Charlton Heston (4 October 1923 - 5 April 2008)

 4 October 1923, Wilmette, Illinois, USA

Date of Death
5 April 2008, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (pneumonia)

Birth Name
John Charles Carter


6' 2½" (1.89 m)
 With features chiseled in stone, who else but Charlton Heston could you picture as Michelangelo, as Ben-Hur, as Moses? Heston's movie career took off with El mayor espectáculo del mundo (1952) and reached light speed with Ben-Hur (1959). Although he has played a pantheon of larger-than-life roles, he usually prefers to talk about the day-to-day daily grind of the movie business, and especially credits the writers and directors he has worked for much of his success.
 Renowned for playing a long list of historical figures, particularly in Biblical epics, the tall, well built and ruggedly handsome Charlton Heston is one of Hollywood's greatest leading men and remained active in front of movie cameras for over sixty years.
 Heston was born John Charles Carter on October 4th 1924 in Evanston, Illinois, and made his feature film debut as the lead character in a 16mm production of Peer Gynt (1941), based on the Henrik Ibsen play. Shortly thereafter, he played 'Marc Antony' in Julius Caesar (1950), however Heston firmly stamped himself as genuine leading man material with his performance as circus manager 'Brad Braden' in the Cecil B. DeMille spectacular El mayor espectáculo del mundo (1952), also starring James Stewart and Cornel Wilde. The now very popular actor remained perpetually busy during the 1950s, both on TV and on the silver screen with audience pleasing performances in the steamy thriller Cuando ruge la marabunta (1954), as a treasure hunter in El secreto de los incas (1954) and another barn storming performance for Cecil B. DeMille as "Moses" in the blockbuster Los diez mandamientos (1956). Heston delivered further dynamic performances in the oily film noir thriller Sed de mal (1958), and then alongside Gregory Peck in the western Horizontes de grandeza (1958) before scoring the role for which he is arguably best known, that of the wronged Jewish prince who seeks his freedom and revenge in the William Wyler directed Ben-Hur (1959). This mammoth Biblical epic running in excess of three and a half hours became the standard by which other large scale productions would be judged, and it's superb cast also including Stephen Boyd as the villainous "Massala", English actor Jack Hawkins as the Roman officer "Quintus Arrius", and Australian actor Frank Thring as "Pontius Pilate", all contributed wonderful performances.
 Never one to rest on his laurels, steely Heston remained the preferred choice of directors to lead the cast in major historical productions and during the 1960s he starred as Spanish legend "Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar" in El Cid (1961), as a US soldier battling hostile Chinese boxers during 55 días en Pekín (1963), played the ill-fated "John the Baptist" in La historia más grande jamás contada (1965), the masterful painter "Michelangelo" battling Pope Julius II in El tormento y el éxtasis (1965), and an English general in Khartoum (1966). In 1968, Heston filmed the unusual western El más valiente entre mil (1968) about an aging and lonely cowboy befriending a lost woman and her son, which Heston has often referred to as his favorite piece of work on screen.
 Interestingly, Heston was on the verge of acquiring an entirely new league of fans due to his appearance in four very topical science fiction films (all based on popular novels) painting bleak future's for mankind. In 1968, Heston starred as time traveling astronaut "George Taylor", in the terrific El planeta de los simios (1968) with it's now legendary conclusion as Heston realizes the true horror of his destination. He returned to reprise the role, albeit primarily as a cameo, alongside fellow astronaut James Franciscus in the slightly inferior sequel Regreso al planeta de los simios (1970). Next up, Heston again found himself facing the apocalypse in El último hombre... vivo (1971) as the survivor of a germ plague that has wiped out humanity leaving only bands of psychotic lunatics roaming the cities who seek to kill the uninfected Heston. And fourthly, taking its inspiration from the Harry Harrison novel "Make Room!, Make Room!", Heston starred alongside screen legend Edward G. Robinson and Chuck Connors in Soylent Green: Cuando el destino nos alcance (1973). During the remainder of the 1970s, Heston appeared in two very popular "disaster movies" contributing lead roles in the far fetched Aeropuerto 75 (1974), plus in the star laden Terremoto (1974), filmed in "Sensoround" (low bass speakers were installed in selected theaters to simulate the earthquake rumblings on screen to movie audiences). He played an evil Cardinal in the lively Los cuatro mosqueteros (1974), a mythical US naval officer in the recreation of La batalla de Midway (1976), also filmed in "Sensoround", an LA cop trying to stop a sniper in Pánico en el estadio (1976) and another US naval officer in the submarine thriller Alerta roja: Neptuno hundido (1978)
Heston appeared in numerous episodes of the high rating TV series "Dinastía" (1981) and "Los Colby" (1985), before moving onto a mixed bag of projects including TV adaptations of La isla del tesoro (1990) (TV) and Un hombre para la eternidad (1988) (TV), hosting two episodes of the comedy show, "Saturday Night Live" (1975), starring as the "Good Actor" bringing love struck Mike Myers to tears in Wayne's world 2 - ¡Qué desparrame 2! (1993), and as the eye patch wearing boss of intelligence agent Arnold Schwarzenegger in Mentiras arriesgadas (1994).

 He also narrated numerous TV specials and lent his vocal talents to the animated movie Hércules (1997), the family comedy Como perros y gatos (2001) and an animated version of Ben Hur (2003) (V). Heston made an uncredited appearance in the inferior remake of El planeta de los simios (2001), and his last film appearance to date was in the Holocaust themed drama of My Father, Rua Alguem 5555 (2003).

 Heston has been married to Lydia Marie Clark Heston since March 1944, and they have two children. His highly entertaining autobiography was released in 1995, titled appropriately enough "Into The Arena". Although often criticized for his strong conservative beliefs and involvement with the NRA, Heston was a strong advocate for civil right many years before it became fashionable, and has been a recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, plus the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and has not appeared in a film or TV production since 2003.

Truly, Charlton Heston is one of the legendary figures of US cinema. ----------- ----------- -----------


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