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Thursday, July 29, 2021

When Hollywood star Gregory Peck visited Suraiya’s residence, posed for iconic photo: ‘I didn’t sleep that night’

Did you know that Hollywood heartthrob Gregory Peck had once spent over an hour at yesteryear actor and singer Suraiya's Mumbai residence in the early 1950s, sparking rumours of a romance?

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
June 16, 2021 11:02:26 am
gregory peck and suraiyaSuraiya was seemingly enamoured by Gregory Peck's presence. (Photo: Express Archive)

It is not just now that Bollywood and Hollywood stars have started mingling. This is a decades-old phenomenon which celebrates the friendship and mutual respect between the two thriving film industries. For instance, did you know that Hollywood heartthrob Gregory Peck had once spent over an hour at yesteryear actor and singer Suraiya’s Mumbai residence?

The Indian Express Archive also happens to have a photo in the vault of the incident when Peck met Suraiya. In the image, both Suraiya and Peck seem to be sharing a candid conversation whilst also being aware of a camera’s presence. It was reported at that time that Suraiya had given her autographed photo to Hollywood director Frank Capra at the first International Film Festival of India in 1952, to give to Peck.

Peck, it seems, received the photo. In India for a brief visit, he attended a party after an awards do. Suraiya, however, was not there and he visited her residence to meet her.

A report in a newspaper spoke about the meeting between Suraiya and Gregory Peck. “There was a knock on the door at a little past eleven of Tuesday night, January 5, and there, when it opened, was Mr. Peck himself asking Suraiya’s very astonished mother with a bow: “Where is Suraiya, Madam?” Just like that. While she still hesitated, along came Suraiya from her bed, wide-eyed with wonder, to welcome her favourite star who stepped in and stayed chatting informally till well past midnight, when he left to catch the Colombo plane which had stopped here on account of an unexpected turn of the weather in Ceylon.”

“We spoke for an hour. I didn’t sleep at all that night. Nobody believed I’d met him. For two months newspapers carried our ‘love stories’. I enjoyed it!” Suraiya seemed to have said later of the incident. Apparently, during his time at the function, comparisons were also made between him and Dev Anand, which Peck himself stated was unfounded as both of them belonged to ‘the same school’ of acting, reported the Deccan Herald.

For the uninitiated, Suraiya was one of the most successful leading ladies of the 1940s and featured in films such as 1857, Anmol Ghadi, Parwana, Vidya, Omar Khaiyyam among more. Meanwhile, Gregory Peck remains one of the most celebrated figures of Hollywood and was popular for his work in movies like Roman Holiday, The Guns of Navarone, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Omen among more.

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