Charlton Heston is dead.

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Soundbreaker Welch?, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Kinda suprised me, but I guess he was getting old. Will the liberals now try to pry his gun from his cold dead hands?


    LOS ANGELES — 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.

    Powers declined to comment on the cause of death or provide further details.

    "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.

    The actor assumed the role of leader offscreen 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 Bill 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 George W. Bush said at the time.

    He engaged in a lengthy feud with liberal Ed Asner during the latter's tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild. His latter-day activism almost overshadowed his achievements as an actor, which were considerable.

    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."

    He liked the cite the number of historical figures he had portrayed:

    Andrew Jackson ("The President's Lady," "The Buccaneer"), Moses ("The Ten Commandments"), title role of "El Cid," John the Baptist ("The Greatest Story Ever Told"), Michelangelo ("The Agony and the Ecstasy"), General Gordon ("Khartoum"), Marc Antony ("Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra"), Cardinal Richelieu ("The Three Musketeers"), Henry VIII ("The Prince and the Pauper").

    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."

    Heston earned star billing from his first Hollywood movie, "Dark City," a 1950 film noir. Cecil B. DeMille next cast him as the circus manager in the all-star "The Greatest Show On Earth," named by the Motion Picture Academy as the best picture of 1952. More movies followed:

    "The Savage," "Ruby Gentry," "The President's Lady," "Pony Express" (as Buffalo Bill Cody), "Arrowhead," "Bad for Each Other," "The Naked Jungle," "Secret of the Incas," "The Far Horizons" (as Clark of the Lewis and Clark trek), "The Private War of Major Benson," "Lucy Gallant."

    Most were forgettable low-budget films, and Heston seemed destined to remain an undistinguished action star. His old boss DeMille rescued him.

    The director had long planned a new version of "The Ten Commandments," which he had made as a silent in 1923 with a radically different approach that combined biblical and modern stories. He was struck by Heston's facial resemblance to Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses, especially the similar broken nose, and put the actor through a long series of tests before giving him the role.

    The Hestons' newborn, Fraser Clarke Heston, played the role of the infant Moses in the film.

    More films followed: the eccentric thriller "Touch of Evil," directed by Orson Welles; William Wyler's "The Big Country," costarring with Gregory Peck; a sea saga, "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" with Gary Cooper.

    Then his greatest role: "Ben-Hur."

    Heston wasn't the first to be considered for the remake of 1925 biblical epic. Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and Rock Hudson had declined the film. Heston plunged into the role, rehearsing two months for the furious chariot race.

    He railed at suggestions the race had been shot with a double: "I couldn't drive it well, but that wasn't necessary. All I had to do was stay on board so they could shoot me there. I didn't have to worry; MGM guaranteed I would win the race."

    The huge success of "Ben-Hur" and Heston's Oscar made him one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood. He combined big-screen epics like "El Cid" and "55 Days at Peking" with lesser ones such as "Diamond Head," "Will Penny" and "Airport 1975." In his later years he played cameos in such films as "Wayne's World 2" and "Tombstone."

    He often returned to the theater, appearing in such plays as "A Long Day's Journey into Night" and "A Man for All Seasons." He starred as a tycoon in the prime-time soap opera, "The Colbys," a two-season spinoff of "Dynasty."

    At his birth in a Chicago suburb on Oct. 4, 1923, his name was Charles Carter. His parents moved to St. Helen, Michigan, 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.

    Charles's parents divorced, and she married Chester Heston, a factory plant superintendent in Wilmette, Illinois, an upscale north Chicago suburb. Shy and feeling displaced in the big city, the boy had trouble adjusting to the new high school. He took refuge in the drama department.

    "What acting offered me was the chance to be many other people," he said in a 1986 interview. "In those days I wasn't satisfied with being me."

    Calling himself Charlton Heston from his mother's maiden name and his stepfather's last name, he won an acting scholarship to Northwestern University in 1941. He excelled in campus plays and appeared on Chicago radio. In 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served as a radio-gunner in the Aleutians.

