rogerramjet_2003 Report This Comment
Date: April 06, 2008 02:36AM
Charlton Heston, 84; Oscar-winning actor played
EPIC: Heston as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 epic, "The Ten
The Oscar winner played Moses and Michelangelo, then later became a darling of
By Robert W. Welkos and Susan King, Special to The Times
April 6, 2008
Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing
larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson and
went on to become an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of conservative
causes, has died. He was 84.
Heston died Saturday at his Beverly Hills home, said family spokesman Bill
Powers. In 2002, he had been diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of
With a booming baritone voice, the tall, ruggedly handsome actor delivered his
signature role as the prophet Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 Biblical
extravaganza "The Ten Commandments," raising a rod over his head as
God miraculously parts the Red Sea.
Heston won the Academy Award for best actor in another religious blockbuster in
1959's "Ben-Hur," racing four white horses at top speed in one of the
cinema's legendary action sequences: the 15-minute chariot race in which his
character, a proud and noble Jew, competes against his childhood Roman
Heston stunned the entertainment world in August 2002 when he made a poignant
and moving videotaped address announcing his illness.
Late in life, Heston's stature as a political firebrand overshadowed his acting.
He became demonized by gun-control advocates and liberal Hollywood when he
became president of the National Rifle Assn. in 1998.
Heston answered his critics in a now-famous pose that mimicked Moses' parting of
the Red Sea. But instead of a rod, Heston raised a flintlock over his head and
challenged his detractors to pry the rifle "from my cold, dead
Like the chariot race and the bearded prophet Moses, Heston will be best
remembered for several indelible cinematic moments: playing a deadly game of cat
and mouse with Orson Welles in the oil fields in "Touch of Evil," his
rant at the end of "Planet of the Apes" when he sees the destruction
of the Statue of Liberty, his discovery that "Soylent Green is
people!" in the sci-fi hit "Soylent Green" and the dead Spanish
hero on his steed in "El Cid."
The New Yorker's film critic Pauline Kael, in her review of 1968's "Planet
of the Apes," wrote: "All this wouldn't be so forceful or so funny if
it weren't for the use of Charlton Heston in the [leading] role. With his
perfect, lean-hipped, powerful body, Heston is a god-like hero; built for
strength, he is an archetype of what makes Americans win. He represents American
power -- and he has the profile of an eagle."
For decades, the 6-foot-2 Heston was a towering figure in the world of movies,
television and the stage.
"He was the screen hero of the 1950s and 1960s, a proven stayer in epics,
and a pleasing combination of piercing blue eyes and tanned beefcake,"
David Thomson wrote in his book "The New Biographical Dictionary of
Heston also was blessed by working with legendary directors such as DeMille in
"The Greatest Show on Earth" and again in "The Ten
Commandments," Welles in "Touch of Evil," Sam Peckinpah in
"Major Dundee," William Wyler in "The Big Country" and
"Ben-Hur," George Stevens in "The Greatest Story Ever Told,"
Franklin Schaffner in "The War Lord" and "Planet of the
Apes" and Anthony Mann in "El Cid."
"Four or five of those men would be on anybody's all-time great list,"
Heston said in a 1983 interview. "And if I picked up one scrap, one piece
of business, from each of them, then today I would be a hell of a
John Charles Carter was born Oct. 4, 1923, in Evanston, Ill. His father, Russell
Whitford Carter, moved the family to St. Helen, Mich., where Heston lived an
almost idyllic boyhood, hunting and fishing.
He entered Northwestern University's School of Speech in 1941 on a scholarship
from the drama club. While there, he fell in love with a young speech student
named Lydia Clarke. They were married March 14, 1944, after he had enlisted in
the Army Air Forces. Their union was one of the most durable in Hollywood,
lasting 64 years in a town known for its highly publicized divorces, romances
After the war, he went on countless auditions as
a stage actor in New York. His professional name was a combination of his
mother's maiden name, Charlton, and the last name of his stepfather, Chester
He made his Broadway debut opposite legendary stage actress Katharine Cornell in
Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" as Proculeius, Caesar's
Heston found steady employment in the new medium of television. His big break
occurred in 1949, when he appeared in the CBS live "Studio One"
production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."
In 1949, he attracted the attention of veteran film producer Hal Wallis. Without
an audition, Wallis signed Heston to an independent contract for five pictures
with the option he could accept other roles.
BlahX3 Report This Comment
Date: April 06, 2008 04:28AM
Who fucking cares? He was famous so everyone with TV, internet, radio or
newspaper is aware of his passing. When I go no one but my family and friends
will even give a shit. Everyone is mortal. Big fucking deal. He didn't do
anything for me except make a few shitty movies. He was good at talking with
food in his mouth, but that's about it as far as I'm concerned.
BlahX3 Report This Comment
Date: April 06, 2008 09:05AM
The only thing that surprises me in these retarded replies is that PW can spell
Don't be an idiot Woberto. You know the point I was making.