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Hollywood legend Charlton Heston dead at 84


Charlton Heston,
who won the 1959 best actor Oscar
as the chariot-racing “Ben-Hur” and portrayed Moses,
Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics
of the ’50s and ’60s, has died. He was 84.The actor died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills   


with his wife Lydia at his side,
family spokesman Bill Powers said.

The two had been married for 64 years.

“Charlton Heston was seen



by the world as larger than life.

He was known for his chiseled jaw,

broad shoulders and resonating voice,

and, of course,

for the roles he played,”

Heston’s family said in a statement.

“No one could ask for a fuller life than his.

No man could have given more to his family,

to his profession, and to his country.”

Heston revealed in 2002 that he had symptoms



consistent with Alzheimer’s disease, saying,

“I must reconcile courage and

surrender in equal measure.”

With his large, muscular build,



well-boned face and sonorous voice,

Heston proved the ideal star during the

period when Hollywood

was filling movie screens with

panoramas depicting the

religious and historical past.

“I have a face that belongs in another century,”

he often remarked.

Publicist Michael Levine,



who represented Heston for about 20 years,

said the actor’s passing represented

the end of an iconic era for cinema.


If Hollywood had a Mt. Rushmore,

Heston’s face would be on it,”

Levine said.

“He was a heroic figure that I don’t

think exists to the same degree in

Hollywood today.”

The actor assumed the role of



leader off screen as well.

He served as president of the

Screen Actors Guild and chairman

of the American Film Institute and marched

in the civil rights movement of the 1950s.

With age, he grew more conservative and

campaigned for conservative candidates.

In June 1998, Heston was elected president



of the

National Rifle Association, for which

he had posed for ads

holding a rifle.

He delivered a jab at then-President Clinton,

saying, “America doesn’t trust you

with our 21-year-old daughters,

and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”
Heston stepped down as NRA president in April 2003,



telling members his five years in office were

“quite a ride. … I loved every minute of it.”

Later that year, Heston was awarded the



Presidential Medal of Freedom,

the nation’s highest civilian honor.


“The largeness of character that comes across

the screen has also been seen throughout his life,”

President Bush said at the time.


 Heston lent his strong presence to some of the most

acclaimed and successful films of the midcentury.

“Ben-Hur” won 11 Academy Awards, tying it for the

record with the more recent “Titanic” (1997)

and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003).

Heston’s other hits include: “The Ten Commandments,”

“El Cid,” “55 Days at Peking,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Earthquake.”


Heston made his movie debut in the 1940s

in two independent films by a college classmate,

David Bradley,

who later became a noted film archivist.


He had the title role in “Peer Gynt” in 1942

and was Marc Antony in Bradley’s 1949 version of

“Julius Caesar,” for which Heston

was paid $50 a week.

Film producer Hal B. Wallis (“Casablanca”)



spotted Heston in a 1950 television production

of “Wuthering Heights”

and offered him a contract.


When his wife reminded him that they had

decided to pursue theater and television,

he replied,

“Well, maybe just for one film

to see what it’s like.”

At his birth in a Chicago suburb on Oct. 4, 1923,

his name was Charles Carter.

His parents moved to St. Helen, Mich.,

where his father,

Russell Carter, operated a lumber mill.

Growing up in the Michigan woods

with almost no playmates,

young Charles read books of adventure

and devised his own games while wandering

the countryside with his rifle.

Heston wrote several books:

“The Actor’s Life: Journals 1956-1976,”

published in 1978; “Beijing Diary: 1990,”

concerning his direction of the play

“The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” in Chinese;

“In the Arena: An Autobiography,” 1995; and

“Charlton Heston’s Hollywood:

50 Years of American Filmmaking,” 1998.

Besides Fraser, who directed his father



in an adventure film,

“Mother Lode,” the Hestons had a daughter,

Holly Ann, born Aug. 2, 1961.

The couple celebrated their golden

wedding anniversary in 1994 at a party

with Hollywood and political friends.

They had been married 64 years when he died.


Hollywood movie star Charlton Heston was the

voice of GOD, perhaps his most enduring role.

Heston lives forever with GOD now,

his deep voice and tall muscled frame

enriching Heaven’s population.


We mere earthly mortals will forever

remember Charlton Heston

as a man who fought for the downtrodden,

both on screen and off.

He was a powerful kind man,

and Hollywood has lost one of

it’s brightest and most amazing stars.


Heston will always be known as a true star

of the silver screen.


More important, Charlton Heston was a star

of the civil rights movement before it was the

“in” thing to do.

When deep thunder bellows in the Heavens,

listen closely and you may hear the sound

of Charlton Heston laughing with the angels.


Charlton Heston may have exited this

sound stage for a location shoot in Heaven,

but he will never ever die.


Rash Manly       22moon.com


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