Gregory Peck began his journey in life in 1916 with the name Eldred. Like a lot of people he used the name given to him by his parents until he moved away in his early 20′s. I don’t know what it is about those college years, but it seems to inspire more than just higher education, it can also be a time for some to shed youthful monikers. Mikey becomes Mike, Candy becomes Candace, etc.
Peck earned a BA in English from Berkely, headed off to New York city, and shed that childhood name. “I never liked the name Eldred. Since nobody knew me in New York, I just changed to my middle name,” said Peck.
A combination of talent, looks, and a good name (I had to throw that last one in), led him to one of the most successful acting careers in the US. With all the famous roles throughout the years, he still considered Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird his favorite. “Hardly a day passes that I don’t think how lucky I was to be cast in that film,” Peck said in 1997 . “I recently sat at a dinner next to a woman who saw it when she was 14 years old, and she said it changed her life. I hear things like that all the time.”
Peck died in 2003. Brock Peters who played Tom Robinson in the Mockingbird movie spoke about Peck at his funeral. He said that “Atticus Finch gave him [Peck] an opportunity to play himself.”
He had a career studded with accomplishments from Academy Awards to the National Medal of Arts. I like to believe his name was just one part of that successful career.