: LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Charlton Heston, the chisel-jawed Hollywood icon best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance in the 1959 epic "Ben Hur" has died at his home, his family said. He was 84.
Heston's family said in a statement that the actor famed for his heroic roles and portrayal of historical figures ranging from Moses to Michelangelo died Saturday with his wife of 64 years, Lydia, by his side.
The actor, an outspoken liberal Democrat during the 1960s who later attracted controversy for his unapologetic support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and conservative causes, had been battling Alzheimer's.
"To his loving friends, colleagues and fans, we appreciate your heartfelt prayers and support," the Heston family said in a statement.
"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.
"Indeed, he committed himself to every role with passion, and pursued every cause with unmatched enthusiasm and integrity," the statement went on to say.
"We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle grandfather, with an infectious sense of humor. He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity.
Heston's long-time representative Michael Levine said the actor's death represented not only "the loss of a great actor and human being, but also the end of an era."
Born John Charlton Carter on October 4, 1923 in Evanston, Illinois, Heston created his pseudonym by combining his mother's maiden name, Charlton, with his stepfather's name, Heston.
His talent for acting was discovered fter his family moved to suburban Chicago, where he became the star in several school plays.
From there, he went to nearby Northwestern University, served in the air force in World War II and eventually landed on Broadway, making his debut in "Antony and Cleopatra." He made his feature film debut in 1941 appearing as the lead character in "Peer Gynt."
His penchant for playing historical figures was in evidence again when he appeared as Mark Anthony in 1950's "Julius Caesar", yet it was his performance as circus manager Brad Baden in the Cecil B. DeMille epic "The Greatest Show on Earth", that signalled his star potential.
Another collaboration with DeMille saw him star as Moses in the blockbuster 1956 film "The Ten Commandments", before William Wyler's landmark Roman chariot-racing epic "Ben Hur."
Weighing in at nearly four hours in length, the film was to mark the zenith of the then Hollywood fashion for lavish biblical-themed productions.
In later years Heston would often recall that before filming the climactic scene in "Ben-Hur," director Wyler told him that if he could just stay in the chariot, Wyler could guarantee he would win the race.
As well as "Ben Hur", Heston played dozens of fictional and historical heroes, playing the lead in "El Cid" 1961 and starring as Michelangelo in "The Agony and the Ecstasy" (1965).
"I've played cardinals and cowboys, kings and quarterbacks, presidents and painters, cops and conmen," Heston once said.
Other memorable roles include a marooned astronaut in the superb 1968 science-fiction film "Planet of the Apes" and a detective in another futuristic cult classic, 1973's "Soylent Green".
In later years Heston worked on successful television soap operas including "Dynasty" and its spinoff, "The Colbys."
The last decade of his life saw Heston often in the spotlight for his outspoken political views and his vociferous support and leadership of the NRA.
Although he had been a self-proclaimed liberal during the 1960s -- accompanying the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. during 1963's civil rights march in Washington -- his political views later swung sharply to the right.
As president of the NRA he achieved notoriety in 2000 when declaring at the organisation's convention that his guns would have to be taken away "from my cold, dead hands."
Heston had hip replacement surgery in 1998 and survived prostate cancer that same year. In August 2002 he announced that he had Alzheimer's, a condition he battled with characteristic grit.
"What cannot be cured must be endured," he said when asked about his illness in what was believed to be his final televised interview in 2002.
One year later he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He is survived by two children, Fraser Clarke Heston and Holly Heston Rochell, and three grandchildren, Jack Alexander Heston, Ridley Rochell and Charlie Rochell.
A very sad moment.
