The larger than life legend and actor Charlton Heston, who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for several year has passed away at his home.
Heston’s wife of 64 years, Lydia, was by his side at the time of his death, according to the family statement.
Heston is survived by a son, a daughter and three grandchildren.
“We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle grandfather, with an infectious sense of humor,” the family said. “He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity. He loved deeply, and he was deeply loved.”
While no funeral plans have been announced, the family said it would hold a private memorial service.
According to IMDB, Heston has been in at least 126 TV and movie roles over the years although the last few years he has really been more interested in promoting American values, and gun owner rights. He was also very heavily involved in civil rights early on, before it became fashionable for stars to do so, having been a supporter of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man of his convictions, much like many of the roles he played in the movies.
Heston was born John Charles Carter on October 4th 1924 in Evanston, Illinois, and made his feature film debut as the lead character in a 16mm production of Peer Gynt (1941), based on the Henrik Ibsen play. Shortly thereafter, he played ‘Marc Antony’ in Julius Caesar (1950), however Heston firmly stamped himself as genuine leading man material with his performance as circus manager ‘Brad Braden’ in the Cecil B. DeMille spectacular The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), also starring James Stewart and Cornel Wilde. The now very popular actor remained perpetually busy during the 1950s, both on TV and on the silver screen with audience pleasing performances in the steamy thriller The Naked Jungle (1954), as a treasure hunter in Secret of the Incas (1954) and another barn storming performance for Cecil B. DeMille as “Moses” in the blockbuster The Ten Commandments (1956). Heston delivered further dynamic performances in the oily film noir thriller Touch of Evil (1958), and then alongside Gregory Peck in the western The Big Country (1958) before scoring the role for which he is arguably best known, that of the wronged Jewish prince who seeks his freedom and revenge in the William Wyler directed Ben-Hur (1959). This mammoth Biblical epic running in excess of three and a half hours became the standard by which other large scale productions would be judged, and it’s superb cast also including Stephen Boyd as the villainous “Massala”, English actor Jack Hawkins as the Roman officer “Quintus Arrius”, and Australian actor Frank Thring as “Pontius Pilate”, all contributed wonderful performances.