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Gregory Peck's Sweet-and-Sour Short Ribs

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson


Frugal Celebrities Recipes

Lean, tall (he was 6' 3"), and handsome, actor Gregory Peck played courageous, straight-arrow heroes in many film dramas, westerns, and romances. Born in La Jolla, California in 1916, Peck graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1939, then headed east for a career on the stage. He had satisfactory success in the theater, so he tried his hand at films in 1944. Peck's early film roles included The Keys to the Kingdom in 1944, for which he received an Oscar nomination; Alfred Hitchcock's classic Spellbound, opposite Ingrid Bergman; The Yearling (1946, earned Oscar nomination); the controversial Gentleman's Agreement (1947, Oscar nomination); Twelve O'Clock High (1949, earned Oscar nomination); Roman Holiday (1953) opposite Audrey Hepburn; the post-nuclear thriller On the Beach (1959); and in a co-starring role in the 1961 box office hit, The Guns of Navarone.

During the latter 1960s and 1970s, Peck's roles were less memorable, until he was cast in the 1976 thriller/horror hit film The Omen, opposite Lee Remick, and in 1978's creepy The Boys from Brazil, opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. He played Abraham Lincoln in the 1982 TV miniseries The Blue and the Gray and Ambrose Bierce in the 1989 film Old Gringo, opposite Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits.

Likely his most memorable role, Peck played Atticus Finch, the lawyer in Harper Lee's 1962 Southern courtroom drama, To Kill a Mockingbird. He won a deserved Oscar and Golden Globe for the role. In 1989, he was given a special award at the Cannes Film Festival for his contribution to films. For his supporting (and final acting) role as Father Mapple in the 1998 TV film Moby Dick, he was awarded a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. In addition, through out his career, he received many international awards. Because of his many roles in Westerns, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1979. Peck was named the #12 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute.

Driven early in his career to accept only intelligent, noble roles (which he managed to do with almost all his roles, until his later years), Peck was a great humanitarian in real life and championed many causes, including the American Cancer Society. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1965 (given to him by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson) and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1967. He was quoted as saying, "I'm not a do-gooder. It embarrassed me to be classified as a humanitarian. I simply take part in activities that I believe in."

Sadly, in 1975, Peck's oldest son, Jon, committed suicide. An unusual note here, Peck was a close friend of Michael Jackson's for the last 25 years of his life, and often went horseback riding with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch. Peck passed away of natural causes at age 87 in 2003. A beloved figure in Hollywood, church officials estimated the number of mourners at his funeral to be 3,000.

This recipe of Gregory Peck's for sweet-and-sour short ribs was published in a 1960's cookbook, Kings in the Kitchen, Favorite Recipes of Famous Men, a compilation of famous men's favorite recipes. It's simple, very tasty, and inexpensive to make, if you can find short ribs on sale.


Gregory Peck's Sweet-and-Sour Short Ribs


Brown short ribs in fat with diced onion.

Blend all other ingredients in mixing bowl, and pour over browned short ribs.

Cover and bake about 1-1/2 hours, or until tender, at 325 to 350 deg. F.

Serves 6 to 8.


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Sources:, "Gregory Peck," (
Booth, Gertrude, Kings in the Kitchen, Favorite Recipes of Famous Men, A.S. Barnes and Company, Inc., New York, 1961.
Internet Movie Database (