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I knew people would be ignorant on this thread..when someone dies, if you have nothing nice to say, dont say anything at all. My condolences to his family..he was one of the greatest actors of all time, R.I.P
my great grandma use to make us watch The Ten Commandments every Easter...and Christmas...and anytime we went to her house.....matta fact, she just made us watch it a few weeks ago.........lol
and 64 yrs of marriage....u dont see that no more!!!
but may he RIP...and God bless his fam..
the dem plantation in you says, 'call him a racist cuz he was for gun rights.'
forget his civil rights work because he had a conservative issue at heart and therefore the plantation tells us he must be an intolerant, racist, greedy warmonger...like the plantation says all conservatives are.
good stuff you fascist, brainwashed libs.
"By the 1980's, Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights, and changed his political affiliation from Democratic to Republican. He campaigned for Republicans and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush."
Hey Transfixion & the other dumbasses who CLEARLY dont know who Charlton Heston was--like the article stated "he WAS a liberal democrat in the 1960's"!! He switched parties in the 80's & became STAUNCH FAR RIGHT REPUBLICAN. He campaigned for Reagan & both Bushes & was a lifelong member of the NRA. get your facts straight or learn how to read before you go calling someone out & looking like a dumbass yourself.
So because he was Republican he's racist? Nice theory. I mean you can reference statements he made about getting guns out of the hands of African Americans as being bigotted but the fact is that more homicides are comitted by us with guns than anyone else, for all the things he was lacking in I don't think statistics was one of them. Gotta stop blaming white people at some point don't you think?
looks like you're going to be mad at whites for a long time...i just got back from the chemical dump where i skeeted all my disposables into your faucet and i'll never stop. it's so much fun for all us whites to do. we can't stop laughing at how much fun it is. it's all we talk about. we'll never call a truce!
you dumb as hell
RIP Heston was a great actor.
Regardless of the role, he always put his every fiber into it, and for that along with MARCHING with DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING in MARCH ON WASHINGTON, he deserves our respect and his family our sympathy.
Who are we to judge him or his reasons for being a strong advocate for guns.(NRA)
Besides it is a constitutional right, and until they change the laws, your criticism is unjust & based only on your individual opinions, which we all know,are like a/s/s/holes--------------everyone has one. LOL
HEY DUMMY mackofdimes,
JUST CAUSE HE WAS FOR GUN RIGHTS DOES NOT MEAN HE WASNT RACIST! !
Where do you get your critical thinking from?
HE WANTED RAP MUSIC BANNED BACK IN THE 90's...
HE IS ALSO AGAINST OTHER RACES OVER POPULATING! !
GO FIGURE DUMB A*S*S! ! !
>>rest in hell Charlie you trigger happy bigot. most of you probably don't even remember when he said the reason we have a gun problem in this country is because of minorities...or "n/ggers".>>
You're right. And so are you GirlyGirl. I agree with you all both. I mean, yes, he was a bonafide Hollywood star and all, in the Golden Age of Hollywood, as well as a cinematic icon. However, that was all negated in my eyes when he decided to march with King and then become a turncoat. I'm sorry, but I just can't forgive his politics and his stance -- especially the racist-ass comment about guns and black folks. And don't be naive. It wasn't about statistics when he said that. I was about his own brand of racism. Period !!
(1) C. Delores Tucker and dozens of Black reverends have called for the end of - or at least major changes to - rap music.
(2) Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell are Republicans.
(3) Obviously every Black rapper who has a basement full of guns - i.e. T.I. - is a gun-rights supporter, too.
(4) You guys are too stuck on political parties. What if Barack Obama held the same beliefs he has now about ending the Iraq War and improving the country, yet identified himself as Republican; would you not want to vote for him?
Transfixion--go away. u already made an ass out of urself once tryna act like you knew something u didnt-- u tryin for a 2nd time? u obviously dont know who charlton heston was--go read a book OK. learn something. corny azz n*gga.
