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Charlton Heston

Heston at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington
Born John Charles Carter
October 4, 1923(1923-10-04)
No Man's Land, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 5, 2008 (aged 84)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1941–2003
Spouse(s) Lydia Clarke (1944–2008)

Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008)[1][2] was an American actor of film, theatre and television.[3]

Heston is known for having played heroic roles, such as Moses in The Ten Commandments, Colonel George Taylor in Planet of the Apes, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar in El Cid, and Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. In the 1950s and 1960s he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Initially a moderate Democrat, he later supported conservative Republican policies and was president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.

Contents

Early years

Heston was born John Charles Carter, the only child of Lilla (née Charlton; 1899–1994) and Russell Whitford Carter (1897–1966), a mill operator.[4] Most sources state that he was born in Evanston, Illinois.[5][6][7] Heston's autobiography,[8] however, and some other sources place his birth in No Man's Land, Illinois, which usually refers to a then-unincorporated area now part of Wilmette, Illinois, a well-off northern suburb of Chicago. The confusion stems from Heston being born in an Evanston hospital at a time when the family lived in the Wilmette area.[9] Heston said in a 1995 interview that he was not very good at remembering addresses or his early childhood.[10]

Heston was of English and Scottish descent and a member of the Fraser clan.[11]

In his autobiography, Heston refers to his father participating in his family's construction business.[8] When Heston was an infant his father's work moved the family to St. Helen, Michigan.[12] It was a rural, heavily forested part of the state, and Heston lived an isolated yet idyllic[citation needed] existence spending much time hunting and fishing in the backwoods of the area.

When Heston was 10 years old, his parents divorced. Shortly thereafter, his mother married Chester Heston. The new family moved back to Wilmette. Heston (his new surname) attended New Trier High School.[13]

Throughout Heston's life he was known by friends as "Chuck" although his wife always called him "Charlie." His stage name Charlton Heston is drawn from his mother's maiden surname (Charlton) and his stepfather's surname (Heston), and was used for his first film, Peer Gynt.

Career

Heston frequently recounted that, while growing up in northern Michigan in a sparsely-populated area, he often wandered in the forest, "acting" out the characters from books he had read.[14] Later, in high school, Heston enrolled in New Trier's drama program, playing in the silent 16 mm amateur film adaptation of Peer Gynt, from the Ibsen play, by future film activist David Bradley released in 1941.[15] From the Winnetka Community Theatre (Or, the Winnetka Dramatist's Guild as it was then known) in which he was active, he earned a drama scholarship to Northwestern University. Several years later Heston teamed up with Bradley to produce the first sound version of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which Heston played Mark Antony.

World War II service

In 1944, Heston enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. He served for two years as a radio operator and aerial gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell stationed in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands with the Eleventh Air Force. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Heston married Northwestern University student Lydia Marie Clarke in the same year he joined the military, where he went on to win 4 meddles for bravery. He was well like where he was stationed often putting on theatre shows for the locals.

Theater and television

After the war, Heston and Clarke lived in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, where they worked as artists' models. Seeking a way to make it in theater, Heston and his wife Lydia decided to manage a playhouse in Asheville, North Carolina in 1947. They made $100 a week on the job. In 1948, they went back to New York where Heston was offered a supporting role in a Broadway revival of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, starring Katharine Cornell. Heston had success in television, playing a number of roles in CBS's Studio One, one of the most popular anthology dramas of the 1950s. Film producer Hal B. Wallis of Casablanca spotted Heston in a 1950 television production of Wuthering Heights and offered him a contract. When his wife reminded Heston they had decided to pursue theater and television, he replied, "Well, maybe just for one film to see what it's like."

Heston's most frequently played roles on stage include the title role in Macbeth, Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.

In 1998, Heston had a cameo role on the American television series Friends, in The One with Joey's Dirty Day.

Charlton Heston as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, 1950

Hollywood

Heston earned recognition for his appearance in his first professional movie, Dark City, a 1950 film noir. His breakthrough came when Cecil B. DeMille cast him as a circus manager in The Greatest Show on Earth, which was named by the Motion Picture Academy as the best picture of 1952. In 1953, Heston was Billy Wilder's first choice to play Sefton in Stalag 17. However, the role was given to William Holden, who won an Oscar for it. Heston became an icon for portraying Moses in the hugely successful film The Ten Commandments, reportedly being chosen by director Cecil B. DeMille because he thought the muscular, 6 ft 3 in, square jawed Heston bore an uncanny resemblance to Michelangelo's statue of Moses.

From the film trailer of Ben-Hur
Heston poses for his wife Lydia at their hilltop Beverly Hills home, just after winning an Oscar for his role in Ben-Hur, 1960.

After Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and Rock Hudson[16] turned down the title role of Ben-Hur (1959), Heston accepted the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, one of the unprecedented eleven Oscars the film earned. In 1995, Heston denied a claim by Ben-Hur screenwriter Gore Vidal that there is a gay subtext to the film. Vidal said he wrote the script with such an implication, but never mentioned the subtext to Heston - though he did so to Stephen Boyd, who played Ben-Hur's friend Messala, and director William Wyler. Heston stated that after writing one scene, Vidal was dismissed from the project and the homosexuality story is a reworking by Vidal of a well-known and possibly apocryphal story involving Laurence Olivier's portrayal of Iago to an unwitting Ralph Richardson as Othello. Vidal responded by citing extracts from Heston's 1978 memoir An Actor's Life, in which he admitted that Vidal had authored most of the shooting screenplay.[17][18] After Moses and Ben-Hur, Heston was identified with Biblical epics more than any other actor. He voiced the role of a cartoon version of the Lew Wallace novel in 2003.

Heston played leading roles in a number of fictional and historical epics: El Cid (1961), 55 Days at Peking (1963), as Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), and Khartoum (1966). Heston also played a leading role in the western movie, Will Penny (1968).

In 1965, Heston became president of the Screen Actors Guild. He remained in the position until 1971, the second longest tenure to date in that office.[19]

In 1968, Heston starred in Planet of the Apes and in 1970, he was in a smaller supporting role in the sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Also in 1970, Heston portrayed Mark Antony again in another film version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. His co-stars included Jason Robards as Brutus, Richard Chamberlain as Octavius, Robert Vaughn as Casca, and English actors Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Caesar, and Diana Rigg as Portia. In 1971 he starred in the science fiction film, The Omega Man. Although critically panned, the film is now considered a classic of apocalyptic horror. In 1972 Heston made his directorial debut, and starred, as Mark Antony in an adaptation of the William Shakespeare play he performed earlier in his theater career, Antony and Cleopatra. Hildegarde Neil was Cleopatra, and English actor Eric Porter was Enobarbus. After receiving scathing reviews, the film never went to theaters, and rarely turns up on television. It has not been released on DVD. He subsequently starred in successful films such as Soylent Green (1973), and Earthquake (1974).

