Perhaps its time to re-evaluate Charlton Heston, an imposing actor often overlooked for a number of reasons, some not having to do with his screen performances. We sometimes seem to forget just how good he was.
Not only was this physically impressive star the linchpin of Hollywood’s most acclaimed screen epics ever made. He could also convey passion, pride and even intimacy of individual characterization amidst the hubub of casts of thousands and towering physical sets.
As the title of author Marc Eliot‘s recent biography puts it: Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon.
He was a veteran of more than 100 movie and tv credits over a 60-year career. His stardom was of sufficient power in its day that he could shape projects over the objections of short-sighted studio apparatchiks. He wore his fame lightly, and was a star of unusual eloquence.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about Charlton Heston. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Can you name the Heston epics in which he played a) Moses; b) John the Baptist; c) a wronged Jewish prince; and d) manager of a circus.
2) Question: Heston had a huge hand in reviving this famed director’s late Hollywood career. Who is he? a) Richard Lester; b) Kenneth Branagh; c) Orson Welles or d) Richard Fleischer.
3) Question: What initially alerted Heston, who died of complications from Alzheimers in 2008, that he had the condition in its early stages? a) He began forgetting the names of longtime friends; b) He lost interest in his collection of fancy cars, long a favorite hobby; c) He got lost driving the once familiar route from his Hollywood home to Paramount studios; or d) He was forgetting lines more and more.
4) Question: Heston’s did NOT get along especially well with his costar, Sophia Loren, in 1961’s El Cid, a hugely successful epic about the hero of 11th century Spain. Why? a) Loren was frequently late and under-prepared for her scenes, driving the disciplined Heston to distraction; b) She firmly resisted Heston’s persistent romantic overtures; c) Heston dislike smelling garlic on her breath during love scenes; or d) none of the above.
5) Question: Heston lost favor in some Hollywood quarters for his aggressive advocacy on behalf of which one of the following causes? a) the John Birch Society; b) the National Rifle Association; c) the Rotary Club; or d) Planned Parenthood.