Maybe it sparked when he was Atticus Finch, or as Captain Ahab. (I thought the scar made by the white whale was sexy even before I knew what sexy was.)
Perhaps, it was in his role as the stalwart Mallory in the “Guns of Navarone.” Or as Captain Newman or as writer Phil Green in “Gentleman’s Agreement.”
But I will bet a bag of popcorn I really developed my crush when he played Captain Horatio Hornblower in the movie of the same name. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, he was dashing, romantic, and smart. How I wished I was Virgina Mayo in that movie, except with dark hair and eyes.
So what has all this little girl crush stuff have to do with writing you may ask?
As a shy kid, old movies were my refuge and from them, I learned to become excited by stories, all kinds of stories. Stories I would never had heard of had it not been for Gregory Peck.
I didn’t even know who the heck Napoleon was, except that he was famous and had to be defeated. And I realized that it is the lesser known warriors who often fall in death in such conflicts.
I learned about prejudice against Jewish people in “Gentleman’s Agreement.”
How much of a toll there is upon the people who take such risks in war in “Guns of Navarone” and “Captain Newman, M.D.”
I learned about the cost of obsession in “Moby Dick.”
And of course, about prejudice, honesty and tolerance in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
With such a wide range of stories before me, it inspired me even more to tell my own stories. I also was inspired by my family who loved to tell them.
When Gregoy Peck died in 2003, I did mourn– almost for the loss of a first love. It was not an unrequited love because he gave me so many good stories in return. Those I will remember, along with the awesome sight of Capt. Hornblower on the deck of his ship sailing ahead into an adventure I was sure to follow.