Hollywood stars and world leaders have been paying their respects to legendary actor GREGORY PECK - who died on Wednesday night (11/12JUN03), aged 87.

Some of the globe's most powerful individuals have been lining up to pay tribute to the OSCAR-winning star of cinema classics like TO KILL A MOCKING Bird and CAPE FEAR, following his peacefully passing at his Los Angeles home with wife VERONIQUE at his bedside.

French president JACQUES CHIRAC - who was joined by Peck at the opening of the 1998 WORLD CUP soccer contest in France - paid tribute to the actor's "exceptional culture".

He added, "Gregory Peck was not only an American film giant whom we admired, he was a man of exceptional culture, a man with a heart who was attentive to others and deeply concerned about world events."

Veteran screen favourite Charlton Heston, who co-starred with Peck in 1958 romance THE BIG COUNTRY, describes him as "one of those few great actors of generosity, humour, toughness and spirit", adding the actor "faced life's challenges with great vigour and courage".

And actress Anjelica Huston hailed Peck's personality, calling the star "a complete gentleman, kind, dignified, proper, without ever being stiff, fun, a great conversationalist, someone who I respected ever so much".

As well as his Hollywood career, the actor was well-known for his liberal causes, and was an outspoken civil rights activist in the 1960s.

Peck is survived by his four children and several grandchildren. No funeral services have yet been planned.

13/06/2003 17:26