Strangely enough, Mr. Heston's origins are shrouded in mystery. Most sources say he was born John Charlton Carter in Evanston, Illinois, October 4, 1924, although some insist he was Charles Carter, and was born in St. Helen, Michigan. Whatever the case, he grew to maturity in Illinois, and went to college at Northwestern.
After attending Northwestern University, young Charles/Charlton got the start to his career in the burgeoning medium of television. Early "playhouse" shows like Studio One and Playhouse 90 had a desperate need for hungry actors, and the tapeworm-ridden Chuck fit the bill.
Charlton came to Hollywood in the early 50s, refining his acting chops in movies like Dark City (no, not that Dark City) and the Oscar-winning The Greatest Show on Earth. He starred in some movies that could be considered "B-movies" during this time, like The Naked Jungle and The Secret of the Incas, both of which could have made him the poor man's John Agar.
It was in The Ten Commandments that Heston found his niche: the historical epic. Heston portrayed famous Jewish deity Moses. Charlton then went "indie," working with famed glutton Orson Welles in his classic south-of-the-border thriller, Touch of Evil.
Then came Ben Hur, a seething cauldron from GPS, penned by well-respected homosexual Gore Vidal. Apparently, it struck enough chords with the Academy: Charlton won an oscar for Best Actor. Charlton stuck with the gay pride roles by playing sculptor, Italian, and pederast Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy a few years later.
Around this time, the early to mid-60s, Chuckles first became politically active, participating in Martin Luther King's march on Washington. When Marlon Brando suggested that he and Charlton chain themselves to the Lincoln Memorial, Charlton politely declined, citing a desire not to sit next to a stinky, sweating Brando outdoors for longer than absolutely necessary.
|Chuck Heston at the Old Tyme Picture Booth at his local fair|
Recently, of course, Mr. Heston has beaten prostate cancer down like a bitch and protected our Second Amendment rights by assuming the mantle of presidency of the National Rifle Association. He also starred in an episode of "Friends," where he had a hot shower scene with Matt LeBlank, who is, of course, so homo.
Heston brings every role he plays a sense of grace and dignity, from Admiral "Skeet" Kelso in Solar Crisis, to his quadruple-turn as "Narrator" in James Michener's Texas, the animated Hercules, Charlton Heston Presents The Bible, and Armageddon. Here's hoping he'll continue to stride Hollywood like a Colossus, metaphorically crapping bigger than all of us.
1941 PEER GYNT 1950 DARK CITY 1950 JULIUS CAESAR 1952 THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH 1952 RUBY GENTRY 1952 THE SAVAGE 1953 ARROWHEAD 1953 BAD FOR EACH OTHER 1953 PONY EXPRESS 1953 THE PRESIDENT'S LADY 1954 THE NAKED JUNGLE 1954 SECRET OF THE INCAS 1955 THE FAR HORIZONS 1955 LUCY GALLANT 1955 THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON 1956 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS 1956 THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE 1958 THE BIG COUNTRY 1958 THE BUCCANEER 1958 TOUCH OF EVIL 1959 BEN-HUR 1959 THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE 1961 EL CID 1962 DIAMOND HEAD 1962 THE PIGEON THAT TOOK ROME 1963 55 DAYS AT PEKING 1963 THE FIVE CITIES OF JUNE 1965 THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY 1965 THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD 1965 MAJOR DUNDEE 1965 THE WAR LORD 1966 KHARTOUM 1968 COUNTERPOINT 1968 PLANET OF THE APES 1968 ROWAN & MARTIN AT THE MOVIES 1968 WILL PENNY 1969 THE FESTIVAL GAME 1969 NUMBER ONE 1970 BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES 1970 THE HAWAIIANS 1970 JULIUS CAESAR 1970 KING: A FILMED RECORD… MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS 1971 THE OMEGA MAN 1971 VIETNAM! VIETNAM! 1972 RUF DER WILDNIS 1972 SKYJACKED 1973 ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA 1973 SOYLENT GREEN 1973 THE THREE MUSKETEERS 1974 AIRPORT 1975 1974 EARTHQUAKE 1974 THE FOUR MUSKETEERS 1976 AMERICA AT THE MOVIES 1976 THE LAST HARD MEN 1976 MIDWAY 1976 TWO MINUTE WARNING 1978 CROSSED SWORDS 1978 GRAY LADY DOWN 1980 THE AWAKENING 1980 THE MOUNTAIN MEN 1982 MOTHER LODE 1985 THE FANTASY FILM WORLD OF GEORGE PAL 1986 DIRECTED BY WILLIAM WYLER 1989 CALL FROM SPACE 1990 ALMOST AN ANGEL 1990 SOLAR CRISIS 1990 TREASURE ISLAND 1993 TOMBSTONE 1993 WAYNE'S WORLD 2 1994 A CENTURY OF CINEMA 1994 TRUE LIES 1995 IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS 1996 ALASKA 1996 BEN JOHNSON: THIRD COWBOY ON THE RIGHT 1996 HAMLET 1996 LORD PROTECTOR 1997 HERCULES 1997 ALASKA: SPIRIT OF THE WILD 1998 ARMAGEDDON 1998 GIDEON'S WEB 1998 ILLUSION INFINITY 1999 ANY GIVEN SUNDAY 1999 TOSCANO 1999 TOWN AND COUNTRY
|Heston's stand-in for Planet of the Apes sets up a scene for the Oscar-winner|
Heston has acted in over 20 different Shakespearean plays, including as the Player King in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. Heston also peppers his speeches with Shakespearean quotes, and is known to wear a codpiece at public appearances.
Internet rumors actually placed Heston as a young Yoda in the recent Star Wars prequels. While this didn't come to pass, Charlton filled in as the schlongheaded alien when Andy Dick was fired for doing cocaine with Jar Jar Binks.
|Made from humans, Soylent Green is, mmhmm?|
Other famous personalities hailing from Evanston, Illinois include the acting Cusack clan, Elizabeth "Bewitched" McGovern, famous yam-shover Karen Finley, and mumbling alcoholic Eddie Vedder.
Chuck's son, Fraser, starred as the infant Moses in The Ten Commandments and went on to be a star in his own right: he directed the Little Stevie King/Max Von Sydow abortion Needful Things.
Chuck and his wife, who have been married for more than 50 years, don't watch much TV, but they do have one favorite. "My wife and I usually watch Law & Order. Because it has very good acting in it. We don't watch much other than that. For a man who has made his reputation in live TV, that is a shameful admission." Good taste, though, Chuck.
Frank Sinatra once observed: "That guy Heston has to watch it. If he’s not careful, he’ll get actors a good name."
"The internet is for lonely people."