Beginning with playing Cardinal Richelieu in 1973's The Three Musketeers, Heston was seen in an increasing number of supporting roles, cameos and theater. From 1985 to 1987, he starred in his only prime-time stint on series television with the soap, The Colbys. With his son Fraser, he produced and also starred in several TV movies, including remakes of Treasure Island and A Man For All Seasons. In 1992, Heston appeared in a short series of videos on the A&E cable network reading passages from the King James Version of the Bible, called Charlton Heston Presents the Bible. It was filmed in the Middle East and received excellent reviews, achieving great success on video and DVD. Never taking himself too seriously, he appeared in 1993 in a cameo role in Wayne's World 2 (in a scene wherein main character Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) requests that a small role be filled by a better actor). After the scene is reshot with Heston, Campbell weeps in awe. That same year, Heston hosted Saturday Night Live. He had cameos in the films Hamlet, Tombstone and True Lies. He starred in many theatre productions at the Los Angeles Music Center where he appeared in such plays as Detective Story, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, and as Sherlock Holmes in The Crucifer of Blood opposite Jeremy Brett as Dr. Watson, later winning acclaim for his interpretation of the famous detective in a television version. In 2001, Heston made a cameo appearance as an elderly, dying chimpanzee in Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes. Heston's last film role was as the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in My Father, Rua Alguem 5555, which had limited release (mainly to festivals) in 2003.[20]

Heston played the title role in Mister Roberts three times and cited it as one of his favorite roles. In the early '90s, he tried unsuccessfully to revive and direct the show with Tom Selleck in the title role.[21]

Political activism

Charlton Heston (left) with James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, and Harry Belafonte at the Civil Rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 1963. Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte are in the background.
Heston with President Ronald Reagan during a meeting for the Presidential Task Force on the Arts and Humanities in the White House Cabinet Room, 1981

Heston campaigned for Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and John F. Kennedy in 1960.[22] Reportedly when an Oklahoma movie theater premiering his movie El Cid was segregated, he joined a picket line outside in 1961.[23] Heston makes no reference to this in his autobiography, but describes traveling to Oklahoma City to picket segregated restaurants, much to the chagrin of Allied Artists, the producers of El Cid.[24] During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. In later speeches, Heston said he helped the civil rights cause "long before Hollywood found it fashionable."[25]

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Heston and actors Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas and James Stewart issued a statement calling for support of President Johnson's Gun Control Act of 1968.[26][27] He opposed the Vietnam War and in 1969 was approached by the Democratic Party to run for the U.S. Senate. He agonized over the decision and ultimately determined he could never give up acting.[28] He is reported to have voted for Richard Nixon in 1972, though Nixon is unmentioned in his autobiography.[29]

By the 1980s, Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights and changed his political affiliation from Democratic to Republican. When asked why he changed political alliances, Heston replied "I didn't change. The Democratic party changed." [30] He campaigned for Republicans and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan,[31] George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[32]

Heston resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in Miss Saigon was "obscenely racist".[16] He said CNN's telecasts from Baghdad were "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War.[16]

At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, Heston castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album which included the song "Cop Killer", which depicted the killing of police officers.[33]

While filming The Savage, Heston was initiated by blood into the Miniconjou Lakota Nation, but claimed no natural American Indian heritage. He claimed to be "native American" to reclaim the term from exclusion to American Indians.[8]

In a 1997 speech, Heston rhetorically deplored a culture war he said was being conducted by a generation of media, educators, entertainers, and politicians against:

"...the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle-class Protestant - or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern - or even worse, rural, apparently straight - or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning - or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff - or even worse, male working stiff - because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. Your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant, and frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up, and learn a little something from your new-America and until you do, would you mind shutting up?"[34]

In an address to students at Harvard Law School entitled Winning the Cultural War, Heston said, "If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown."[35] He went on:

"The Constitution was handed down to guide us by a bunch of wise old dead white guys who invented our country! Now some flinch when I say that. Why! Its true-they were white guys! So were most of the guys that died in Lincoln's name opposing slavery in the 1860s. So why should I be ashamed of white guys? Why is "Hispanic Pride" or "Black Pride" a good thing, while "White Pride" conjures shaven heads and white hoods? Why was the Million Man March on Washington celebrated by many as progress, while the Promise Keepers March on Washington was greeted with suspicion and ridicule? I’ll tell you why, Cultural warfare!"

Heston later stated, "Political correctness is tyranny with manners."[36]

In a speech to the National Press Club in 1997, Heston said, "Now, I doubt any of you would prefer a rolled up newspaper as a weapon against a dictator or a criminal intruder." [37]

Heston at a rally for the National Rifle Association, which he led from 1998–2003

Heston was the president and spokesman of the NRA from 1998 until he resigned in 2003. At the 2000 NRA convention, he raised a rifle over his head and declared that a potential Al Gore administration would take away his Second Amendment rights "from my cold, dead hands."[38] In announcing his resignation in 2003, he again raised a rifle over his head, repeating the five famous words of his 2000 speech.[39] He was an honorary life member.[39]

In the 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Heston in his home, asking him about an April 1999 NRA meeting held shortly after the Columbine high school massacre, in Denver, Colorado. Moore criticized Heston for the perceived thoughtlessness in the timing and location of the meeting. Heston, on-camera, excused himself and walked out. Moore was later criticized for his perceived ambush.[40][41][42]

Actor George Clooney joked about Heston's failing health at a 2003 National Board of Review award ceremony, saying that Heston "announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's." When questioned, Clooney said Heston deserved whatever was said about him for his involvement with the NRA.[43] Heston responded by saying Clooney lacked class, and said he felt sorry for Clooney, as Clooney had as much of a chance of developing Alzheimer's as anyone else.[44]

Heston opposed abortion and gave the introduction to a 1987 pro-life documentary by Bernard Nathanson called Eclipse of Reason which focuses on late-term abortions. Heston served on the Advisory Board of Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog group founded by Reed Irvine.[45]

Later life and death

In 1996, Heston had a hip replacement. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. Following a course of radiation treatment, the cancer went into remission. In 2000, he publicly disclosed that he had been treated for alcoholism at a Utah clinic in May-June of that year.[46] On August 9, 2002, Heston publicly announced he was diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.[47] In July 2003, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House from President George W. Bush. In March 2005, various newspapers reported that family and friends were shocked by the progression of his illness, and that he was sometimes unable to get out of bed. In August 2005, it was reported that Heston was hospitalized at a Los Angeles hospital with pneumonia, but this was never confirmed by his family or spokesman. In April 2006, various news sources reported that Heston's illness was at an advanced stage and that his family was worried he might not survive the year. In March 2008, just a few weeks before his death, it was reported that he was now in the final stages of Alzheimer's.

