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Gregory Peck Accepts the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1989



I had a good friend sensitive and precise actor James Mason and James didn't have a whole lot of jokes but he had he had one that he liked to tell and it had to do with his filming in Dublin and going out for a breath of air and window shopping one evening along the streets of Dublin after a while he noticed that a little lady seemed to be trailing him and after quite a time she she mustered up the courage to come and tap him on the shoulder and and what she said was beggin your pardon sir but wouldn't you be James and Mason in his later years well it's a nice Irish phrase later years its candid it's accurate its dispassionate but it's comfortable allowing for the possibility of more to come I cannot tell you how honored and pleased I am that you all came and and how proud I am that my name will go alongside those previous winners of this award people whom I've admired and respected and learned from I'm still trying to figure out how I got here probably it began with my first job on Broadway I'd been training for two years at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the teaching of Sanford Meisner and we ended our two years with what was called a demonstration play and directors and producers and people of the theater were invited to come and watch us do our stuff in the next morning it was the custom for the students to go back to the Playhouse to see if anyone would call well the phone rang and the receptionist picked it up and she listened and she covered the speaker and she looked at me and she said it's for you said Katherine McClintock is casting a small role in GB Shores the doctors dilemma with the great Katharine Cornell and he's looking at young fellows well by that time I was halfway down the stairs I knew where the office was I'd left my eight-by-tens there I ran down the stairs I ran half a block west to sixth Avenue I sprinted four blocks up to 50th Street I slid into the lobby of the RKO building into an open elevator up to the eighth floor ran down the hall Saturday morning the door was open no reception there was McClintock still talking on the phone to the reception and he saw me and he started to laugh and he was one of those lappers who segues into a cough of laughing and coughing and red in the face looking at me and he literally slid off of his chair onto the floor and he said you've got the job along the way the associations have been so rewarding working with Lionel and Ethel Barrymore Charles Laughton Edward G Robinson and Walter Huston was exciting here was the kid from La Hoya working with legendary artists and enormous skill and outsized personalities Ethel talked to me about boxing and the New York Giants Eddie Robinson talked about great painters I worked with some great performers who became great friends some are gone like Fred Astaire and Jack Benny and David Niven what a joy it was to work with Larry Olivier he's a prince and Tony Quinn he's a formidable actor and you have to step lively to stay on the screen with Tony dear Audrey Betty Jennifer jane fonda Angie Dickinson Dorothy McGuire I thank you all the directors Henry King Raoul Walsh Willie Wyler Bill Wellman King Vidor Vincente Minnelli and all the others I owe them so much not everything but a lot they've been a lot of glamorous financial news in the papers lately multi media conglomerates billions of dollars in assets and much more such mergers are to come or so we are told well I would like to hear some glamorous talk about elevating the quality of films and television entertainment that in the words of TS Eliot enlarges the sympathies that stimulates the mind and the spirit that warms the heart punctures the balloons of hypocrisy greed and sham tickles the funny bone and leaves us with a glow that comes when we have been well entertained making millions is not the whole ballgame soulless pride of workmanship is worth more artistry is worth more the human imagination is a priceless resource the public is ready for the best you can give them it just may be that you can make a buck and at the same time encourage Foster and commissioned work of quality and originality and finally I come to the most important thing without my wife Veronique and my family I wouldn't be here and if I were without them it wouldn't have any meaning I hope I've been strong for them when they needed me Steve Garry Anthony you held me up at a time when I was sorely in need of your support and we all know that we'll all be there for each other Cecilia I'll always remember what you said up here tonight Veronique you're the one girl for me I'm not going to embarrass you by choking and telling you on national TV how much I love you at least I think I'm not but I'll see you later heartfelt thanks to the AFI and all of my dear friends and colleagues who spoke for me tonight I'm deeply grateful special thanks to Audrey and thank you all

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Comments
  • Gregory Peck was a fine human being a true gentleman and a talented actor. An elegant, beautiful man.

  • In my opinion he was the most handsome n 1 of the greatest superstars gracing ever the Hollywood screen. The vacuum caused by his death shall never b filled.

  • Yeah but when he says “RKO”
    building at 3:20 i just imagine a builiding with Randy Orton running around giving people RKOs… from outta nowhere… 🤭

  • Mar 28, 2019 ~ If he chose to, I bet he could have been President and a fine one. So Many of those times were gentle man as well as damn good illusionist. I arrived on this beautiful Blue Planet in 1944// I've seen a lot of history and great leaders. I love America: Let's all preserve it for the American Dream That some of us have taken for granted. MAGA

  • I just recently pulled my Blu-ray out and watched this speech. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' has ALWAYS been one of my favorite films. I loved the book, too. But this is about Mr Peck. I grew up watching him in movies….yet, it is his role as Atticus Finch that always comes to mind when I think of how a man should act. To care about people, regardless of skin color or financial stability.

    Mr Peck says something during this speech that rings SO VERY TRUE in MY personal thoughts about today's "entertainment" world:
    "I would like hear some glamorous talks about elevating the QUALITY of films and television.'

    It simply isn't happening. Films and television have become too smutty and ridiculous that I can't bear to watch them. It takes something special to make me watch it. No slash/horror; no sex-for-sex's sake BS and if someone says a swear word, it has to be in a proper situation….not just calling someone a M-F'er just because it seems to be the norm in the world today. I really can't SEE a situation where someone NEEDS to call someone else a motherf***er….much less any of the multitude of other foul words, or the mere USE of such language.

    AM I old fashioned? Yep. Do I think I'm wrong? Nope. But I guess that's just me.

  • Talento e beleza , fugindo de atores canastrões que se destacaram por porte físico.Na minha opinião junto com Gary Cooper os melhores.

  • Having had the opportunity to meet Gregory Peck, I can say without the slightest hesitation, he was everything he appeared to be:
    a lovely, kind, considerate man who recognized his own good luck and had great concern for those
    less fortunate. Some of his best: THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT, TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, THE GUNFIGHTER, THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, MACARTHUR.

  • I loved him in To Kill a Mockingbird & so many other movies – truly, one of a kind & so handsome!!!

  • When I first saw Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, I thought he was from Ireland, judging by his voice. Come to find out, he was from La Jolla, California, I'm like, wow, he's American? Nonetheless, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the greatest movies of all time, and Gregory Peck was awesome as Atticus Finch.

  • Gregory Peck is a true gentleman, he is my favorite actor since I first time saw "Roman Holiday". My other favorite movie is "To kill a Mockingbird" with him. Where/how can I watch the entire AFI ceremony?

  • Gregory Peck – The "actor's Actor." Distinguished, versatile, renowned, a true gentleman.
    I will always remember his portrayals of "Atticus Finch" and "Captain Ahab."

  • Imagine my utter shock to discover that when I made a list of my Top Ten Favorite Movies, Gregory Peck was in SIX OF THEM. There is no other Hollywood actor who has captured my heart and imagination like this great man. Your work will live on forever.

  • Beautifull video……………..One of the best actor in mind and spirit. RIP……….there will be no one like you any more.

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