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Old 04-06-2008, 12:33 AM   #1
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Charlton Heston RIP

Just saw this in The Age

Quote:
Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing Ben-Hur and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics of the '50s and '60s, has died.

He was 84.

A spokesman for the actor's family said Heston died Saturday at his home in Beverly Hills. His wife Lydia was at his side.
RIP.


And an obit from the Los Angeles Times:

Quote:
Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson in historical epics and went on to become a best-selling author, a contentious Hollywood labor leader, an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of conservative causes, has died. He was 84.

Heston died Saturday at his Beverly Hills home, his family said in a statement. In 2002, he had been diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's disease.

With a booming baritone voice, the tall, ruggedly handsome actor delivered his signature role as the prophet Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 Biblical extravaganza "The Ten Commandments," raising a rod over his head as God miraculously parts the Red Sea.

Heston won the Academy Award for best actor in another religious blockbuster in 1959's "Ben-Hur," racing four white horses at top speed in one of the cinema's legendary action sequences -- the 15-minute chariot race in which his character, a proud and noble Jew, competes against his childhood Roman friend, played by Stephen Boyd.

"I don't seem to fit really into the 20th century," Heston said in a 1965 interview. "Pretty soon, though, I've got to get a part where I wear pants with pleats and pockets."

Heston stunned the entertainment world in August 2002 when he made a poignant and moving videotaped address announcing his illness.

A few days after his dramatic announcement, Heston would sit down for an interview in his beloved Coldwater Canyon home, which he always said "Ben-Hur" had built, and faced the uncertain future with brave resolve and a sense of humor.

"The world is a tough place," he said with a chuckle. "You're never going to get out of it alive."

Late in life, Heston's stature as a political firebrand overshadowed his acting. He became demonized by gun control advocates and liberal Hollywood when he became president of the National Rifle Assn. in 1998.

Heston answered his critics in a now-famous pose that mimicked Moses' parting of the Red Sea. But instead of a rod, Heston raised a flintlock over his head and challenged his detractors to pry the rifle "from my cold, dead hands."

Like the chariot race and the bearded prophet Moses, Heston will be best remembered for several indelible cinematic moments: playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with Orson Welles in the oil fields in "Touch of Evil," his rant at the end of "Planet of the Apes" when he sees the destruction of the Statue of Liberty, his discovery that "Soylent Green is people!" in the sci-fi hit "Soylent Green" and the dead Spanish hero on his steed in "El Cid."

The New Yorker's film critic Pauline Kael, in her review of 1968's "Planet of the Apes," wrote: "All this wouldn't be so forceful or so funny if it weren't for the use of Charlton Heston in the [leading] role. With his perfect, lean-hipped, powerful body, Heston is a god-like hero; built for strength, he is an archetype of what makes Americans win. He represents American power -- and he has the profile of an eagle."

For decades, Heston was a towering figure in the world of movies, television and the stage. He liked to say that he had performed Shakespeare on film more than any other actor, and he once lamented that modern-day movie stars didn't attempt the Bard to hone their acting skills.

"He was the screen hero of the 1950s and 1960s, a proven stayer in epics, and a pleasing combination of piercing blue eyes and tanned beefcake," David Thomson wrote in his book "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film."

Heston also was blessed by working with legendary directors like DeMille in "The Greatest Show on Earth" and again in "The Ten Commandments," Welles in "Touch of Evil," Sam Peckinpah in "Major Dundee," William Wyler in "The Big Country" and "Ben-Hur," George Stevens in "The Greatest Story Ever Told," Franklin Schaffner in "The War Lord" and "Planet of the Apes" and Anthony Mann in "El Cid."
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:34 AM   #2
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RIP, Mr. Heston.

(I guess we'll be taking that rifle from you now that your hands are cold and dead.)
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:35 AM   #3
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I guess we can pry the gun out of his cold, dead hand now.

If it wasn't for his support of director Orson Welles on Touch of Evil, I wouldn't have anything positive to say about him. Promoting gun culture, especially in the violent late 20th century, is about as despicable as it gets.

And he wasn't a very good actor, either, despite the Oscar.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by corianderstem
RIP, Mr. Heston.

(I guess we'll be taking that rifle from you now that your hands are cold and dead.)

Wow. Just...wow.

GET OUT OF MY BRAIN, WOMAN!!!
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:37 AM   #5
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(I beat you to the NRA reference. )

I've always had a soft spot for the high-quality cheese of The Ten Commandments.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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The source material could only have been performed by supreme hams like Heston and Brynner.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:41 AM   #7
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I know; it's glorious.

I think it's the only Heston movie I've ever seen.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:42 AM   #8
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You never forgot you were watching Charlton Heston in his movies, but damn they were often a whole lotta fun. He gets a lot of points for that from me.

And I just figure his gun stance and overall conservatism were early symptoms of his dementia.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:17 AM   #9
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Come on, folks. This is borderline rude and offensive. He was a great man and a great actor, and the Ten Commandments was a brilliant film.

This is shocking.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:24 AM   #10
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Originally posted by 2861U2
This is shocking.
His death? He was 84 and had either Alzheimers or dementia. His death may be sad in a way (knowing other people with Alzheimers or dementia I can also say it may have been a welcome release), but is certainly isn't shocking.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by corianderstem

I've always had a soft spot for the high-quality cheese of The Ten Commandments.

like my almost-girlfdriend said during Holy Friday "The water looks like papier-mache"









anyway... I'm sorry for his family

a great actor has gone, a new one for the Oscar montage, alongside Heath Ledger

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Old 04-06-2008, 01:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra


His death? He was 84 and had either Alzheimers or dementia. His death may be sad in a way (knowing other people with Alzheimers or dementia I can also say it may have been a welcome release), but is certainly isn't shocking.
Ok, that's true. I guess that's what I meant to say. I kind of expected him to not last much longer.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:33 AM   #13
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Come on, folks. This is borderline rude and offensive. He was a great man and a great actor
I find using celebrity to promote guns offensive and rude, so I guess me & Chuck are even. I don't think you could call anyone who does this a "great" man, and his abilities as an actor, his Oscar notwithstanding, are open to debate. He was a total stiff with limited range, rarely natural, and an unquestionable ham in many films.

Gregory Peck shared similar attributes and a certain stature, but he was a far greater actor.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:43 AM   #14
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I'm sorry he's dead, and I'm sorry he and his family had to go through Alzheimer's/dementia, but in my mind, what he did with the pro-NRA stuff far overshadowed what he did in the acting field or anything else he accomplished - even backing civil rights in the 60s.

I'm sorry for his family's loss, but when your most notable quote is "...from my cold, dead hands," you cannot expect that comment to come back and find you after you have, in fact, died.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:55 AM   #15
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Yeah, I feel more sorry for his family having to deal with a long, drawn-out disease like Alzheimer's than anything else.

The irony is that, like the similarly-stricken Ronald Reagan, he probably forgot the reprehensible shit he did before he died (though I recognize, that Reagan was far, far worse, a truly malignant human being). He may have marched with Martin Luther King, but the NRA bullshit flies in the face of everything the non-violent MLK stood for.
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