Heston died on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with Lydia, his wife of 64 years, by his side. He was also survived by his son, Fraser Clarke Heston, and adopted daughter, Holly Ann Heston. The cause of death was pneumonia.[48][49][50] Heston's family released a statement, reading, "Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiselled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. 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."[51] Early tributes came in from leading figures; President George W. Bush called Heston "a man of character and integrity, with a big heart", adding, "He served his country during World War II, marched in the civil rights movement, led a labor union and vigorously defended Americans’ Second Amendment rights [to bear arms]."[51] Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said that she was "heartbroken" over Heston's death and released a statement, reading, "I will never forget Chuck as a hero on the big screen in the roles he played, but more importantly I considered him a hero in life for the many times that he stepped up to support Ronnie in whatever he was doing."[51]

Heston's funeral was held a week later on April 12, 2008, in a ceremony which was attended by 250 people including Nancy Reagan and Hollywood stars such as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia de Havilland, Keith Carradine, Pat Boone, Tom Selleck, Oliver Stone, Rob Reiner, and Christian Bale.[52][53][54] The funeral was held at Episcopal Parish of St. Matthew's Church in Pacific Palisades, California, the church where Heston regularly worshipped and attended Sunday services since the early 1980s.[55][56] He was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.

Legacy

The handprints of Charlton Heston in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

Richard Corliss wrote in Time magazine, "From start to finish, Heston was a grand, ornery anachronism, the sinewy symbol of a time when Hollywood took itself seriously, when heroes came from history books, not comic books. Epics like Ben-Hur or El Cid simply couldn't be made today, in part because popular culture has changed as much as political fashion. But mainly because there's no one remotely like Charlton Heston to infuse the form with his stature, fire and guts."[57]

Heston's cinematic legacy was the subject of Cinematic Atlas: The Triumphs of Charlton Heston, an eleven-film retrospective by the Film Society of the Lincoln Center that was shown at the Walter Reade Theater from August 29 to September 4, 2008.[58]

Filmography

For a complete filmography, see Charlton Heston filmography

Bibliography

Heston's books include autobiographies and religious books:

  • The Actor's Life (ISBN 0-671-83016-3)
  • In the Arena: An Autobiography (ISBN 1-57297-267-X)
  • The Courage to be Free (ISBN 978-0970368805)
  • Beijing Diary (ISBN 0-671-68706-9)
  • To Be a Man: Letters to My Grandson (ISBN 0-7432-1311-4)
  • Charlton Heston Presents the Bible (ISBN 1-57719-270-2)
  • Charlton Heston's Hollywood: 50 Years in American Film with Jean-Pierre Isbouts (ISBN 1-57719-357-1)

References

  1. ^ MSNBC. Charlton Heston dead at 84.
  2. ^ http://www.ancestry.com Date confirmed through 1930 US Census
  3. ^ "Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 84.". The New York Times. April 6, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/movies/06heston.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-04-06. "Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60-year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 84." 
  4. ^ Film Reference Biography.
  5. ^ Berkvist, Robert (2008-04-06). "Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 84". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/movies/06heston.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Charlton Heston - Biography". IMDb: The Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000032/bio. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Charlton Heston Biography". biography.com. http://www.biography.com/articles/Charlton-Heston-9337556. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  8. ^ a b c Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995. ISBN 0-684-80394-1
  9. ^ Werling, Karen (2008-04-16). "Appreciation: Charlton Heston’s life as a Wildcat". North by Northwestern. http://www.northbynorthwestern.com/2008/04/9017/heston-at-northwestern/. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  10. ^ Schultz, Rick (1995). "Appreciation: Charlton Heston’s Interview, Articles, & Tribute". http://charltonhestonworld.homestead.com/ChuckInterviews.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  11. ^ "Hollywood legend Charlton Heston was proud of Scots roots". Daily Record. 2008-04-07. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/entertainment-news/2008/04/07/hollywood-legend-charlton-heston-was-proud-of-scots-roots-86908-20375323/. 
  12. ^ My Bay City article, February 5, 2006
  13. ^ Habermehl, Kris (2007-01-25). "Fire Breaks Out At Prestigious High School". http://cbs2chicago.com/local/New.Trier.High.2.334860.html. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  14. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=319357
  15. ^ [1] IMDB Film Biography
  16. ^ a b c Thomas, Bob (April 6, 2008). "Film Legend Charlton Heston Dead at 84". Associated Press. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hIhnqF6LygGpQ54CQdntp6c74tTwD8VSHEV81. 
  17. ^ Vidal, Gore Palimpsest-A Memoir. 1995. pp.303-307
  18. ^ Heston, Charlton In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p.187. ISBN 0-684-80394-1
  19. ^ SAG Presidents, Screen Actors Guild
  20. ^ Variety, February 12, 2004
  21. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 479. ISBN 0-684-80394-1
  22. ^ Mathews, Jay (May 2, 1986). "Charlton Heston, Statesman On the Set; For the 'Colbys' Star, Acting Is Only Part of the Job". The Washington Post: pp. D1. 
  23. ^ Taylor, Quintard (1998). In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 285. http://books.google.com/books?id=9Nj1lVZQAcYC&pg=PA285&dq=Oklahoma+1961+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=W9P4R5zpG5zkyAT4idmDDw&sig=b7pJR3wb17hAeynu-EITSR82gRM. 
  24. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 261. ISBN 0-684-80394-1
  25. ^ Goodrich, Terry Lee (February 13, 2000). "Heston decries political correctness at fund-raiser". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. pp. 5. 
  26. ^ David Plotz; Slate. NRA President Charlton Heston.
  27. ^ Slate. Charlton Heston, Gun-Controller!
  28. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 433. ISBN 0-684-80394-1
  29. ^ Pulera, Dominic J. (2006). Sharing the Dream: White Males in Multicultural America. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 254. http://books.google.com/books?id=DL3qyFCCp_0C&pg=PA254&dq=%22voted+for+Richard+Nixon%22+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=L874R9WFGYzcygSbnqmwCQ&sig=WoFAecl4GZVXcLzcr6RQ58HSNns. 
  30. ^ Raymond, Emilie (2006). From My Cold, Dead Hands Charlton Heston and American Politics. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 6. http://books.google.com/books?id=1tujw3ajlDMC&pg=PA6&dq=%22affirmative+action%22+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=Mc_4R6O6G4PUzATl8vlE&sig=zD6MazBdl6ad_61k0trPe1UFt0M. 
  31. ^ McDowell, Charles (September 14, 1997). "Charlton Heston, the Gun Lobbyist". Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia): pp. B1. 
  32. ^ Raymond, p.276
  33. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080406/ap_on_en_mo/obit_heston
  34. ^ http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Fighting_the_Culture_War_in_America
  35. ^ Heston, Charlton. Winning the Cultural War. February 16, 1999.
  36. ^ Charlton Heston at the Internet Movie Database
  37. ^ GOLD, Dudley Susan. Open For Debate: Gun Control. Benchmark Books. January 2004.
  38. ^ Variety, June 13, 2000: "Gore fires back after Heston tirade"
  39. ^ a b Johnson, Jeff (April 25, 2003). "Heston to Step down as NRA President". The Nation. http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=%5CNation%5Carchive%5C200304%5CNAT20030425f.html. 
  40. ^ Russo, Tom (August 24, 2003). "Opposites Attract (Bowling for Columbine review)". Boston Globe. 
  41. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 18, 2004). "'9/11': Just the facts?". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 55. "In some cases, [Moore] was guilty of making a good story better, but in other cases (such as his ambush of Charlton Heston) he was unfair..."
  42. ^ Whitty, Stephen (2008-04-06). "The best action hero". The Star-Ledger. http://blog.nj.com/whitty/2008/04/the_best_action_hero.html#more. 
  43. ^ What's up with George Clooney? WorldNetDaily.com. January 20, 2003.
  44. ^ Heston Slams Clooney For Alzheimer's Joke. TheBostonChannel.com. January 23, 2003. "
  45. ^ "FAQ". Accuracy in Media. http://www.aim.org/about/frequently-asked-questions-faq/. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  46. ^ Charlton Heston 'feeling good' after alcohol rehab
  47. ^ Charlton Heston has Alzheimer's symptoms. CNN News. August 9, 2002.
  48. ^ Actor Charlton Heston dead at 84. MSNBC.com. April 5, 2008. Accessed April 6, 2008.
  49. ^ Welkos, Robert W. and Susan King. Charlton Heston, 84; actor played epic figures. Los Angeles Times. April 5, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  50. ^ Charlton Heston Dies at Beverly Hills Home. FoxNews.com. April 5, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  51. ^ a b c Ayres, Chris (April 7, 2008). "Charlton Heston, a star who defied the Hollywood liberals, dies at 83". The Times Online (Los Angeles, California). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3695075.ece. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  52. ^ Politicians, actors and relatives gather for funeral of Hollywood icon Charlton Heston, International Herald Tribune, retrieved April 12, 2008
  53. ^ "Stars attend Heston's LA funeral" - BBC News - Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Sunday, April 13, 2008, 12:39 UK
  54. ^ "FRASER HESTON in conversation with JAMES BYRNE". Secret of the Incas web site. 6-May 12, 2008. http://www.secretoftheincas.co.uk/page28.html. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  55. ^ "Memorial to Mr. Charlton Heston". Charlton Heston World. http://charltonhestonworld.homestead.com/MemorialToMrCharltonHeston.html#anchor_291. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  56. ^ Bob Thomas, Associated Press Writer (2008-04-12). "Luminaries Attend Heston's Funeral". msnbc.com. http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2008/04/12/1426985-luminaries-attend-hestons-funeral. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  57. ^ "Charlton Heston: The Epic Man" by Richard Corliss, TIME - Thursday, April 10, 2008
  58. ^ ""Cinematic Atlas: The Triumphs of Charlton Heston"". Film Society of the Lincoln Center. http://filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/charltonheston.html. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 

