Robert Newton Peck
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Peck claims his birth date to have been February 17, 1928, but refuses to specify his birthplace. Similarly, he states that he graduated from a high school in Texas, yet again refuses to identify the specific location. Various sources indicate his birthplace as Nashville, Tennessee. Though stated as his mother's birthplace, other sources indicate the actual location as Ticonderoga, New York, where his mother Lucille Peck and aunt Caroline Dornburgh lay in unmarked graves; Peck, himself, may have also been born there.
He attended Ticonderoga High School. His only verified Vermont connection, which Peck hints as his real birthplace, comes from his father, who was born in Sunderland, Vermont.
Peck served in World War II as a machine-gunner in the U.S. Army 88th Infantry Division. After he returned to the United States, Peck entered Rollins College, graduating in 1953. He then entered Cornell Law School, but failed to complete his studies.
Peck published his first novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die, which was a semi-autobiography of his childhood, in 1972 at the age of forty-four. To date, his credits include fifty-five novels, six nonfiction works, thirty-five songs, three television specials and over one hundred poems.
In 1984, Peck was sued by Mary Jo Wardlaw, an Erskine College student, for outrageous conduct causing severe emotional distress and slander, for comments he made during a convocation speech at the college (318 S.E.2d 284, S.C.App., 1984). A South Carolina appeals court upheld a $24,000 jury verdict against Peck for slander on the theory that when Peck cast an aspersion upon Wardlaw's chastity, his public remarks were slanderous per se.
He married Dorothy Anne Houston and fathered two children: Anne and Christopher. The best man at the wedding, and the godfather to the children, was Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood fame.
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