"Moses" Dead at 84
When I was a kid, part of my annual Easter ritual involved watching two movies: The Wizard of Oz and The Ten Commandments. In the latter, Charlton Heston played the role of Moses, the stubborn, yet faithful leader of the Hebrew tribes who gave up his position of comfort and influence as a prince of Egypt in order to lead his people, Egyptian slaves, out of bondage and to the land God promised them. Charlton Heston played the role very well, and for many years was referred to by his fans as "Moses".
Other notable roles included that of Andrew Jackson in both The President's Lady and The Buccaneer, John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, Colonel George Taylor in the various Planet of the Apes movies, and, of course, the title role in the epic Ben Hur.
The Associated Press obituary starts off well, lauding Heston for his film achievements:
The obit even lauds Heston's earlyt political activism, notably, his participation in the civil rights movement of the 1950's (at a time when civil rights was a highly controversial issue which could have irreparably harmed his career):
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Charlton Heston, the Oscar winner who portrayed Moses and other heroic figures on film in the '50s and '60s and later championed conservative values as head of the National Rifle Association, has died. He was 84.
The actor died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife Lydia at his side, family spokesman Bill Powers said. He declined to comment on the cause of death or provide further details.
"Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played," Heston's family said in a statement.
Heston revealed in 2002 that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.
With his large, muscular build, well-boned face and sonorous voice, Heston proved the ideal star during the period when Hollywood was filling movie screens with panoramas depicting the religious and historical past.
"I have a face that belongs in another century," he often remarked.
All is well and good thus far. The next sentence, however, reveals much of the inherent political bias found in the mainstream media today:
The actor assumed the role of leader offscreen as well. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and chairman of the American Film Institute and marched in the civil rights movement of the 1950s.
Since when have conservativism and civil rights been incongruous? Keep in mind, a large majority of the Democrats who passed LBJ's enormously expensive Great Society proograms in the mid-1960s voted against Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the companion Voting Rights Act. This is in keeping with liberal political ideology: all people are equal, but some are more equal than others.
With age, he grew more conservative and campaigned for conservative candidates.
This ideology continues to haunt America today as indicated by the ongoing cries of racism when equal opportunity fails to result in equal outcome.
The article continues:
And, of course, he was castigated by liberals in Hollywood and the media for these "outrageous" positions. Imagine, a Hollywood actor deigning to support police officers or denouncing media attacks on our military?
He resigned from Actors Equity, claiming the union's refusal to allow a white actor to play a Eurasian role in "Miss Saigon" was "obscenely racist." He attacked CNN's telecasts from Baghdad as "sowing doubts" about the allied effort in the 1990-91 Gulf War.
At a Time Warner stockholders meeting, he castigated the company for releasing an Ice-T album that purportedly encouraged cop killing.
Heston, of course, took it all in stride:
Heston wrote in "In the Arena" that he was proud of what he did "though now I'll surely never be offered another film by Warners, nor get a good review in Time. On the other hand, I doubt I'll get a traffic ticket very soon."
Obviously, Mr. Heston was a man with his priorities in line. Would that we had more men of such standards and values in Hollywood today.
Rest in peace, Mr. Heston.