External links

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Marion P. Hammer
President of the National Rifle Association
1998 – 2003
Succeeded by
Kayne Robinson

Charlton Heston
File:Charlton Heston Civil Rights March
Heston at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington
Born John Charles Carter
October 4, 1923(1923-10-04)
No Man's Land, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 5, 2008 (aged 84)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1941–2003
Spouse Lydia Clarke (1944–2008, his death)

Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008)[1][2] was an American actor of film, theatre and television.[3]

Heston is known for having played heroic roles, such as Moses in The Ten Commandments, Colonel George Taylor in Planet of the Apes, El Cid, and Judah Ben-Hur, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Heston was also known for his political activism. In the 1950s and 1960s he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Initially a moderate Democrat, he later supported conservative Republican policies and was president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.

Contents

Early years

Heston was born John Charles Carter, the only child of Lilla (née Charlton; 1899–1994) and Russell Whitford Carter (1897–1966), a mill operator.[4] Most sources state that he was born in Evanston, Illinois.[5][6][7] Heston's autobiography,[8] however, and some other sources place his birth in No Man's Land, Illinois, which usually refers to a then-unincorporated area now part of Wilmette, Illinois, a well-off northern suburb of Chicago. The confusion stems from Heston being born in an Evanston hospital at a time when the family lived in the Wilmette area.[9] Heston said in a 1995 interview that he was not very good at remembering addresses or his early childhood.[10]

Heston was of English and Scottish descent and a member of the Fraser clan.[11]

In his autobiography, Heston refers to his father participating in his family's construction business.[8] When Heston was an infant his father's work moved the family to St. Helen, Michigan.[12] It was a rural, heavily forested part of the state, and Heston lived an isolated yet idyllic[citation needed] existence spending much time hunting and fishing in the backwoods of the area.

When Heston was 10 years old, his parents divorced. Shortly thereafter, his mother married Chester Heston. The new family moved back to Wilmette. Heston (his new surname) attended New Trier High School.[13]

Throughout Heston's life he was known by friends as "Chuck" although his wife always called him "Charlie." His stage name Charlton Heston is drawn from his mother's maiden surname (Charlton) and his stepfather's surname (Heston), and was used for his first film, Peer Gynt.

Career

Heston frequently recounted that, while growing up in northern Michigan in a sparsely-populated area, he often wandered in the forest, "acting" out the characters from books he had read.[14] Later, in high school, Heston enrolled in New Trier's drama program, playing in the silent 16 mm amateur film adaptation of Peer Gynt, from the Ibsen play, by future film activist David Bradley released in 1941.[15] From the Winnetka Community Theatre (Or, the Winnetka Dramatist's Guild as it was then known) in which he was active, he earned a drama scholarship to Northwestern University. Several years later Heston teamed up with Bradley to produce the first sound version of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which Heston played Mark Antony.

World War II service

In 1944, Heston enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. He served for two years as a radio operator and aerial gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell stationed in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands with the Eleventh Air Force. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Heston married Northwestern University student Lydia Marie Clarke in the same year he joined the military.

