84 (passed away Apr. 5th, 2008)
Oct. 4th, 1923
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Actor (segment "Charlton Heston")
Chief Justice Haden Wainwright
Lt. Paul Peterson
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 The Greatest Show on Earth (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.
- He was a friend of the author 'Patrick O'Brian (I)' (qv), who in turn envisaged Heston playing his character Captain Jack Aubrey.
- Prior to starring in _The Omega Man (1971)_ (qv), a remake of 'Vincent Price (I)' (qv)'s film _The Last Man on Earth (1964)_ (qv), Heston and Price appeared together in 'Cecil B. DeMille' (qv)'s _The Ten Commandments (1956)_ (qv).
- He turned down the role of Gen. 'Joseph W. Stilwell' (qv) in 'Steven Spielberg' (qv)'s _1941 (1979)_ (qv) because he felt the film was an insult to World War II veterans.
- Was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1966-1971.
- He played three roles after they had been turned down by 'Burt Lancaster' (qv). In 1958 the producers of _Ben-Hur (1959)_ (qv) offered Lancaster $1 million to play the title role in their epic, but he turned it down because, as an atheist, he did not want to help promote Christianity. Lancaster also said he disagreed with the "violent morals" of the story. Three years later, in 1961 Lancaster announced his intention to produce a biopic of Michelangelo, in which he would play the title role and show the truth about the painter's homosexuality. However, he was forced to shelve this project due to the five-month filming schedule on 'Luchino Visconti' (qv)'s masterpiece _Il gattopardo (1963)_ (qv). Heston starred as Michelangelo in _The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)_ (qv) and even in his autobiography thirty years later was still denying that the painter had been gay, despite all evidence to the contrary. Lancaster also turned down the role of General Gordon in _Khartoum (1966)_ (qv).
- Heston's Hollywood mansion is filled with memorabilia from his career. He and his wife have lived in the same house near Los Angeles's Mulholland Drive for more than forty years. Built by the actor's father after Heston won the Academy Award for best actor in _Ben-Hur (1959)_ (qv), the postmodern style home - inside and out - is filled with the memorabilia. Sitting on a table in the back yard is the figure of a Roman, whip in hand, lashing vigorously at four straining horses harnessed to a chariot. Mounted on the entrance of his study are the two great brass ring knockers from the movie set's House of Hur. Hung above the fireplace is a painting of a lumbering Conestoga wagon and, nearby, a pencil sketch of friend Sir 'Laurence Olivier' (qv) portraying King Lear. From most windows sparkle views of canyons. In the home's central hallway hang twenty paintings of Heston in signature roles: Ben-Hur, Moses, Richelieu, Michelangelo, the _Planet of the Apes (1968)_ (qv) marooned astronaut Commander Taylor, the steel-willed Major Dundee, _Soylent Green (1973)_ (qv) detective Thorn, 'Andrew Jackson (I)' (qv) in _The President's Lady (1953)_ (qv), tough ranch foreman Steve Leech riding through _The Big Country (1958)_ (qv), and cattle poke _Will Penny (1968)_ (qv) from Heston's favorite film.
- When his TV series _"The Colbys" (1985)_ (qv) was canceled, both he and fellow cast members 'John James (I)' (qv) and 'Emma Samms' (qv) were offered contracts to continue playing their characters on _"Dynasty" (1981)_ (qv), the series that "The Colbys" was spun off from. Heston ultimately declined because his salary demands could not be met. James and Samms, on the other hand, accepted contracts.
- He is an opponent of abortion and gave the introduction to an anti-abortion documentary by 'Bernard Nathanson (I)' (qv) called Eclipse of Reason (1980) which focuses on late-term abortions.