From: The Honorable Juan Vargas
Sent By: lumir.lapray@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/3/2016

Dear Colleague:

Please join the entire bipartisan San Diego Delegation as an original cosponsor of legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Academy Award winning actor, Gregory Peck in recognition of his cinematic achievements, contributions to American culture, and advocacy for civil rights. Mr. Peck was a highly successful entertainer, a prominent public servant, a devoted father and grandfather, an individual with strikingly irreplaceable character that made him one of the most popular figures in cinematic history.

Born in La Jolla, California on April 5, 1916, Mr. Peck briefly attended the San Diego State Teacher’s College, now known as San Diego State University. He began his career in entertainment after finishing his degree at the University of California, Berkeley.  Shortly thereafter, Mr. Peck earned a scholarship to attend the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and made his Broadway debut in 1942.

Mr. Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, a character that he considered closest to his own heart and once expressed: “I put everything I have into it – all my feelings and everything I’d learned in 46 years of living, about family and my feelings about justice and inequality.”   He has also been the recipient of countless cinematic honors among them: the George Eastman Award for his distinguished contribution to the art of film and the Screen Actors Guild award for “outstanding achievement in fostering the ideals of the acting profession.”

Mr. Peck has also received numerous honors outside of the world of cinema, including: the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for public service, the Presidential Medal of Freedom honored by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1969, and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1989.  He served as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1967 to 1970, Founding Chairman of the American Film Institute, and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society for which he raised record-breaking contributions.

Mr. Peck was a well-known peace advocate and pioneer for civil rights who championed films that highlighted these issues.  He was also a devout Catholic who spoke of faith as providing “an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.”  Aligned with his civic work, he founded the La Jolla Playhouse in 1947, a nonprofit professional theater company, and was an active and avid supporter for the rest of his life.

Mr. Peck passed away on June 12, 2003, in Los Angeles at the age of 87, leaving behind a legacy of cinematic achievement and as a champion for civil rights.

To cosponsor this legislation, please contact Scott Hinkle at Scott.Hinkle@mail.house.gov or x58045.  Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

JUAN VARGAS                                  DARRELL ISSA                                  SUSAN DAVIS

Member of Congress                           Member of Congress                           Member of Congress

        DUNCAN HUNTER                                SCOTT PETERS

         Member of Congress                               Member of Congress