Theater and television

After the war, Heston and Clarke lived in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, where they worked as artists' models. Seeking a way to make it in theater, Heston and his wife Lydia decided to manage a playhouse in Asheville, North Carolina in 1947. They made $100 a week on the job. In 1948, they went back to New York where Heston was offered a supporting role in a Broadway revival of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, starring Katharine Cornell. Heston had success in television, playing a number of roles in CBS's Studio One, one of the most popular anthology dramas of the 1950s. Film producer Hal B. Wallis of Casablanca spotted Heston in a 1950 television production of Wuthering Heights and offered him a contract. When his wife reminded Heston they had decided to pursue theater and television, he replied, "Well, maybe just for one film to see what it's like."

Heston's most frequently played roles on stage include the title role in Macbeth, Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.

In 1998, Heston had a cameo role on the American television series Friends, in The One with Joey's Dirty Day.

Hollywood

Heston earned recognition for his appearance in his first professional movie, Dark City, a 1950 film noir. His breakthrough came when Cecil B. DeMille cast him as a circus manager in The Greatest Show on Earth, which was named by the Motion Picture Academy as the best picture of 1952. In 1953, Heston was Billy Wilder's first choice to play Sefton in Stalag 17. However, the role was given to William Holden, who won an Oscar for it. Heston became an icon for portraying Moses in the hugely successful film The Ten Commandments (1956), reportedly being chosen by director Cecil B. DeMille because he thought the muscular, 6 ft 3 in, square jawed Heston bore an uncanny resemblance to Michelangelo's statue of Moses. In 1958, Heston played a Mexican police officer named Ramon Miguel Vargas in Orson Welles's widely acclaimed film noir Touch of Evil.

File:Charlton Heston in Ben Hur
From the film trailer of Ben-Hur
File:Heston,
Heston poses for his wife Lydia at their hilltop Beverly Hills home, just after winning an Oscar for his role in Ben-Hur, 1960.

After Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and Rock Hudson[16] turned down the title role of Ben-Hur (1959), Heston accepted the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, one of the unprecedented eleven Oscars the film earned. In 1995, Heston denied a claim by Ben-Hur screenwriter Gore Vidal that there is a gay subtext to the film. Vidal said he wrote the script with such an implication, but never mentioned the subtext to Heston - though he did so to Stephen Boyd, who played Ben-Hur's friend Messala, and director William Wyler. Heston stated that after writing one scene, Vidal was dismissed from the project and the homosexuality story is a reworking by Vidal of a well-known and possibly apocryphal story involving Laurence Olivier's portrayal of Iago to an unwitting Ralph Richardson as Othello. Vidal responded by citing extracts from Heston's 1978 memoir An Actor's Life, in which he admitted that Vidal had authored most of the shooting screenplay.[17][18] After Moses and Ben-Hur, Heston was identified with Biblical epics more than any other actor. He voiced the role of a cartoon version of the Lew Wallace novel in 2003.

Heston played leading roles in a number of fictional and historical epics: El Cid (1961), 55 Days at Peking (1963), as Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), and Khartoum (1966). Heston also played a leading role in the western movie, Will Penny (1968).

In 1965, Heston became president of the Screen Actors Guild. He remained in the position until 1971, the second longest tenure to date in that office.[19]

In 1968, Heston starred in Planet of the Apes and in 1970, he was in a smaller supporting role in the sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Also in 1970, Heston portrayed Mark Antony again in another film version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. His co-stars included Jason Robards as Brutus, Richard Chamberlain as Octavius, Robert Vaughn as Casca, and English actors Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Caesar, and Diana Rigg as Portia. In 1971, he starred in the science fiction film, The Omega Man. Although critically panned, the film is now considered a classic of apocalyptic horror. In 1972, Heston made his directorial debut, and starred, as Mark Antony in an adaptation of the William Shakespeare play he performed earlier in his theater career, Antony and Cleopatra. Hildegarde Neil was Cleopatra, and English actor Eric Porter was Enobarbus. After receiving scathing reviews, the film never went to theaters, and rarely turns up on television. It has not been released on DVD. He subsequently starred in successful films such as Soylent Green (1973), and Earthquake (1974).

Beginning with playing Cardinal Richelieu in 1973's The Three Musketeers, Heston was seen in an increasing number of supporting roles, cameos and theater. From 1985 to 1987, he starred in his only prime-time stint on series television with the soap, The Colbys. With his son Fraser, he produced and also starred in several TV movies, including remakes of Treasure Island and A Man For All Seasons. In 1992, Heston appeared in a short series of videos on the A&E cable network reading passages from the King James Version of the Bible, called Charlton Heston Presents the Bible. It was filmed in the Middle East and received excellent reviews, achieving great success on video and DVD. Never taking himself too seriously, he appeared in 1993 in a cameo role in Wayne's World 2 (in a scene wherein main character Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) requests that a small role be filled by a better actor). After the scene is reshot with Heston, Campbell weeps in awe. That same year, Heston hosted Saturday Night Live. He had cameos in the films Hamlet, Tombstone and True Lies. He starred in many theatre productions at the Los Angeles Music Center where he appeared in such plays as Detective Story, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, and as Sherlock Holmes in The Crucifer of Blood opposite Jeremy Brett as Dr. Watson, later winning acclaim for his interpretation of the famous detective in a television version. In 2001, Heston made a cameo appearance as an elderly, dying chimpanzee in Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes. Heston's last film role was as the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in My Father, Rua Alguem 5555, which had limited release (mainly to festivals) in 2003.[20]

Heston played the title role in Mister Roberts three times and cited it as one of his favorite roles. In the early '90s, he tried unsuccessfully to revive and direct the show with Tom Selleck in the title role.[21]

Political activism

File:Ronald Reagan Charlton
Heston with President Ronald Reagan during a meeting for the Presidential Task Force on the Arts and Humanities in the White House Cabinet Room, 1981

Heston campaigned for Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and John F. Kennedy in 1960.[22] Reportedly, when an Oklahoma movie theater premiering his movie El Cid was segregated, he joined a picket line outside in 1961.[23] Heston makes no reference to this in his autobiography, but describes traveling to Oklahoma City to picket segregated restaurants, much to the chagrin of Allied Artists, the producers of El Cid.[24] During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. In later speeches, Heston said he helped the civil rights cause "long before Hollywood found it fashionable."[25]

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Heston and actors Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas and James Stewart issued a statement calling for support of President Johnson's Gun Control Act of 1968.[26][27] He opposed the Vietnam War and in 1969 was approached by the Democratic Party to run for the U.S. Senate. He agonized over the decision and ultimately determined he could never give up acting.[28] He is reported to have voted for Richard Nixon in 1972, though Nixon is unmentioned in his autobiography.[29]

By the 1980s, Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights and changed his political affiliation from Democratic to Republican. When asked why he changed political alliances, Heston replied "I didn't change. The Democratic party changed." [30] He campaigned for Republicans and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan,[31] George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[32]

