Charlton Heston

Born Oct 4, 1923

Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre, and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), El Cid, and Planet of the Apes. He also is well known for his roles in the films The Greatest Show on Earth and Touch of Evil. Heston was also known for his political activism.… Read More

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1923 Birth Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter on October 4, 1923 to Lila (née Charlton; 1899–1994) and Russell Whitford Carter (1897–1966), a sawmill operator. … Read More


1941 17 Years Old Heston frequently recounted that while growing up in northern Michigan in a sparsely populated area, he often wandered in the forest, "acting" out characters from books he had read. Later, in high school, he enrolled in New Trier's drama program, playing in the amateur silent 16 mm film adaptation of Peer Gynt, from the Ibsen play, by future film activist David Bradley released in 1941. … Read More


1944 - 1948 3 More Events
1950 26 Years Old 1 More Event
Film producer Hal B. Wallis of Casablanca spotted Heston in a 1950 television production of Wuthering Heights and offered him a contract. … Read More
1952 28 Years Old His breakthrough came when Cecil B. DeMille cast him as a circus manager in The Greatest Show on Earth, which was named by the Motion Picture Academy as the best picture of 1952.
1953 29 Years Old In 1953, Heston was Billy Wilder's first choice to play Sefton in Stalag 17. … Read More


1954 30 Years Old In 1954, he played the lead in Secret of the Incas, which was shot on location at the archeological site Macchu Picchu and had numerous similarities to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was filmed a quarter century later, including a tomb scene with the revelatory shaft of light pointing out a clue on a map, and Heston's roguish antiquities thief's costume and light beard; the latter film's costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis noted that it was "almost a shot for shot Raiders of the Lost Ark." … Read More
1955 31 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1955, Heston appeared with Jane Wyman in Lucy Gallant.
1956 32 Years Old Heston campaigned for Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956, although he was unable to campaign for John F. Kennedy in 1960 due to filming on El Cid in Spain. … Read More
1958 34 Years Old In 1958, he portrayed a Mexican police officer, Ramon Miguel Vargas, in Orson Welles's widely acclaimed film noir Touch of Evil. … Read More
1961 37 Years Old From 1961-72, the second stage, he continued to endorse Democratic candidates for President.


1965 41 Years Old 1 More Event
From 1965–71, Heston served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. … Read More
In 1968, Heston starred in Planet of the Apes and in 1970, he had a smaller supporting role in the sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
1970 - 1972 3 More Events
1973 49 Years Old Beginning with playing Cardinal Richelieu in 1973's The Three Musketeers, Heston was seen in an increasing number of supporting roles, cameos and live theater.


1985 - 1993 3 More Events
In 1995, Heston starred with Peter Graves, Mickey Rooney and Deborah Winters in the Warren Chaney docudrama America: A Call to Greatness. … Read More
1997 73 Years Old 1 More Event
In a 1997 speech called Fighting the Culture War in America, Heston rhetorically deplored a culture war he said was being conducted by a generation of media people, educators, entertainers, and politicians against: the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle-class Protestant – or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern – or even worse, rural, apparently straight – or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning – or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff – or even worse, male working stiff – because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. … Read More
…  Heston's most famous role in politics came as the five-term president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.
2000 - 2002 2 More Events
After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he retired from both acting and being the NRA president in 2003.
2005 81 Years Old In March 2005, various newspapers reported that family and friends were shocked by the progression of his illness, and that he was sometimes unable to get out of bed.
Clooney claimed in 2008 that he had subsequently apologized to Heston in a letter, and received a gracious response from Heston's wife, Lydia.
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