Goodbye, Charlton Heston

Probably one of the funniest recollections I have about Charlton Heston is when he appeared in a Bud Lite commercial.  Mr. Heston was at a party with a girl on each arm and the conversation they were having was in reference to the movie “Ben Hur.”  The camera turns to this guy who appears saying, “Charlton Heston, I love you, man!”  Returning to Charlton Heston and his companions, (while everyone is holding the product) he replies wryly, “You’re not getting my Bud Lite!” 

I don’t know that Charlton Heston regarded that spot as the highlight of his career, but to me the fact that he could allow himself to be depicted in such a way and still come off having a sense of humor about it says a lot about the character of the man.

I recall when he was starring in the movie, “The Planet of the Apes “ how some critics thought his career would nose dive.  After all, science fiction in the early days wasn’t put on the same level as a good drama or even a comedy.  But the movie remains a classic 40 years later while some of the more notable films of the time have faded into obscurity.  Who could forget the scene where as a prisoner in a “world turned upside down” Charlton Heston is screaming, “IT”S A MAD HOUSE!” 

I always admired him in film.  One of my favorites was “The Big Country” in which he played an antagonzing heel to Gregory Peck’s good guy.  Without devulging too much of the plot, lets just say Charlton Heston plays the part to the hilt.  Another movie that I liked was “The Greatest Show on Earth” which had a steller cast.  I enjoyed some of his B films, too, but of course he’ll always be remembered for “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur,”  a movie that he refused to have a stunt double on.

But you learn the measure of the man by what he did outside of the movies.  Remaining married to the same woman for 64 years has to be a tribute to the softer side of one of the screen’s most macho figures. He also marched for civil rights, which showed his sense of compassion and desire for equality amongst men.  Being involved as the NRA’s president wasn’t the flavor of the month that some celebrities might lend their names to but a controversial post that he took on  with authority and conviction.

With my new found sweetheart, one of our joys is the sharing of an afternoon curled up with a good movie (or two) and I look forward to watching a few of those old classics starring Charlton Heston.  With him you always knew what you were getting, on or off the screen. 

Now he is off to that great chariot race in the sky.  Rest in peace, Judah Ben Hur.

Straight forward, confident and boldly defiant as any man could be when he is faced with an injustice or a social need, Charlton Heston will always remain an American icon and a hero.




4 Responses to “Goodbye, Charlton Heston”

  1. Media Districts Entertainment Blog » Goodbye, Charlton Heston Says:

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  2. perry Says:

    Good man I,m sure – a very good actor. Many of his movies I have watched over and over. And have enjoyed much.
    But that as far as I will go.
    He was an actor, made money and that was it.
    I will never agree with his stand on gun control .Ever!
    I could name so many other actors that have had more to contribute to social and public life than him.
    Let’s mention Richard Widmark who died q few days ago.
    Jimmy Stewart, Robert Michum, Strother Martian,John Wayne and so many more who are gone now. And sadly – more to come.
    Many that did not use there there fame/name to sell crap just to make more money.
    If I were to sit down and look for a good old time show to watch and
    really no offence to you, there are other actors/ movies on my top ten I would look for.
    This might make for some good discussion in the near future.
    Looking foward to it.

  3. Karen Says:

    No stunt double in “Ben Hur”? Not that I’ve seen the movie, though maybe I should, but I did see clips of the chariot race.

    No, the NRA wasn’t a thing to be proud of, but we all make our choices. He made his, I guess.

    My personal favorite was “Moses”. The power he was able to project was incredible. He will be missed, as so many are.

  4. Cyndi Says:

    Well, I totally disagree with Perry (big surprise). I absolutely loved Robert Mitchum, I think as a young girl seeing him was what first made me realize I had hormones! Gorgeous, sexy, man. However, although I loved him and read his biography, I don’t think he really contributed too much to social life. He was a rounder and a philanderer, who was too damn good looking for his own good. When I was little I truly thought he was related to us because he looked like my dad. But I digress.

    I really liked Richard Widmark too, but Charlton Heston was in films that are now referred to as “epic” because he himself was larger than life. Brother dear, I did have “The Big Country” on VHS and look forward to owning it on DVD one day.

    Hope I didn’t tread on any toes here. If I did. . . . . oh well.

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