Gregory Peck was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. He was nominated for five Academy Awards (he won for To Kill a Mockingbird) and numerous Golden Globes. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other honors too numerous to mention. That said, it appears that Peck knew something about tough times on the journey to success.
He grew up in a broken home, with his parents separating when he was three. Upon their split, he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother. His recollections of his younger years were of an unstable childhood with one of the only bright spots being his “dog that followed him everywhere!” At ten, he was sent away, on his own, to military school. Shortly afterwards, he was informed that his devoted grandmother had died.
A few years later, he went to University of California, Berkley. He could barely pay the annual tuition of $26 and frequently worked in a sorority house kitchen for no pay except food. One course short of graduating, Peck elected to chase his dream of becoming an actor.So he headed off to New York City with not much more than the clothes on his back. Still in dire financial straits, with no help from either parent, Peck regularly slept in Central Park and, again, took work for food.
And despite personal setbacks (including his eldest son’s death in 1975), Peck managed to maintain his very successful acting career well into the 1990’s.
Born exactly 104 years ago this month, Gregory Peck certainly knew what tough times looked like. But I wonder if he would have guessed that tough times were also going to be defined as the entire world being shuttered because of a virus that is 125 billionths of a meter in size! My guess is that Peck would “tough it out” and do what he had to do to succeed – even if it meant sleeping in Central Park!