- He was almost Batman. Orson Welles wanted to make a Batman movie with Peck as Bruce Wayne. It just never happened.
- His earliest movie memory is watching The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and being so scared that his grandmother let him sleep with her that night.
- He was a close friend to Michael Jackson, US president Lyndon Johnson, and his TKAM co-star, Mary Badham. After the movie was made and until the day he died Badham would always call him Atticus and he would call her Scout.
- He has chaired the American Film Institute, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, and The American Cancer Society (and trust me, there are many more).
- When the Chrysler Corporation was in financial straits in 1980, Peck was worried about the 600,000 people whose jobs were hanging in the balance. So he volunteered to be their celebrity spokesperson for free.
- He was almost Indiana Jones’ dad in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He wasn’t the first choice (Connery was), but if Harrison Ford had made the decision…
- Along with James Stewart, Kirk Douglas and Gene Autrey, his “Hollywood Walk of Fame” star was stolen and later replaced with a new one.
- He was not only liberal in his political beliefs and activities, he was also brought before the McCarthy “fact finding committee” that was hunting for communists and even made an appearance on Richard Nixon’s infamous “List of Enemies.”
- He was almost Grandpa Joe in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Unfortunately he died before he could give the producer an answer.
- When shooting Roman Holiday, he insisted that Audrey Hepburn be given top billing (as opposed to being given “introducing” status in the credits) because he thought this movie would make her a star. He was right. In fact, she won the Oscar for best actress for that role.
- He holds the #12 spot on AFI’s 50 Greatest Screen Legends list. But more notably in my mind is that on their list of greatest screen heroes, his Atticus Finch character from TKAM was voted #1, beating out the likes of Indiana Jones, Superman, Han Solo, and the Terminator.
- He was a career-long humanitarian fighting for causes like AIDS research, cancer research, and others. In 1967 he was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
- He was almost president. He was approached to play the US President in The Contender (2000), but he declined claiming he was “too damn old.”
- He marched with Martin Luther King.
- His favourite of his own movies was:
Congratulations To Kill A Mockingbird. Once again, this is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Collin Wilcox Paxton. So this name probably seems to come out of nowhere, but she played Mayella Ewell in TKAM. It’s one of the greatest movies in history (don’t take my word for it… read any respectable “great movies” list and see for yourself) and her performance was definitely part of making it so. Small role, but memorable and impacting.
Best Actor: Aside from Peck, I think I’d like to go with Alfalfa. Can’t remember his real name, but the Little Rascals star was in It’s a Wonderful Life. It was a neat surprise to see him the first time watching it.
Best quote: “Buon giorno, Principessa!” – Guido, Life is Beautiful
Little known fact, my sister and I used to wrestle in the living room and watch WWF back in the 80’s. We were both partial to Bret Hart and Roddy Piper. We also had our own wrestling names, hence the Japanese Wonder reference. Happy Birthday Lisa.