Sunday, April 06, 2008

RIP - Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Perhaps best known for his Oscar winning role as the title character in "Ben-Hur," I will always remember him first as Taylor from the "Planet of the Apes."

Don't get me wrong, I loved Charlton Heston in "Ben-Hur" which was one of those event movies back in the days before cable tv, VCRs [remember those] and of course DVDs. The first time I watched
"Ben-Hur" was on a little black and white tv with my mom. I can remember my excitement during the chariot race and my fear of the lepers. A few years later I watched "Ben-Hur" for the first time on color tv at my grandparents' house and my grandpa told me about the chariot race [and someone actually getting killed during the filming of it].

I would see Charlton Heston pop up in movies after that, but it wasn't until "The Planet of the Apes" [one of my favorite childhood movie experiences] that he hit a streak of movies that really made me take notice. Mr. Heston had a small role in the sequel 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes" -- and there were of course starring roles in "The Omega Man" and "Soylent Green." Although these movies have not held up as well as my childhood memories of them, Mr. Heston was on a roll as far as I was then concerned. You can imagine my delight when he showed up in the all-star cast of the disaster epic,
"Earthquake."

Despite winning a Best Actor award, Charlton Heston wasn't one of the first names that came to mind when discussing great actors. Yet, when I think of all the movies that I've enjoyed that he's appeared in from "Ben Hur" to "Tombstone," you'd have to agree that he had talent enough to make him a star.

In his later years, Charlton Heston became more known for his strict conservative political views than his acting. This was quite a change from his liberal views in the 1950's and 60's. In 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he was suffering from sympton's of
Alzheimer's disease.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of Charlton Heston.

3 comments:

Dianna said...

Mr. Heston will forever be remembered for the historic figures he portrayed on the silver screen. From John the Baptist to Moses to Cardinal Richeleu to Taylor of Planet of the Apes. His talent was large as was the man himself. His morality was obvious as was the love he had for his family. Never a scandal about this man which was un-heard of in Hollywood! - Peace & comfort to his loved ones...His fans will miss him...WE LOVE YOU, CHUCK!

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Rob Smith, Jr. said...

I think of Heston in 'The Greatest Show on Earth' (Filmed entirely in Sarasota), 'The Wreck of the Mary Deare', 'The Big Country', 'Will Penny' and, more recently, the tiny part in 'True Lies'. His career had it's ups and downs. But the ups were waaaay up!