Heston resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in Miss Saigon was "obscenely racist".[16] He said CNN's telecasts from Baghdad were "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War.[16]

At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, Heston castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album which included the song "Cop Killer", which depicted the killing of police officers.[33]

While filming The Savage, Heston was initiated by blood into the Miniconjou Lakota Nation, but claimed no natural American Indian heritage. He claimed to be "native American" to reclaim the term from exclusion to American Indians.[8]

In a 1997 Fighting the Culture War in America speech, Heston rhetorically deplored a culture war he said was being conducted by a generation of media, educators, entertainers, and politicians against:

"...the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle-class Protestant - or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern - or even worse, rural, apparently straight - or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning - or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff - or even worse, male working stiff - because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. Your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant, and frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up, and learn a little something from your new-America and until you do, would you mind shutting up?"[34]

He went on:

"The Constitution was handed down to guide us by a bunch of wise old dead white guys who invented our country! Now some flinch when I say that. Why! Its true-they were white guys! So were most of the guys that died in Lincoln's name opposing slavery in the 1860s. So why should I be ashamed of white guys? Why is "Hispanic Pride" or "Black Pride" a good thing, while "White Pride" conjures shaven heads and white hoods? Why was the Million Man March on Washington celebrated by many as progress, while the Promise Keepers March on Washington was greeted with suspicion and ridicule? I’ll tell you why, Cultural warfare!"

In an address to students at Harvard Law School entitled Winning the Cultural War, Heston said, "If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown."[35]

He said to the students:

"You are the best and the brightest. You, here in this fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River. You are the cream. But I submit that you and your counterparts across the land are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that and abide it, you are, by your grandfathers' standards, cowards."[36]

Heston later stated, "Political correctness is tyranny with manners."[37]

In a speech to the National Press Club in 1997, Heston said, "Now, I doubt any of you would prefer a rolled up newspaper as a weapon against a dictator or a criminal intruder." [38]

Heston was the president and spokesman of the NRA from 1998 until he resigned in 2003. At the 2000 NRA convention, he raised a rifle over his head and declared that a potential Al Gore administration would take away his Second Amendment rights "from my cold, dead hands".[39] In announcing his resignation in 2003, he again raised a rifle over his head, repeating the five famous words of his 2000 speech.[40] He was an honorary life member.[40]

In the 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore interviewed Heston in his home, asking him about an April 1999 NRA meeting held shortly after the Columbine high school massacre, in Denver, Colorado. Moore criticized Heston for the perceived thoughtlessness in the timing and location of the meeting. Heston, on-camera, excused himself and walked out. Moore was later criticized for his perceived ambush.[41][42][43]

Actor George Clooney joked about Heston's failing health at a 2003 National Board of Review award ceremony, saying that Heston "announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's." When questioned, Clooney said Heston deserved whatever was said about him for his involvement with the NRA.[44] Heston responded by saying Clooney lacked class, and said he felt sorry for Clooney, as Clooney had as much of a chance of developing Alzheimer's as anyone else.[45]

Heston opposed abortion and gave the introduction to a 1987 pro-life documentary by Bernard Nathanson called Eclipse of Reason which focuses on late-term abortions. Heston served on the Advisory Board of Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog group founded by Reed Irvine.[46]

Later life and death

In 1996, Heston had a hip replacement. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. Following a course of radiation treatment, the cancer went into remission. In 2000, he publicly disclosed that he had been treated for alcoholism at a Utah clinic in May–June of that year.[47] On August 9, 2002, Heston publicly announced he was diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.[48] In July 2003, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House from President George W. Bush. In March 2005, various newspapers reported that family and friends were shocked by the progression of his illness, and that he was sometimes unable to get out of bed. In August 2005, it was reported that Heston was hospitalized at a Los Angeles hospital with pneumonia, but this was never confirmed by his family or spokesman. In April 2006, various news sources reported that Heston's illness was at an advanced stage and that his family was worried he might not survive the year. In March 2008, just a few weeks before his death, it was reported that he was now in the final stages of Alzheimer's.

Heston died on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with Lydia, his wife of 64 years, by his side. He was also survived by his son, Fraser Clarke Heston, and adopted daughter, Holly Ann Heston. The cause of death was not disclosed by the family.[49][50] Heston's family released a statement, reading, "Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiselled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. 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."[51] Early tributes came in from leading figures; President George W. Bush called Heston "a man of character and integrity, with a big heart", adding, "He served his country during World War II, marched in the civil rights movement, led a labor union and vigorously defended Americans’ Second Amendment rights [to bear arms]."[51] Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said that she was "heartbroken" over Heston's death and released a statement, reading, "I will never forget Chuck as a hero on the big screen in the roles he played, but more importantly I considered him a hero in life for the many times that he stepped up to support Ronnie in whatever he was doing."[51]

Heston's funeral was held a week later on April 12, 2008, in a ceremony which was attended by 250 people including Nancy Reagan and Hollywood stars such as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia de Havilland, Keith Carradine, Pat Boone, Tom Selleck, Oliver Stone, Rob Reiner, and Christian Bale.[52][53][54] The funeral was held at Episcopal Parish of St. Matthew's Church in Pacific Palisades, California, the church where Heston regularly worshipped and attended Sunday services since the early 1980s.[55][56] He was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.[57]

Legacy

[[File:|right|thumb|The handprints of Charlton Heston in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park]] Richard Corliss wrote in Time magazine, "From start to finish, Heston was a grand, ornery anachronism, the sinewy symbol of a time when Hollywood took itself seriously, when heroes came from history books, not comic books. Epics like Ben-Hur or El Cid simply couldn't be made today, in part because popular culture has changed as much as political fashion. But mainly because there's no one remotely like Charlton Heston to infuse the form with his stature, fire and guts."[58]

Heston's cinematic legacy was the subject of Cinematic Atlas: The Triumphs of Charlton Heston, an eleven-film retrospective by the Film Society of the Lincoln Center that was shown at the Walter Reade Theater from August 29 to September 4, 2008.[59]

On April 17, 2010, Heston was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Hall of Great Western Performers.[60]

Filmography

For a complete filmography, see Charlton Heston filmography

Bibliography

Heston's books include autobiographies and religious books:

