Passing of a Legend

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  • Gregory Peck passed away today. The story from Reuters can tell this better.

    By Steve Gorman and Arthur Spiegelman

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gregory Peck, one of the last great stars from Hollywood's golden era and a man who embodied on-screen heroism and dignity, died peacefully during the night at his home, his spokesman said on Thursday.

    He was 87 and his films included some of Hollywood's most memorable: "To Kill a Mockingbird," in which he played a white lawyer defending a black man, "Roman Holiday," the film that made Audrey Hepburn a star, 'Gentleman's Agreement," one of the first movies to confront the taboo subject of anti-Semitism, and Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound."

    Spokesman Monroe Friedman said Peck's French-born wife of 48 years, Veronique Passani Peck, was at his side when he died. "She told me he just died peacefully. She said she was holding his hand and he just closed his eyes and went to sleep and he was gone," Friedman told Reuters.

    His death came just days after the American Film Institute named his role as the idealistic Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" as the greatest movie hero of all time. The role earned Peck an Oscar for best actor in 1963.

    The tall, lean, square-jawed Peck began his film career in the 1940s and became Hollywood's symbol of moral strength and sincerity both on screen and off. At one point, Democrats tried to persuade him to run for governor of California -- a role that Republicans later succeeded in casting Ronald Reagan for.

    The California-born Peck, who once thought of becoming a priest, attended a military academy as a boy and his soldier-like bearing served him well in such roles as Captain Ahab of "Moby Dick," King David ("David and Bathsheba"), Gen. Douglas MacArthur ("MacArthur") and even Abraham Lincoln (television's "The Blue and the Gray").

    Duke and Peck never did a movie together. That would have been a great duo. Just though you'd like to know. Any thoughts of him will be fine to voice on this thread.

    Hondo B)


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • I have just watched Duel in the Sun, and wasn't he great as the spoiled yet charming western outlaw?

    I would have liked to see JW and Peck acting together. Have you ever noticed that director Henry Hathaway choose the same spot for Peck's scene in "How the West Was Won" - when he is working on a covered wagon with Debbie Reynolds and breaks into laughter because he got his hands dirty - as for the Fill you hands-scene with JW, 7 years later?

    That leaves just Kirk Douglas as one of the great male stars.

  • hi all,

    we heard this news on our news tonight and as we were talking about him and others before him my mum made a comment that there are no good actors in holliwood today as most of them today throw hissy fits if they don't get their way. she also said that if you look at the actors that are in "harry potter" you are looking at some of modern days finest. it is sad that another fine actor has dissappeared from the world today. just my and my mums thoughts on him.

    cheers smokey

    " its not all black and white, but different shades of grey"

  • It seems everytime we talk about one who leaves us as a legend another leaves us a few weeks later. This is a truly sad day to say good-bye to one who did act with the Duke. Katherine Hepburn passed away today at the age of 96. It seems she was a couple of weeks older than Duke. It's sad to say good-bye, but here goes what I found from Reuters news.

    You may pay your respects to her with any comments. Lets honor her with a great memory.


    News Line Story</span>

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Katharine Hepburn, who won an unequaled four best actress Oscars in a career that spanned five decades, has died at her home in Connecticut at the age of 96, police in her hometown said on Sunday.

    Hepburn, whose health had been in decline for some time and had not spoken for several days, passed away peacefully, said her brother-in-law Ellsworth Grant.

    "She's the greatest actress of her age and with her passing that whole galaxy of great movie stars has ended," Grant, who saw the screen legend shortly before she died, told Reuters.

    He said the cause of death was "simply complications from old age."

    Hepburn's executor, Cynthia McFadden, told reporters the actress died at 2:50 p.m. "surrounded by loved ones."

    "There will be no memorial service and her burial at a later date will be private... She died as she lived, with dignity and grace," McFadden said.

    Hepburn won her first Oscar in 1933 for "Morning Glory" and won again for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "The Lion in Winter" and "On Golden Pond." She was nominated for the award eight other times.

    Irreverent and feisty, Hepburn always spoke her mind. Her independent spirit made her a role model to many women, and she was voted America's most admired woman in a 1985 Ladies Home Journal survey.

    Hepburn also starred in film classics including "Little Women" and "The African Queen."

    Her last film was "Love Affair" with Warren Beatty, released in the early 1990s.

    Hepburn was called the first lady of American cinema. Her trademarks: high cheekbones, auburn hair and a voice redolent of her upper-class New England origins.

