Charlton Heston has died aged 83

Charlton HestonCharlton Heston has died aged 83.

BBC News report:

Heston died on Saturday at his home in Beverly Hills. His wife Lydia, whom he married in 1944, was at his side.

Heston also portrayed Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics of the 1950s and 1960s.

He stepped down as president of US gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), in 2003, citing ill-health.

The previous year, he had revealed he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.

In a long career he became best known for his roles as Moses in The Ten Commandments, Colonel George Taylor in Planet of the Apes and Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur.

He also played a part in getting Orson Welles to direct the classic 1958 film noir Touch of Evil, in which he also starred.

Reuters have compiled a factbox about him:

  • He was born John Charlton Carter but took his stepfather’s last name for his stage name.
  • In “The Ten Commandments” Heston not only played Moses, he supplied the voice of God. His son, Fraser, 3 months old at the time, played the baby Moses floating down the Nile in a basket.
  • Heston was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and before becoming a conservative Republican he campaigned on behalf of Democrats Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy.
  • Heston served as president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003. He once summed up his belief in the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which includes the right to bear arms, by calling it “America’s first freedom, the one that protects the others.”
  • He often appeared at conventions holding an antique flintlock rifle above his head and telling gun-control advocates they would not get his gun unless they could pry it “from my cold, dead hands.”

Here is the famous ending to Planet of the Apes:

> BBC News report on Charlton Heston’s death
> Charlton Heston at the IMDb
> Find out more about Charlton Heston at Wikipedia