References

  1. ^ MSNBC. Charlton Heston dead at 84.
  2. ^ http://www.ancestry.com Date confirmed through 1930 US Census.
  3. ^ Berkvist, Robert (April 6, 2008). "Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 84.". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/movies/06heston.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-04-06. "Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60-year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 84." 
  4. ^ Film Reference Biography.
  5. ^ Berkvist, Robert (2008-04-06). "Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 84". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/movies/06heston.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Charlton Heston - Biography". IMDb: The Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000032/bio. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Charlton Heston Biography". biography.com. http://www.biography.com/articles/Charlton-Heston-9337556. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  8. ^ a b c Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995. ISBN 0-684-80394-1.
  9. ^ Werling, Karen (2008-04-16). "Appreciation: Charlton Heston’s life as a Wildcat". North by Northwestern. http://www.northbynorthwestern.com/2008/04/9017/heston-at-northwestern/. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  10. ^ Schultz, Rick (1995). "Appreciation: Charlton Heston’s Interview, Articles, & Tribute". http://charltonhestonworld.homestead.com/ChuckInterviews.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  11. ^ "Hollywood legend Charlton Heston was proud of Scots roots". Daily Record. 2008-04-07. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/entertainment-news/2008/04/07/hollywood-legend-charlton-heston-was-proud-of-scots-roots-86908-20375323/. 
  12. ^ My Bay City article, February 5, 2006.
  13. ^ Habermehl, Kris (2007-01-25). "Fire Breaks Out At Prestigious High School". http://cbs2chicago.com/local/New.Trier.High.2.334860.html. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  14. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=319357
  15. ^ [1] IMDB Film Biography.
  16. ^ a b c Thomas, Bob (April 6, 2008). "Film Legend Charlton Heston Dead at 84". Associated Press. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hIhnqF6LygGpQ54CQdntp6c74tTwD8VSHEV81. 
  17. ^ Vidal, Gore Palimpsest-A Memoir. 1995. pp. 303-307.
  18. ^ Heston, Charlton In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 187. ISBN 0-684-80394-1.
  19. ^ SAG Presidents, Screen Actors Guild.
  20. ^ Variety, February 12, 2004.
  21. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 479. ISBN 0-684-80394-1.
  22. ^ Mathews, Jay (May 2, 1986). "Charlton Heston, Statesman On the Set; For the 'Colbys' Star, Acting Is Only Part of the Job". The Washington Post: p. D1. 
  23. ^ Taylor, Quintard (1998). In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 285. ISBN 9780393318890. http://books.google.com/books?id=9Nj1lVZQAcYC&pg=PA285&dq=Oklahoma+1961+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=W9P4R5zpG5zkyAT4idmDDw&sig=b7pJR3wb17hAeynu-EITSR82gRM. 
  24. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 261. ISBN 0-684-80394-1.
  25. ^ Goodrich, Terry Lee (February 13, 2000). "Heston decries political correctness at fund-raiser". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 5. 
  26. ^ David Plotz; Slate. NRA President Charlton Heston.
  27. ^ Slate. Charlton Heston, Gun-Controller!
  28. ^ Heston, Charlton: In The Arena, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 433. ISBN 0-684-80394-1.
  29. ^ Pulera, Dominic J. (2006). Sharing the Dream: White Males in Multicultural America. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 254. ISBN 9780826418296. http://books.google.com/books?id=DL3qyFCCp_0C&pg=PA254&dq=%22voted+for+Richard+Nixon%22+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=L874R9WFGYzcygSbnqmwCQ&sig=WoFAecl4GZVXcLzcr6RQ58HSNns. 
  30. ^ Raymond, Emilie (2006). From My Cold, Dead Hands Charlton Heston and American Politics. University Press of Kentucky. p. 6. ISBN 9780813124087. http://books.google.com/books?id=1tujw3ajlDMC&pg=PA6&dq=%22affirmative+action%22+%22Charlton+Heston%22&ei=Mc_4R6O6G4PUzATl8vlE&sig=zD6MazBdl6ad_61k0trPe1UFt0M. 
  31. ^ McDowell, Charles (September 14, 1997). "Charlton Heston, the Gun Lobbyist". Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia): p. B1. 
  32. ^ Raymond, p. 276.
  33. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080406/ap_on_en_mo/obit_heston
  34. ^ http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Fighting_the_Culture_War_in_America
  35. ^ Heston, Charlton. Winning the Cultural War. February 16, 1999.
  36. ^ Heston, Charlton. Winning the Cultural War. February 16, 1999.
  37. ^ Charlton Heston at the Internet Movie Database
  38. ^ GOLD, Dudley Susan. Open For Debate: Gun Control. Benchmark Books. January 2004.
  39. ^ Variety, June 13, 2000: "Gore fires back after Heston tirade".
  40. ^ a b Johnson, Jeff (April 25, 2003). "Heston to Step down as NRA President". The Nation. http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=%5CNation%5Carchive%5C200304%5CNAT20030425f.html. 
  41. ^ Russo, Tom (August 24, 2003). "Opposites Attract (Bowling for Columbine review)". Boston Globe. 
  42. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 18, 2004). "'9/11': Just the facts?". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 55.  "In some cases, [Moore] was guilty of making a good story better, but in other cases (such as his ambush of Charlton Heston) he was unfair..."
  43. ^ Whitty, Stephen (2008-04-06). "The best action hero". The Star-Ledger. http://blog.nj.com/whitty/2008/04/the_best_action_hero.html#more. 
  44. ^ What's up with George Clooney? WorldNetDaily.com. January 20, 2003.
  45. ^ Heston Slams Clooney For Alzheimer's Joke. TheBostonChannel.com. January 23, 2003."
  46. ^ "FAQ". Accuracy in Media. http://www.aim.org/about/frequently-asked-questions-faq/. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  47. ^ Charlton Heston 'feeling good' after alcohol rehab.
  48. ^ Charlton Heston has Alzheimer's symptoms. CNN News. August 9, 2002.
  49. ^ Welkos, Robert W. and Susan King. Charlton Heston, 84; actor played epic figures. Los Angeles Times. April 5, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  50. ^ Charlton Heston Dies at Beverly Hills Home. FoxNews.com. April 5, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  51. ^ a b c Ayres, Chris (April 7, 2008). "Charlton Heston, a star who defied the Hollywood liberals, dies at 83". The Times Online (Los Angeles, California). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3695075.ece. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  52. ^ Politicians, actors and relatives gather for funeral of Hollywood icon Charlton Heston, International Herald Tribune, retrieved April 12, 2008.
  53. ^ "Stars attend Heston's LA funeral" - BBC News - Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Sunday, April 13, 2008, 12:39 UK.
  54. ^ "FRASER HESTON in conversation with JAMES BYRNE". Secret of the Incas web site. 6-May 12, 2008. http://www.secretoftheincas.co.uk/page28.html. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  55. ^ "Memorial to Mr. Charlton Heston". Charlton Heston World. http://charltonhestonworld.homestead.com/MemorialToMrCharltonHeston.html#anchor_291. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  56. ^ Bob Thomas, Associated Press Writer (2008-04-12). "Luminaries Attend Heston's Funeral". msnbc.com. http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2008/04/12/1426985-luminaries-attend-hestons-funeral. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  57. ^ "Stars Attend Heston's LA Funeral". BBC. April 13, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7345103.stm. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  58. ^ "Charlton Heston: The Epic Man" by Richard Corliss, TIME - Thursday, April 10, 2008.
  59. ^ "Cinematic Atlas: The Triumphs of Charlton Heston". Film Society of the Lincoln Center. http://filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/charltonheston.html. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  60. ^ "Hall of Great Western Performers". National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/info/awards-hof/Western-Performers.aspx. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 

External links

Biography portal
United States Army portal
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Marion P. Hammer
President of the National Rifle Association
1998 – 2003
Succeeded by
Kayne Robinson


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

As an actor, I'm thankful I have lived not one life, but many.

