Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston: 1924-2008

Charlton Heston, the Academy Award-winning star of Ben-Hur and many other film classics, died last night at the age of 83.

Known for his masculine screen presence and emotive acting style, Heston starred in everything from sprawling adventures (his film debut Peer Gynt, The Naked Jungle), noirish thrillers (Dark City, Touch of Evil), star-driven melodramas (The Greatest Show on Earth, Ruby Gentry), historical and biblical epics (The Ten Commandments, El Cid), westerns (The Big Country, Tombstone), war pictures (55 Days at Peking, Midway), science fiction favorites (Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green) and big budget disaster flicks (Airport 1975, Earthquake). Onscreen, he portrayed everyone from John the Baptist (The Greatest Story Ever Told) and Michelangelo (The Agony and the Ecstasy) to Marc Antony and President Andrew Jackson (twice each).

Onstage, he appeared in such productions as The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, A Long Day's Journey into Night and A Man for All Seasons, among many others. On television, he starred on the Dynasty spin-off The Colbys and made several appearances in dramatic anthologies and TV movies. In later years, he would often poke fun at his screen image, such as on Saturday Night Live and Friends, and also lent his distinctive vocals as the narrator of such films as Disney's Hercules and Armageddon.

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