    In 1944 he married another Northwestern drama student, Lydia Clarke, and after his army discharge in 1947, they moved to New York to seek acting jobs. Finding none, they hired on as codirectors and principal actors at a summer theater in Asheville, North Carolina.

    Back in New York, both Hestons began finding work. With his strong 6-feet-2 build and craggily handsome face, Heston won roles in TV soap operas, plays ("Antony and Cleopatra" with Katherine Cornell) and live TV dramas such as "Julius Caesar," "Macbeth," "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Of Human Bondage."

    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.

    In late years, Heston drew as much publicity for his crusades as for his performances. In addition to his NRA work, he campaigned for Republican presidential and congressional candidates and against affirmative action.

    He 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." He attacked CNN's telecasts from Baghdad as "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

    At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, he castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album that purportedly encouraged cop killing.

    Heston wrote in "In the Arena" that he was proud of what he did "though now I'll surely never be offered another film by Warners, nor get a good review in Time. On the other hand, I doubt I'll get a traffic ticket very soon."


    Well, I've always liked his films, El Cid, Ben Hur, ect, though I haven't seen all of them by no means. He really was legendary, kinda like John Wayne but in a differant way.
     
  2. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Charlton Heston was actually in the Army Air Corps in WWII. He was a radio operator (and gunner?) on B-25's stationed in the Aleutian Islands.

    Oddly enough, his fictional heroism is more well known to the public than his real life courage, including me, that just found out today that he even served in the military.

    Edit: That's right, I have seen him in one WWII film, Midway. Too bad it's overshadowed by Pearl Harbor, the better made film.

    I can't seem to find many WWII films of Heston, only one I found looks like a comedy!

    The Private War of Major Benson
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    I always enjoyed Charlton Heston as an actor. His films the Omega man a Soylent green are some of my favs. As for war films, he starred in Counterpoint where he played an Orchestra conductor captured by the Germans during the battle of the bulge. Not a bad flick, though it has been many years since i saw it last.
     
  4. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Well, I think that sums it up, nicely said...:)
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Wow, I just watched "Planet of the Apes" last night, DVD still in the machine! Made some of myall time favorite movies. I loved it when he was head of the NRA - always something happening.

    Here's a list of movies from IMDB...

