Charlton Heston: 1923 – 2008
Read the Time Out tribute to the late Charlton Heston who died on April 5 2008, aged 84
We are sad to note the passing last weekend of the Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston – the chiselled-chinned star of such biblical and historical epics as ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’ – who died, aged 84, following a period suffering from Alzheimer’s. A one-time civil rights supporter, his last roles included Josef Mengele, reprising his role as Ben Hur (voice-only) and playing an uncredited role as Tim Roth’s father in Tim Burton’s remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’.
The end of his career may be remembered, however, for his reputation-tarnishing appearance in Michael Moore’s documentary ‘Bowling for Columbine’, where he allowed himself to be partly demonised by the impertinent director. Pursued and questioned in his role as president of the US National Rifle Association in the film, he is again quoted as saying his rifle could only be taken away from his ‘cold dead hands’.
– He was considered for the title role of the famous British TV series ‘I Claudius’ back in the mid-70's (along with Ronnie Barker). The part, perhaps for the best, went to Derek Jacobi.
Here are five interesting facts about the late actor:
– Though Heston was a Republican godhead later in life, he actually campaigned for Democrat presidential candidates Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy during the sixties. He was also good friends with Ronald Reagan.
– Born John Charles Carter, he shared a name with the hero of Edgar Rice Burrough's ‘Barsoom’ books, which featured an American Civil War veteran who would fight aliens on Mars. Heston chose to change his name to in order to separate himself from this sci-fi hero.
– It was Heston’s 1974 film 'Earthquake' where ‘Sensurround’ was first used, a process whereby the film studio would install bass-heavy speakers in the cinema which were so loud and deep they would rattle the entire cinema. It never really caught on, as cinema buildings were damaged, moviegoers suffered injury and there were complaints from adjacent auditoriums where patrons were trying to enjoy ‘The Godfather II’. Both films were written by Mario Puzo.
– In the run-up to the 2001 Oscar ceremony, Heston admitted to voting for Russell Crowe to win the Best Actor statue for ‘Gladiator’. He said, ‘I hope he gets it. He’s very good’.
Author: Time Out
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