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Monday, April 14, 2008

Charlton Heston, 1923-2008

Charlton Heston was the quintessential American actor who played in films, the theater and on television. I'm not ashamed to admit that he was my favorite actor of all time. Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about his portrayal of Moses in The Ten Commandments. He was born John Charles Carter, here in my homestate of Illinois, on October 4th, 1923. He passed away last week, April 5th, 2008, of an Alzheimer's related illness. His family released this statement: "Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiselled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. 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." I think this pretty much sums up my personal feeling about the man.

Heston in Ben Hur, for which he won an Oscar

Several of his movie roles which I like are:
Dark City (1950)
The Naked Jungle (1954)
Secret Of The Incas (1954)
The Private War Of Major Benson (1955)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
Touch Of Evil (1958)
Ben Hur (1959)
El Cid (1961 )
The Pigeon That Took Rome (1962)
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
The Agony And The Ecstasy (1965)
Will Penny (1968)
Planet Of The Apes (1968)
Number One (1969)
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970)
The Omega Man (1971)
Skyjacked (1972)
Soylent Green (1973)
Airport 1975 (1974)
Earthquake (1974)
Midway (1976)
Gray Lady Down (1978)
Alaska (1996)

This is far from being his total filmography, but it gives you a good idea just how popular of an actor he was.
One of his earliest television roles was that of the great American patriot James Otis, which he portrayed on the series Studio One, on November 12th, 1951. You can download and watch this performance for free at the Internet Archive. I highly recommend it!

I know it's just not going to seem right next Easter when I watch The Ten Commandments now that Charlton Heston is gone. I'm sure going to miss him. And remember, if you go to buy some of his classic performances on video or DVD, be sure to shop at a place other than Wal-Mart.

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