John Charles Carter, known professionally as Charlton Heston, was an American actor and political activist born on October 4, 1923. He was known for his incredible talent and for speaking out against racism. Heston’s acting career began in 1941 and ended in 2003. In over six decades, the actor appeared in 128 films and television productions over six decades. Some of his most popular roles were as Moses in “The Ten Commandments” (1956) and Judah Ben-Hur in “Ben-Hur” (1959). He even won the Best Actor Academy Award for “Ben-Hur.” Heston was a revered actor, and we celebrate his life and journey today!
John Charles Carter
Charlton Heston, Chuck
October 4, 1923
April 5, 2008 (age 84)
John Charles Carter, better known as Charlton Heston, was a celebrated American actor and political activist whose talent and views against racism earned him a massive fanbase. He was a Libra, born on October 4, 1923, in Wilmette, Illinois. His parents were Lilla Baines and Russell Carter. He was of English and Scottish descent, and when he was 10, his parents got a divorce. Heston gained interest in the dramatic arts early in life. In high school, he played lead roles in plays and earned a scholarship to Northwestern University, which he attended from 1941 to 1943.
In 1948, Heston was offered a supporting role in the Broadway revival of “Antony and Cleopatra.” In 1950, he played Mark Antony in “Julius Caesar.” That year he landed his first lead role in “Dark City” (1950). In 1952, Heston earned his breakthrough as Brad Braden in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” named the ‘Best Picture of 1952’ by the Motion Picture Academy. In 1956, he played one of his most iconic roles as Moses in the biblical epic, “The Ten Commandments.” Heston earned his first Golden Globe nomination for the role. In 1959, he played the titular character in “Ben-Hur” and won a ‘Best Actor’ Academy Award for it. The actor appeared in more epics like “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965), where he played John the Baptist, “The Agony and the Ecstasy” (1965) as Michelangelo, and more. After that, he featured in “Planet of the Apes” (1968) and “The Omega Man” (1971). Heston made his directorial debut with “Antony and Cleopatra,” in which he also starred. He had a string of successful movies in the ‘70s, from “The Three Musketeers” (1973) to “Earthquake” (1974), and many more. From 1985 to 1987, Heston starred in the T.V. series “The Colbys.”
Heston had a very successful career. He had appeared in multiple films and T.V. productions, earning Hollywood’s reverence. As a political activist, he was very diligent. In March 1944, he married Lydia Clarke, and they had two children. Heston battled several health issues in his lifetime, from prostate cancer in 1998 to Alzheimer’s disease in 2002. He died on April 5, 2008, with his wife by his side, after living an amazing life. His legacy in film is immortal.
Heston plays Mark Antony in “Julius Caesar.”
Heston takes on the role of Moses in “The Ten Commandments.”
Heston makes his directorial debut with “Antony and Cleopatra.”
Heston stars in the primetime series “The Colbys.”
Why We Love Charlton Heston
He was talented
Heston was a very talented actor. He had incredible range, and could go from playing Moses to an action character.
He was politically conscious
Heston was one of the few Hollywood actors in the 1950s and 1960s, who was very vocal about racism. He even marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King in 1963.
He was a family man
Heston’s son Fraser told “Closer Weekly” that his father was a “great family man” who “loved to spend time with his family.” He also revealed that Heston was a protective father who did not stay away from his family for long periods despite a hectic work schedule.
5 Surprising Facts
He served in the military
Heston enlisted in the military in 1944 and became a staff sergeant.
He managed a playhouse
Heston and Clarke managed a playhouse in Asheville, North Carolina.
His son was in “The Ten Commandments”
Heston’s three-month-old son, Fraser, played infant Moses in “The Ten Commandments.”
He narrated “Hercules”
Heston’s alluring voice earned him the role of the narrator in Disney’s “Hercules” (1997).
He had conservative views
Heston was against abortion and supported gun rights.
Charlton Heston FAQs
What is Charlton Heston’s most famous movie?
Heston’s most famous movie is “Ben-Hur” (1969).
How long did Charlton Heston have Alzheimer’s?
Heston died five years after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Where was “The Greatest Show on Earth” filmed?
Heston’s movie “The Greatest Show on Earth” was shot in the city of Sarasota, Florida.
Charlton Heston’s birthday dates