TO ALL THE ASSHOLES..YALL ARE SOME OF THE MOST IGNORANT PEOPLE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE...YOU DUMMIES..YOUR TIME IS COMING IGNORANT ASS..YOU BETTER PRAY GOD HAS MERCY ON YOUR SOUL. HE MADE YOU TO STUPID...WHILE YOU ARE SAYING GOOD RIDDENCE...REST IN HELL...AND STUPID ASS COMMENTS LIKE WHO CARES HE WAS OLD...YALL ARE SOME IGNORANT...RETARDED...AND SELFISH BASTARDS. LOOK UP WHAT BASTARD MEANS IN THE DICTIONARY..AND THAT IS HOW YOUR ACTING..WOW!
THERE ARE SOME INHUMAN AND SICK PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THIS WORLD. I SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOU ..THOSE WHO KNOW WHO YOU ARE ..THE NEGATIVE ONES...YALL NEED TO FIND JESUS..AND KEEP HIM. THAT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU NOW...NO ONE WHO KNOWS THE LORD IN THE PARDON OF THEIR OWN SINS COULD BE SO IGNORANT. "THE MAN NEVER DIRECTLY DID ANYTHING TO YOU ALL" WHAT IF HIS FAMILLY GETS ON HERE AND READS THIS WHILE GRIEVING OR OTHERWISE. WHAT IF THAT WAS YOUR GRANDFATHER, FATHER, SON, UNCLE ETC...WOULD YOU WANT TO READ SOME OF THESE KINDS OF THOUGHTS? JUST STUPID!
NO NEED FOR YOU TO COMMENT ME BACK...I WON'T BE BACK INTO THIS FORUM AND I WOULDN'T DREAM OF ENTERTAINING YOUR IGNORANCE ANYWAY..FOR THOSE OF YOU BEHIND THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS WHO WOULD EVEN WASTE THE TIME TRYING TO COMMENT ME BACK..I SAY "WHATEVA MAN"
TO ALL MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS WHO LEFT POSITIVE COMMENTS..PLEASE EXCUSE MY PROFANITY..I AM A CHRISTIAN..BUT GOD IS STILL WORKING ON MY MOUTH WHEN IT COMES TO ME GETTING ANGRY AT IGNORANT FOLKS. I HAVE TO REMEMBER EVERYONE IS NOT WHERE SOME OF US ARE AT WITH OUR HUMANITY AND CARE FOR OTHERS IN THIS WORLD.
MAY HE REST IN PEACE.
AND TO ALL YOU PEOPLE UP THERE WHO ARE SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD, BELIEVE GOD HAS A PUNISHMENT FOR YOU!!!
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Can someone tell me.....
Why is it so terrible to talk bad about dead people? I'm not being smart...I always wondered why people say things like "Don't talk about him he's dead".
Like it's okay to speak ill of people as long as there're alive. But bad when there dead! What's up with that????
I've never seen such a bunch of jigaboo acting negroes like the people posting for this racist piece of trash. If you stand on the mall in DC in the 60's with Martin Luther King, and then in the 70's, 80's, and 90's you support the likes of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, that means you've had a complete change in your political affiliation and racial philosophy. You idiots are bigging up this man because your parents made you watch a movie when you were a kid ?????? Oh my God...we are the dumbest people on this earth, because anybody can sell us a bag of goods.
LOL girlygirl & PrettyBoi
@yankees26...just stop it....but the truth is painful!!
You could have made your "Valid" points with out using that derogaroty term...I didnt appreciate that part...but the rest was spot on!!
Some very good assertions Canastahaley. Actually the premise of The Planet of the Apes was the fact that "mankind" was the lowest and most savage form of being..proof of which, he ultimately annihilated himself. Read a book entitled, "The Making of the Whiteman", by John Paul Gaultier.
YOU need to read. You obviouslydont know about subliminal messages. You must not have seen the post about Lebron James made to look like an ape just on here last week.
Yes they were genrals, doctors etc... But thats how the white man sees black people as a threat. They call us savages and animals all though they are hairy and have dog hair. Do the science research.