    My Father, Rua Alguem 5555 (2003) .... The father (Josef Mengele)
    ... aka Rua Alguem 5555: My Father (International: English title)
    The Order (2001) .... Prof. Walter Finley
    Planet of the Apes (2001) (uncredited) .... Zaius, Thade's Father
    Cats Dogs (2001) (voice) .... The Mastiff
    Town Country (2001) .... Eugenie's Father
    Any Given Sunday (1999) .... Commissioner
    Gideon (1999) .... Addison Sinclair
    Armageddon (1998/I) (voice) .... Narrator
    Hamlet (1996) .... Player King
    Alaska (1996) .... Colin Perry the Poacher
    The Dark Mist (1996) (voice) .... Narrator
    In the Mouth of Madness (1995) .... Jackson Harglow
    True Lies (1994) .... Spencer Trilby
    Tombstone (1993) .... Henry Hooker
    Wayne's World 2 (1993) .... Good Actor
    Gengis Khan (1992) .... Togrul
    Almost an Angel (1990) (uncredited) .... God
    Solar Crisis (1990) .... Adm. 'Skeet' Kelso
    Call from Space (1989) (voice) .... Alien
    Mother Lode (1982) .... Silas McGee/Ian McGee
    The Awakening (1980) .... Matthew Corbeck
    The Mountain Men (1980) .... Bill Tyler
    Gray Lady Down (1978) .... Capt. Paul Blanchard
    Crossed Swords (1977) .... Henry VIII
    Two-Minute Warning (1976) .... Capt. Peter Holly
    Midway (1976) .... Capt. Matthew Garth
    The Last Hard Men (1976) .... Sam Burgade
    The Fun of Your Life (1975) .... Narrator
    Earthquake (1974) .... Stewart Graff
    The Four Musketeers (1974) .... Cardinal Richelieu
    Airport 1975 (1974) .... Alan Murdock
    The Three Musketeers (1973) .... Cardinal Richelieu
    Soylent Green (1973) .... Detective Robert Thorn
    The Call of the Wild (1972) .... John Thornton
    Skyjacked (1972) .... Capt. Henry 'Hank' O'Hara
    The Special London Bridge Special (1972) .... Tennis player
    Antony and Cleopatra (1972) .... Marc Antony
    The Omega Man (1971) .... Robert Neville
    The Hawaiians (1970) .... Whipple 'Whip' Hoxworth
    Julius Caesar (1970) .... Marc Antony
    Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) .... Taylor
    Number One (1969) .... Ron (Cat) Catlan
    Will Penny (1968) .... Will Penny
    Planet of the Apes (1968) .... George Taylor
    Counterpoint (1967) .... Lionel Evans
    All About People (1967) .... Narrator
    Khartoum (1966) .... Gen. Charles 'Chinese' Gordon
    The War Lord (1965) .... Chrysagon
    The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) .... Michelangelo
    Major Dundee (1965) .... Major Amos Charles Dundee
    The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) .... John the Baptist
    55 Days at Peking (1963) .... Maj. Matt Lewis
    Diamond Head (1963) .... Richard 'King' Howland
    The Pigeon That Took Rome (1962) .... Captain Paul MacDougall/Benny the Snatch/Narrator
    El Cid (1961) .... El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar)
    Ben-Hur (1959) .... Judah Ben-Hur
    The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) .... John Sands
    The Buccaneer (1958) .... Gen. Andrew Jackson
    The Big Country (1958) .... Steve Leech
    Touch of Evil (1958) .... Ramon Miguel 'Mike' Vargas
    Three Violent People (1956) .... Capt. Colt Saunders
    The Ten Commandments (1956) .... Moses
    Lucy Gallant (1955) .... Casey Cole
    The Private War of Major Benson (1955) .... Maj. Bernard R. 'Barney' Benson
    The Far Horizons (1955) .... William Clark
    Secret of the Incas (1954) .... Harry Steele
    The Naked Jungle (1954) .... Christopher Leiningen
    Bad for Each Other (1953) .... Dr. Tom Owen
    Arrowhead (1953) .... Ed Bannon
    Pony Express (1953) .... Captain William Frank 'Buffalo Bill' Cody
    The President's Lady (1953) .... President Andrew Jackson
    Ruby Gentry (1952) .... Boake Tackman
    The Savage (1952) .... James 'Jim' Aherne Jr. aka War Bonnet
    The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) .... Brad Braden
    Dark City (1950) .... Danny Haley/Richard Branton
    Julius Caesar (1950) .... Antony
    Peer Gynt (1941) .... Peer Gynt
     

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  6. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Not only was he a fine actor, but he was a 33rd degree Master Mason,
    the highest award a man can recieve in Masonry. His title was "Soverign
    Grand Inspector General"

    Charles
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    RIP - he was a fine actor and a great American. :salute:
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't agree more!
     
  10. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Great man, great actor, great American. :salute:

    My favorite Charlton Heston movies.....

    The Ten Commandments
    The Buccaneer
    El Cid
    55 Days at Peking
    Planet of the Apes

    TO
     
  11. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    How do you know this?
     
  12. Clave

    Clave Well-Known Member

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    An epic life, and epic career - makes most showbiz people look like mayflies...
     
  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    There have been broadcasted all parts of Planet of the Apes on Polish TV recently.That's a pity that the great actor is not among us. :salute:
     
  14. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Yeah, pretty cool guy. Lived a full life. Can't do better than that.
     
  15. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    A year or so ago he had quite a write-up in the Scottish Rite Magazine.
    It told of his life as an actor, a gun rights activate, and his accomplishments
    as a Mason. I'll see if I still have it, it's quite a story.

    Charles
     
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