Charlton Heston (real name John Charles Carter, October 4, 1923–April 5, 2008) was an American actor and political activist. Charlton Heston was born Evanston, Illinois and was of English and Scottish descent. As a Hollywood star, he has appeared in nearly 100 films in his 60 years. He was first nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his portrayal of Moses in the epic film The Ten Commandments (1956) and starring Ben-Hur (1959). He won the Best Actor Award. He has also worked with Orson Welles on The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Secret of the Incas (1954), Touch of Evil (1958), The Big Country (1958), El Cid (1961), and Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). Khartoum (1966), Planet of the Apes (1968), Omega Man (1971), Soylent Green (1973).
In the 1950s and 1960s, he was one of the few Hollywood actors who spoke out about racism and was an active supporter of the civil rights movement. Heston left the Democrats in 1971 to become a Republican, formed the Conservative Political Action Committee and supported Ronald Reagan. Heston served as the fifth-term president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) from 1998 to 2003. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002, he retired from his position and the presidency of the NRA.
In his autobiography, Heston mentions his father, who is involved in the construction business for his family. When Heston was a young child, his father’s business brought his family to Saint Mauped to Helen. It was wooded countryside, and Heston lived a secluded but idyllic life, spending most of his time hunting and fishing in the hinterland of the area.
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When Heston was ten years old, his parents divorced after they had three children. Shortly thereafter, his mother remarried, and Charlton, his sister Lily, and brother Allen moved to Willmette, Illinois. Heston (new nickname for him and his siblings) attended New Terrier High School. He remembers living there.
All kids play imaginative games, but I did more than anyone else. Even when we moved to Chicago, I was a bit lonely. We lived on the outskirts of the North Shore, where I was a dry block in the woods and all the other kids seemed wealthy and familiar with women.
When “Charlton” became Heston’s name, the discrepancies were on paper and in the interview environment. According to 1930 US Census records in Litchfield, Michigan in Roscommon County, his name was Charlton G. Carter when he was six years old. Subsequent accounts and film studio biographies say he was born John Charles Carter. When Russell Carter died in 1966, the Charlton brothers changed their legal title to Heston the following year. Charlton did not.
Charlton was his maternal grandmother’s first name, Marianne, not his mother’s name, Lila. This is contrary to the way you read the twentieth century bibliography and what Heston said. Marianne (née Charlton) Bynes married William Henry Lawton in 1907 when Heston’s maternal grandmother and great-grandfather Charles Bynes divorced, or divorced, in the early 1900s. Charlton was given a family surname to distance himself from his biological father, Mr. Baines, who acts as an unwanted father. Carter divorced in 1933, and Lila Carter married Chester Heston. The newly married Mrs. Heston preferred that her children use her surname as her last name. Thus, it was Charlton Heston who appeared in his first film alongside his younger brother Alan Carter (a small role) in an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (1941). His nickname has always been Chuck.
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Heston was an Anglican and has been described as a “spiritual man” of “a secular bent” who “respects religious traditions” and “particularly enjoys the historical aspects of the Christian faith”.
Heston grew up in sparsely populated northern Michigan and often said he “played” characters from books he often read while wandering the woods. He starred in Peer Gynt’s 16mm silent amateur adaptation of Ibsen’s play by film activist David Bradley.
At the Winnetka Community Theater (or Winnetka Dramatist’s Guild) where he worked, he was awarded a theater scholarship from Northwestern University. He attended college from 1941 to 1943 and was one of his acting teachers as Alvina Krause. A few years later, Heston worked with Bradley to produce the first audio version of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, in which Heston played Mark Anthony.
In 1996, Heston underwent hip replacement surgery. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. After he underwent radiotherapy, he developed cancer. In 2000, he publicly revealed that he was being treated for alcoholism at a clinic in Utah between May and June of that year.
Heston died on the morning of April 5, 2008, along with 64-year-old Lydia, at her home in Beverly Hills, California. Even taking care of this faith is incredible. The power is off. He said he died a month later.