You need to study the KING KONG movies and read a book called
Yeah why is it if a person was bad we suppose to BE PHONY and act like they were nice. NO ONE SAID they was glad he was dead or thats what he gets.
People are so confused and scared that it doesnt make sense...
Honestly, more than anything I agree w/ Mspoeticjustyce not the vulgar language, but what she is saying. I read the comments and most of you have no EMPATHY. This man...played the HECK out the role MOSES in the "Ten Commandments". But sense many of you no NOTHING about the Biblical days and what happened in BC/before Christ and after Christ, you wouldn’t understand and how significantly important that movie was and still in the 21st century. There is no MAN no living actor NONE who can justify that role the way channeled it. I never get upset reading post or these head lines. I've always came, commented and been positive, but when I read some of the outstandingly hurtful comments I needed to speak up and share my thoughts. This man lived longer than some of us ever will... You all need to be mindful of how you say things and what you said because the Lord very well can take that into accountability. Again it is not my intention to be rude, but this paragraph needs to resonate with some of you. May everyone when it's there time to pass on reside within the Lord and his Holy Kingdom.
@GooDGIRL2.…..Finally a person with a mind of their own. And not one that has been cluttered with traditional, and mental programming. This clutter has, and continues to clog the minds of so many.
To GooDGirl2,“Don’t speak ill of the dead” is just another one of those generational hand me down statements that has no merit, or logic. Yet the very people that continue to spew this nonsensical statement,--(don’t speak ill of the dead)-- have no problem, speaking very ill of the living. The dead-- nor can, nor care, how they are viewed, or spoken about when they are dead. The dead may only attend to the business of the state, of being dead. People continue to pass down, these illogical statements, such as-- (don’t speak ill of the dead)-- because they are merely regurgitating the crap, and nonsense, that has been passed down to them. Thus, they have never stopped, and ask themselves where, and why these stupid statements like-- (don’t speak ill of the dead) originated. In other words they don’t have the guts, or the capacities, to ask questions. These are the types of people, that take everything they’re spoon fed, and swallow it without question. (Generational hand me down garbage.)
To GoodGirl2, you are on the right path. Question everything. Start taking staunch notice of what those around you may say. And take even more careful notice, of what comes out of your own mouth. And you will begin to unravel the truth, to all. REAL, Knowledge, is not something that can be learned in college. For this is acquired knowledge, that anyone with one hundred thousand dollars can buy. Keep in mind that teachers, can only teach what they themselves have been taught. TRUE KNOWLEDGE, however comes from observation, and the mental dissection of those observations. Einstein said it, and I will say it. QUESTION EVERYTHING, and you will find the real truth. THE REAL TRUTH.
PS. And to the Charlton Heston family (the living). To you-- the family. I say rest in peace. For the dead, may only attend to the business of the dead. E.
Looking at this picture, this is why most celebs retire from the public after they retire from acting. He has a bad toupee and yellow teeth yet made millions and could afford the best.
Heston marched during the civil rights era and did change his political views in later years. After leading the NRA, many people no longer cared for him
I SAID I WOULDN'T BE BACK ON HERE SO AS NOT ENTERTAIN ANY OF THE IGNORANCE, AND STILL I WON'T ENTERTAIN IT. I ASKED TO BE EXCUSED FOR THE USE OF MY PROFANITY IN MY PREVIOUS PARAGRAPHS....NOT AN EXCUSING OF WHAT I STATED. YOUNG MAN WHO SAID FOR ME TO SHUT THE "F" UP....WOW, THAT IS AAALLLLLLL YOU COULD COME UP WITH? YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST MYSPACED THAT RESPONSE, I WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT SOONER....LOL! I DO HAVE YOUR MYSPACE PAGE THOUGH..ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT USE IT. EVEN WITH THE PROFANITY I CHOSE TO USE, I STILL ALLOWED MY INTELLIGENCE. I AM JUST GLAD AT SOME POINT SOMEONE ELSE BECAME NEWS...."SMH"