Gregory Peck’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” specs shine on a stamp, and in a fundraiser for the Los Angeles Public Library
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It’s been 50 years since Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1963, Gregory Peck won his first Academy Award for his portrayal of lawyer Atticus Finch, in the movie adaptation released the previous year. To honor the late Peck, who passed away in 2003, the United States Post Office is issuing a stamp bearing Peck’s likeness as the bespectacled Depression-era civil rights lawyer Finch as part of its ‘Legends of Hollywood’ series on April 28.
And Oliver Peoples in partnership with Peck’s son, Anthony Peck, will issue a limited edition of copycat frames with proceeds going in part to benefit the beleagured Los Angeles Public Library, which has had to lay off staff and close all 73 branches on Mondays and Sundays.
Anthony Peck took the original pair of ‘Mockingbird’ eyeglasses to Dennis Leight, a design consultant for Oliver Peoples and brother to founder Larry Leight, to set the wheels for the fundraiser in motion. The frames will be priced at $315 and will be available at Oliver Peoples boutiques and select stores worldwide in May.
A company spokesman couldn’t say to say exactly what percentage of the sale price will go to the library, but the Peck family have been supporters of the public institution for nearly two decades. In 1994, the elder Peck initiated the Gregory Peck Reading Series at Downtown’s Central Library. Actors, who have read in the program, include Kevin Spacey, Mark Ruffalo, Shirley Maclaine, Morgan Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Gabriel Byrne and Sharon Stone. On April 28, Stone will be the master of ceremonies at the First Day of Issue ceremony for the commemorative stamp, hosted by the Peck family, Motion Picture Assn. of America head Christopher Dodd, Laura Dern and Morgan Freeman at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.
In 1998, Peck wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times in support of a city library bond proposition: ‘Since people first began writing down their stories nearly 7,000 years ago, we have needed libraries. The story of who we are is contained in all its amazing variety in the library, and we are fortunate in Los Angeles to have a place of public greatness where this complex, rich and varied story can continue to be told, read and heard.’
Anthony Peck is particularly fond of his father’s tortoishells specs. ‘They always represented to me the character he played and that’s who he was,’ he said via phone from Palm Springs. ‘Harper Lee had a great quote, ‘The role of Atticus Finch gave Gregory Peck the chance to play himself.’'
-- Max Padilla