    "She is the person who put women in pants, literally and figuratively," her biographer, Christopher Andersen, told Reuters in 2000. "She is the greatest star, the greatest actress, that Hollywood has ever produced."

    "With the passing of Frank Sinatra, and the death of Jimmy Stewart, she really was the last of that breed of Hollywood royalty," Andersen said. "And she was by far the greatest."

    The actress did not escape criticism, however. Her performances were sometimes called cold, and it was of Hepburn that Dorothy Parker made her famous quip that she displayed "the gamut of emotions from A to B."

    Hepburn also starred in film classics including "Little Women," "The African Queen," "The Philadelphia Story," "A Bill of Divorcement," "Pat and Mike," "Adam's Rib," "State of the Union" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night."

    Her last film was "Love Affair" in 1994, in which she played Ginny, aunt of ex-football star Mike Gambril, played by Warren Beatty.

    She played opposite such leading men as James Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, <span style=\'color:red\'>John Wayne and Henry Fonda. But it is with Spencer Tracy that her name will be forever linked.

    Not only did she make nine films with Tracy, but for 27 years she was the "other woman" in his life. Tracy, a Roman Catholic, would not divorce his wife. Hepburn, in a 1991 interview with ABC television, said she loved Tracy but did not remember if he had ever told her he loved her.

    "We lived openly enough together," she said. "I certainly had no intention of breaking up his relationship with his wife."

    Hepburn said she first met Tracy's wife on the night he died in Hepburn's house and she called his family.

    In an interview four years before Tracy died, she said, "I have had 20 years of perfect companionship with a man among men. He is a rock and a protection. I've never regretted it."

    She had a 1930s affair with billionaire Howard Hughes, but recounted in her 1991 biography "Me" that she never loved him.

    Hartford, Connecticut, native Hepburn in late 1996 gave up the townhouse on New York's East 49th Street that she had kept since the 1930s. She retreated fulltime to the family mansion in Fenwick, an upper-class borough in Old Saybrook on Long Island Sound.

    "Giving up the townhouse was a difficult decision for her; it was very wrenching emotionally," said Andersen, author of the 1997 book "An Affair to Remember: The Remarkable Love Story of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy."

    Hepburn lived a quiet, reclusive life in Fenwick, and was rarely seen in public. Friends and relatives said she suffered from short-term memory loss, but it was not clear if she had Alzheimer's disease.

    Despite her carefully guarded privacy that fueled occasional speculation that she was seriously ill, Hepburn surprised the world in March of 2000 -- two months before her 93rd birthday -- when she told a New York newspaper she was feeling fine.

    "Tell everyone I am doing fine!" she told the New York Post in a rare interview published on March 10, 2000. "I am OK."

    Dressed in a purple jumpsuit and sitting by a roaring fire in her living room, the actress said she was still a big eater, enjoying homemade meals prepared by her cook.

    Hepburn was an amateur painter of some skill and her work decorated walls at the New York townhouse that she shared with Tracy and where she lived for over 60 years.

    Her career began an on the stage in the early 1930s, moved mainly to the screen and expanded to television in the 1980s.

    She once said, I find myself absolutely fascinating ... but I'm uncomplicated. When I'm supposed to talk, I talk. When I go to bed, I sleep. When I'm supposed to eat, I eat.

    But summarizing a Hepburn film retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, critic Kenneth Tynan countered: "She is not versatile. She is simply unique."

    She told The New York Times in an interview published in September 1991 that her screen and private personas hardly differed. "I had a very definite personality and I liked material that showed that personality," she said.

    Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born May 12, 1907, to an upper-class doctor's family in Hartford, Connecticut, but reference books listed her birthday as 2 1/2 years later, on Nov. 8, 1909.

    Later in life she admitted that she had lied about her age, telling The New York Times that she knocked two years off when she approached 30 and had adopted the November birth date of her elder brother Tom, who killed himself when she was 14.

    She discovered his body and, according to a recent biography of her by Barbara Leaming, Hepburn tried to become him, fulfilling his role as his father's favorite child.

    Hepburn was educated at home by tutors. She was a tomboy and at 15 cut her hair very short, wore pants and pretended to be a young man named Jimmy.

    Despite her masculine tendencies, rumors that Hepburn was bisexual or gay were not true, author Andersen said.

    Hepburn became interested in dramatics while attending college at Bryn Mawr, where she received a B.A. in 1928. After some summer stock success, she made her Broadway debut in a show called "Night Hostess." The show was short-lived but it led to other Broadway parts and to her first big stage success, "The Warrior's Husband," which brought her film offers.

