Charlton Heston Acting Legend Dead at 84
Another icon of Hollywood has passed. Charlton Heston, best known as Ben Hur – he won the 1959 best actor Oscar. He also played Moses, Michelangelo and El Cid. Heston died at his home on Saturday night at the age of 84.
But I’ll remember Charlton Heston as one of the rare early outspoken right wingers of Hollywood.
In June 1998, Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association, for which he had posed for ads holding a rifle. He delivered a jab at then-President Clinton, saying, ”America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”
In April of 2003 Heston was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. ”The largeness of character that comes across the screen has also been seen throughout his life,” President Bush said at the time.
Heston also had a long 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 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.
A statement from his family said, “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. In his own words, “I have lived such a wonderful life! I’ve lived enough for two people.”
A private memorial service will be held. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund:
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Posted: 2230PT 04/05/08