1995 with Marilyn Monroe. This new stamp, leſt, depicts him in his Oscar-winning role as defense attorney and widowed father Atticus Finch in the 1962 drama To Kill a Mockingbird. Peck is the eighth Screen Actors Guild Board member or officer in the series, which previously honored Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Cary Grant, John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Bette Davis.

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