    In 1933 she starred on screen in "Morning Glory," winning her first Academy Award for her portrayal of a stage-struck tomboy.

    She was married from 1928 to 1934 to Ludlow Ogden Smith, a wealthy Philadelphian, who changed his name to Ogden because she did not want to be known as Mrs. Smith. After the divorce she decided that "marriage was not a natural institution" and never remarried.

    Impatient with the films she was being forced to make for RKO Pictures, Hepburn bought out her contract for $220,000 in 1939 and returned to the stage where she starred as Tracy Lord in Philip Barry's 1939 comedy, "The Philadelphia Story."

    She also starred as a prim missionary in the 1951 film "The African Queen" with Humphrey Bogart and later wrote a book about her experiences on location in Africa with Bogart and director John Huston.



    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Many thanks for sharing this, Hondo. It saddens the heart. The great ones may be gone, but because of the legacy in film they left behind, they will never be forgotten. dukefan1

    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Another sad day.
    In her biography, "I" she shared her fond memories of working with JW, describing him, not unlike Eula Goodnight in that last scene of "Rooster Cogburn", as a very descent human being. She said he remembered her of Spence.

  • hi all,

    it is sad that we have run out of such fine actors who by todays standards would have won every oscar that they were put up for, like you said dukefan1 whilst their movies still survive they will never be forgotten. here's hoping that they are all up there having a good laugh and enjoying themselves.

    as we say in our family they come in 3's so who is next?

    cheers smokey

    " its not all black and white, but different shades of grey"

  • It is a sad time, there are VERY few left of that generation. :(

    I think the line by Cynthia McFadden says it all about Katherine Hepburn - "She died as she lived, with dignity and grace."

    Buddy Ebsen, 95, was mentioned in the news recently as being ill, so perhaps he will be 'number 3'. I know Kirk Douglas is still alive, and still making movies after a stroke in 1995 (he turned 86 in December). Bob Hope just turned 100 a month ago.

    There might be others, these are the ones I know of off the top of my head.


  • I have always been a huge fan of Hepburn's. I wish her and the Duke could have made more than one film together. I have several of her movies in my collection so I'll have to go home and watch a marathon of them to pay respect. The actors of today just don't seem to match up to the legendary status and style of ones from Hollywood's past.

  • Chester,

    I might add to your list:

    Maureen O'Hara (82)
    Laurne Bacall (78)
    Ernest Borgnine (86)
    Jack Parr (85)
    Mickey Rooney (82)
    Jane Russell (82)
    Peter Ustinov (82)
    Eddie Albert (95)
    Richard Widmark (88).

    Hondo B)


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Yes this is very sad of hearing about the passing of Katherine Hepburn. She was one of my favoite female actresses, along with Maureen O'Hara, Laurne Bacall. And I have to agree, it would have been nice to see Wayne and Hepburn make more movies together. They had their own chemistry that worked!

    This is sad

  • Nice list Hondo!

    But, I didn't realize however that Eddie Albert was still among the living!


  • Kevin,

    I doubled checked with imdb and the screen actor's guild sites, and he's still alive. He has not made any movie since 1995, but still alive. I wanted to make sure. I didn't think he passed away this year, but I could have missed it.

    Hondo B)


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • This may be the third of three, Smokey. I just heard that Buddy Hackett passed away. While he was not a movie star, he was one of the greats in my book. A funny man who could do both adult humor and humor for the kids. He will be missed also. dukefan1

    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Counting one-two-three, I already have counted in Horst Buchholz (from the Mag 7 fame). He was probably more popular over here than in the English speaking world. Buchholz lived most of his time in a winter resort of Switzerland, actually not too far away from where I live, and I kept telling myself, one day I'm gonna look him up (a friend of mine did, and Buchholz was quite friendly) - and now I never did. Anyway, when he passed away, we already asked ourselves the (respectful) who's-next-question over here.

  • When Mr Peck passed away I felt a big loss. I always think of "to Kill a Mockingbird" more than a western.

    Tulalip Wa

  • to one and all,

    the passing of bob hope is a sad time for us all as who will now enertain the troops when they are far from home. i said these things happen in threes so in the last few months we have lost three of the greats who have no modern actor/ress to replace them as they were fine people. they are as my son says waiting for their wings to become angles may they all have a wonderful time together.

    cheers smokey and little smokey

    " its not all black and white, but different shades of grey"

  • I believe Harry Carey jnr is still with us, but the decreasing list should also include Lyle Bettger on of Universals baddest bad men who died on the 24th September

    Arthur Arnell

    Walk Tall - Talk Low