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Hollywood great Peck dies at 87.

GREGORY Peck, who embodied saintly fatherhood in To Kill a Mockingbird and played a range of real-life figures from Abraham Lincoln to Josef Mengele, has died aged 87.

With his wife of 48 years, Veronique,at his side,Peck died around 4 am local time yesterday at his Los Angeles home.

Though he played a handful of villains, including Nazi doctor Mengele in The Boys From Brazil,Peck was best known for upright, chivalrous characters in Roman Holiday and Gentleman's Agreement or stalwart heroes in Captain Horatio Hornblower and Pork Chop Hill.

Nominated for Academy Awards four times early in his career, Peck finally won the best-actor honour with his fifth and final nomination for To Kill a Mockingbird.

The 1962 classic was based on Harper Lee's novel about widowed lawyer Atticus Finch, who is raising two children amid Southern racial unrest as he defends a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

Kirk Douglas said: ``Gregory Peck was unique. He represents integrity, compassion and honesty.''

Steven Spielberg said Peck's ``legacy not only lies in his films, but in the dignified, decent and moral way in which he worked and lived.''

Peck's portayal of Finch earned his final Hollywood honour,placing him No 1 last week on the American Film Institute's list of top 50 heroes in US movies.

CAPTION(S):

CLASS ACT: Gregory Peck and his wife Veroniquecame to Aintree in the 1960s to see his horse Different Class run in the Grand National steeplechase
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 13, 2003
Words:248
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