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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
To Kill A Mockingbird star dies
Brock Peters
Peters' career spanned several decades
Actor Brock Peters, who played one of the main roles in the film To Kill A Mockingbird, has died at the age of 78.

Peters, who had pancreatic cancer, played a man falsely accused of raping a white woman in the racial drama based on the Harper Lee novel.

Gregory Peck played the lawyer called upon to defend him in the 1962 film, which won Peck a best actor Oscar.

In 1991 Peters, whose other films included Soylent Green, won a lifetime award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Peck tribute

Peters, who played Tom Robinson in the classic film, paid tribute to Peck when he died in 2003, recalling a telephone call the actor made to welcome him to the production.

"I worked over the years in many, many productions, but no-one ever again called me to welcome me aboard, except perhaps the director and the producer, but not my fellow actor-to-be," said Peters.

He added that he dropped the telephone in surprise when Peck made the gesture.

To Kill A Mockingbird
Peters' Mockingbird co-star Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his role

"In art there is compassion, in compassion there is humanity, with humanity there is generosity and love. Gregory Peck gave us these attributes in full measure," Peters said.

Peters' film career began in the 1950s, when he appeared in the big screen versions of musicals Porgy and Bess and Carmen Jones.

In recent years his roles included Admiral Cartwright in two Star Trek films, while his bass voice won him parts in a number of animations, including television show Aaah! Monsters (1994).

He won several accolades, including a National Film Society Award and a Tony nomination for his Broadway performance in Lost In The Stars.

Earlier this year, Peters presented an award to Mockingbird author Harper Lee, who had shunned publicity since the book's publication in 1960.

Her best-selling book has gained huge critical acclaim, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961 among other prizes, and has become a literary classic.

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