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Bartlett Tribune and News (27/Aug/1944) - Looking at Hollywood: Gregory Peck




Looking at Hollywood: Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck is the hottest thing in town. Some say he is a second Gary Cooper. Actually he's the first Gregory Peck.

Critics went all out about him in "Days of Glory" — but not the picture.

He co-stars with Ingrid Bergman in "Spellbound," which Alfred Hitchcock directed. He's the only male star except Gary Cooper whom Ingrid Bergman has ever been able to look up to. Peck is 6 feet 2. This lanky young man has not been built up by desperate Hollywood Gregory Peck studios scurrying to alleviate the acute male shortage.

Greg was a pre-medical student at the University of California when he took part in a school production of "Anna Christie" and decided to give up medicine and become an actor. He got his first real break in the Katharine Cornell play "The Doctor's Dilemma." That decided him to become an actor. But before that he was a member of the Barter theater in Abingdon, Va.

He was a stroke on the Bear crew that rowed at Poughkeepsie in 1938.

Lowly Beginning

Peck's first professional experience in showmanship was as a barker on the Midway at the New York's World's fair.

In a contest he won a two-year scholarship to the New York Neighborhood Playhouse. Between semesters he won the Barter theater award.

Guthrie McClintic saw him in a Barter theater play and engaged him for the tour with "The Doctor's Dilemma."

Made his Broadway debut in "The Morning Star."

Played juvenile lead opposite Jane Cowl in "Punch and Julia."

Also played male lead opposite Martha Scott in "The Willow and I" and opposite Geraldine Fitzgerald in "Sons and Soldiers."

Received no less than a dozen motion picture offers before he accepted the RKO-Selznick contract.

Strictly Personal

Gregory Peck's wife, Greta Rice, is a non-professional.

He s modest, intelligent, and conservative. He is prouder of his small son than he is of star billing. He's a collector of "how to bring up babies" information. He boasts that he pins a mighty neat diaper on his young son.

Greg says that if as an actor he has to have a hobby, the help shortage has fortunately provided one for him. He is a pretty fair and passably energetic gardener.

Greta and Gregory Peck do very well without night clubs. Their favorite entertainment is visiting with half a dozen friends. Greg likes discussions — any subject.

He swims and rides, but his tennis is bad, and he's never mastered golf.

Behind the Scenes

Peck is a quick study. He learns a page of dialog merely by reading it through twice.

He always had stage fright at dress rehearsals. This tenseness lasts several days of shooting on each picture.

He doesn't believe the "hoity-toity" attitude stage actors have toward the screen is justified. For his money some of the best actors in the world are right in this town.

He's under the spell of Alfred Hitchcock. Says, "It's a privilege to work under his direction."

He'd like to do one rootin', tootin' western. His enjoyment of horseback riding has something to do with this ambition.

One Appearance

Greg's father was a druggist in San Diego. He'd always wished that he was a doctor. Greg had a great devotion to his father — still has. He decided that if his father thought doctoring was the ideal career, doctoring was for him.

At the University of California Greg studied medicine.

Then came the school production of "Anna Christie." With that ona appearance he discovered he really liked acting.

When he finished school he left for New York.

He applied for the job as a guide at Radio city. Then came his scholarship to the New York Neighborhood Playhouse, which was followed by the Barter theater award. And he was on his way up.