November 30, 2005

Gregory Peck’s Hollywood star reborn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gregory Peck's star was reborn on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday after the original was
cut out and stolen by someone with a cement saw and "very good
taste," as one official said.

A replacement of the world famous pink star set in a black
square was unveiled on Hollywood Boulevard by Hollywood's
honorary mayor, Johnny Grant, who appealed for the original to
be returned.

Grant, a former radio and TV star who is now chairman of
the Hollywood Historic Trust, said the star that had honored
Peck for more than 40 years had disappeared sometime in the
last two weeks.

"It was somebody who knew how to use a cement saw and was
probably dressed as a construction worker," Grant said.
"Whoever it was had very good taste."

"You know now you can't sell it," Grant said in a message
to the mystery thief. "This has become a worldwide story. If
you'll just bring it back and leave it right here, I'll forget
the whole thing happened."

Peck's star is the fourth to be stolen since the Walk of
Fame honoring film, TV and radio celebrities was begun along a
stretch of Hollywood Boulevard in 1960. Those of Gene Autry,
Jimmy Stewart and Kirk Douglas all disappeared during
construction projects several years ago.

There are more than 2,000 show business figures with stars
on the Walk of Fame which snakes across Hollywood Boulevard as
a major tourist attraction.

Peck, who died in 2003 at the age of 87, was one of
Hollywood's best-loved stars, known for his quietly heroic
roles. He won an Oscar for his performance as lawyer Atticus
Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and appeared in "Roman
Holiday" and "The Guns of Navarone."

Police have been notified and are investigating the theft.