Charlton Heston (4 October 19245 April 2008), born John Charles Carter, was an American film actor noted for his heroic roles and for his long involvement in political issues, mainly as five-time president of the National Rifle Association.

Contents

Sourced

I have lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. I found purpose and meaning in your response.
  • Let me make a short, opening, blanket comment. There are no "good guns". There are no "bad guns". Any gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a decent person is no threat to anybody — except bad people.
    • Interview on Meet the Press (18 May 1997)
  • You could say that the paparazzi and the tabloids are sort of the "assault weapons" of the First Amendment. They're ugly, a lot of people don't like them, but they're protected by the First Amendment — just as "assault weapons" are protected by the Second Amendment.
    • Interview Fox News Channel (15 September 1997)
  • You do not define the First Amendment. It defines you. And it is bigger than you. That's how freedom works. It also demands you do your homework. Again and again, I hear gun owners say, how can we believe anything the anti-gun media says when they can't even get the facts right? For too long, you have swallowed manufactured statistics and fabricated technical support from anti-gun organizations that wouldn't know a semi-auto from a sharp stick. And it shows. You fall for it every time.
    • Speech to the National Press Club (14 September 1997)
  • I simply cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack from those who either can't understand it, don't like the sound of it, or find themselves too philosophically squeamish to see why it remains the first among equals: Because it is the right we turn to when all else fails. That's why the Second Amendment is America's first freedom.
    • Speech to the National Press Club (14 September 1997)
  • Now, I doubt any of you would prefer a rolled up newspaper as a weapon against a dictator or a criminal intruder. Yet in essence, that is what you have asked our loved ones to do, through an ill-contrived and totally naive campaign against the Second Amendment.
    • Speech to the National Press Club (14 September 1997)
  • Telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind.
    Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?
    Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe?
    It scares me to death and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason.
    You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are — by your grandfathers' standards — cowards.
  • I remember a decade ago at my first annual meeting in St. Louis. After my banquet remarks to a packed house, they presented me with a very special gift. It was a splendid hand-crafted musket.
    I admit I was overcome by the power of its simple symbolism. I looked at that musket and I thought of all of the lives given for that freedom. I thought of all of the lives saved with that freedom. It dawned on me that the doorway to all freedoms is framed by muskets.
    So I lifted that musket over my head for all to see. And as flashbulbs popped around the room, my heart and a few tears swelled up, and I uttered five unscripted words. When I did, that room exploded in sustained applause and hoots and shouts that seemed to last forever. ... So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: From my cold dead hands!
    • Speech at NRA Convention in Charlotte North Carolina (20 May 2000)

Los Angeles Times interview (1956)

"Moses Film Role Awes Portrayer" by Dan. L. Thrapp, in Los Angeles Times (28 October 1956)
I always work on the theory that the audience will believe you best if you believe yourself.
  • I always work on the theory that the audience will believe you best if you believe yourself. This meant that I had to come to understand Moses well enough to believe in my portrayal of him.
  • To me Moses is all men grown to gigantic proportions.
    He was a man of immense ability, immense emotions, immense humanness and immense dedication. There is something of Moses in each of us — the more there is, the better we are.
    It is interesting to note that once Moses climbs Mt. Sinai and talks to God there is never contentment for him again. That is the way it is with us. Once we talk to God, once we get his commission to us for our lives we cannot be again content. We are happier. We are busier. But we are not content because then we have a mission — a commission, rather.
  • Moses is the keystone to every man's ethical code. He was the first man of record in history to conceive of the law as separate from the will of a ruler, to choose whether a man should live by grace of law, or law by grace of man. In a literal sense Moses lives at every council table today.

Sunday Times interview (1990)

"Charlton Heston: Great sport with a line in heroic role models" by Jani Allan, in the Sunday Times (17 June 1990)
  • It's fashionable for modern actors to talk about getting 'inside' a character. But you can't get to the inside without getting the outside right first.
  • Celebrity is a corrosive condition for the soul. I have tried to restrain its inroads on me, but there are odd corners of my character that have been harmed.
  • I used to think if it wasn't possible to be a family man and a totally dedicated artist, I'd rather be the former. I'm an idealist and a romantic.
  • To be an actor you need four things: energy, concentration, a lot of luck and, of course, good roles.
  • I have played some of the great men in history and I believe in the great man who does heroic deeds, even in these egalitarian times.

Video farewell (2002)

Video taped message, announcing that he had symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (9 August 2002)
  • My dear friends, colleagues, and fans, my physicians have recently told me I may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimer's disease. So I wanted to prepare a few words for you now because when the time comes, I may not be able to.
  • I have lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. I found purpose and meaning in your response. For an actor that is no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can't part with you, which is why I won't exclude you from this stage in my life.
    For now, I'm not changing anything. I will insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you will know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway.
  • I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I believe I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew. But it's a fight I must someday call a draw. I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure.
  • I also want you to know I'm grateful beyond measure. My life has been blessed with good fortune. I'm grateful I was born in America, that cradle of freedom and opportunity where a kid from the Michigan North Woods can work hard and make something of his life. I'm grateful for the greatest words ever written, that let me share with you the infinite scope of the human experience.
    As an actor, I'm thankful I have lived not one life, but many.

Film roles

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File:Charlton Heston Civil Rights March
Charlton Heston at a Civil Rights March in 1963

Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923April 5, 2008) was an American actor. He had many big roles, such as playing Moses in the film The Ten Commandments, astronaut Colonel George Taylor in the film Planet of the Apes, and the Academy Award-winning role of Judah Ben-Hur in the film Ben-Hur.

Heston was also known for his politics. When he was young he held liberal views and marched with people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights in the 1960s. It was rare for a Hollywood actor to be for such causes at that time. Later in his life, he was for conservative causes such as gun rights. He was president of the National Rifle Association, a group that is for the rights of gun owners, from 1998 to 2003.

Late in his life, Heston had Alzheimer's disease. He died in 2008 of pneumonia, aged 84.

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