Charlton Heston Has Died

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 6th, 2008


“Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape.” – Taylor (Charlton Heston) in Planet of the Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing “Ben-Hur” and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid, Taylor, and other heroic figures in movie epics of the ’50s and ’60s, has died. He was 84.

Heston spokesman Bill Powers says the actor died Saturday night, April 5, 2008, at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife Lydia was at his side.

Heston revealed in 2002 that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease, saying, “I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure.”

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.

The Planet of the Apes has overlapped with some debunking conversations about various pieces of cryptozoological evidence. Indeed, The Planet of the Apes has been an on-going part of the discussions of both the Patterson-Gimlin footage (see here) and more recently, the Myakka “ape” photographs (see here).

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

14 Responses to “Charlton Heston Has Died”

  1. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Truly a legend has passed.

    One of the most recognized of the old school actors of the last generation. The style of acting utilized by Mr. Heston appears dated and somewhat awkward by toady’s standards, but, he still managed to take the impossible roles and make them believable. Imagine trying to play a low key Moses or Ben Hur. These roles demanded an over the top actor who could speak with the voice of God.

    The character he displayed in his portrayals of historical figures apparently translated into the real world. He remained married to the same woman for his entire career and was an unapologetic patriot. Whether you agreed with his political leanings or not there was no guile in the public man. He spoke from a deep well of thought out positions on many matters. Mr. Heston stood shoulder to shoulder with Rev. M. L. King and demanded equality for minorities in a time when it was an unpopular stance. Mr. Heston is remembered for the first on screen inter-racial kiss in a mainstream movie.

    For many in this generation he is only remembered as an unapologetic gun rights advocate who was suffering from dementia. The sandbagging of Mr. Heston by Michael Moore for his anti gun “documentary” was reprehensible. There was much more to this man than we remember.

    The man has left a legacy outstanding work behind and will be sorely missed.

    “Soylet Green is people.”
    “Get your hands off of me you damn dirty ape.”

  2. shumway10973 responds:

    One of the best is gone. I loved the fact that he wasn’t an other pampered, pretty boy. When allowed to, he did most of his own stunts. The whole NRA thing wasn’t political (as in getting a foothold into D.C.), but instead it was something he truly believed in. He will truly be missed by all. Prayers for his family.

  3. Grant responds:

    It’s already been mentioned here that he’s so much more than that simple political image, and many things about him and his career actually clash with it. In some ways, Soylent Green is one long environmental message, and not always a completely depressing one (remember the last scene with him and Edward G. Robinson, and his reaction to everything he sees on that screen). I always think of him as being wonderful at playing anti-social characters, like Taylor at the start of POTA, happily tearing into the other astronauts for their attitudes, and of course at the end, literally cursing the whole world. He played several characters with that “me against the world” attitude, and (whether it was the stories’ intention or not) he made it look very attractive!

  4. gkingdano responds:

    One of MY favorites was “Soylent Green”. SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OUT OF PEOPLE!! WE have truly lost one of America’s Patriots and a GREAT Actor.

  5. Incorrigible1 responds:

    A great man passes. Charlton Heston marched with Dr. King, in 1963. Supporting civil rights then was about as popular as supporting Second Amendment rights now. Mr. Heston led from the front. He could have easily retired from public life, safely resting upon his many accolades. Instead, he became a figurehead for the NRA. Mr. Heston is still my president (Incorrigible1, NRA Life Member since 1984).

    Continue to shoot straight, Mr. Heston, and God speed.

    My favorite Heston role was as Will Penny.

  6. Ceroill responds:

    If any man could be said to have been larger than life, it was him. He will be missed by millions.

  7. PhotoExpert responds:

    How sad. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Charles.

    MountDesertIslander–Thanks for all the little tid bits about Mr. Heston’s life. Two of them I did not know about or had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder or teaching me something new today.

  8. bill green responds:

    im very sad to see the passing of a wonderful acter charlton heston. my faverite movie his was planet of the apes. he will definetly be missed. thanks bill green 🙁

  9. Alligator responds:

    Heston’s roles as historic figures, Ben Hur, Moses, Andrew Jackson, Michaelangelo etc. piqued my childhood curiosity about history and archeology which eventually became a profession. I listened to some of his talks regarding his political outlook and position on 2nd amendment rights. He was always consistent and a gentleman in articulating his beliefs. For that, Michael Moore and some of the current crop of Hollywood toadies impugned and ridiculed him even going so far to make jokes about his Alzheimer’s. I’m so glad they are such thoughtful, considerate and gentle people. Heston had more integrity and acting ability in his little finger than the collective lot of them have tin their bodies. By coincidence, we had just watched Planet of the Apes the day before we heard the news.

  10. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Well, I couldn’t agree with his politics, but he was truly an incredible acto, and he appeared in movies that shaped my way to view the world, such as “Planet of the Apes” and “Soylent Green”. Rest in peace.

  11. HOOSIERHUNTER responds:

    He narrated a documentary entitled “the Mysterious Origins of Man” which raised some very interesting questions on the subject.
    He will be missed!

  12. cryptidsrus responds:

    I second what everybody else said here. I did not agree with all of his politics either but I do agree that what Moore and others did to him was reprehensible, to say the least.

    George Clooney was one of those who made fun of Heston’s Alzheimer’s—although, to his credit, he DID later apologize for it. One of the reasons I still don’t like Clooney.

    RIP, Charlton Heston.

  13. CryptoHaus_Press responds:

    I’m so glad they are such thoughtful, considerate and gentle people. Heston had more integrity and acting ability in his little finger than the collective lot of them have tin their bodies.

    gee, really?

    because i wonder about a ‘great man’ who advocates gun rights shortly after grieving parents who lost children at Colombine Massacre was really so honorable in real life as he was onscreen.

    at least, that is, at THAT point of his life.

    because… those were real parents who lost real children, in part because Dylan and Kliebold had far too easy access to the very guns Mr. Heston said was ‘above and beyond’ reproach.

    many of those parents are and were strongly-believing Christians. many were devastated and begging him to cancel his scheduled appearance in light of their pain. out of respect for their local tragedy and the needless additional pain it would inflict on an already heartbroken community, if for no other reason.

    i mean, many will criticize me for “speaking ill of the dead,” but didn’t Mr. Heston do as much when he spoke for gun ownership in light of the senselessness of that tragedy? before the NRA convention, no less? at the point when he did?

    sure, he has the right to speak. he also has the right NOT to speak when it sensationalizes and exploits if not outright ignores the suffering of others. one doesn’t yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater because one can, right?

    does this therefore make Michael Moore reprehensible? for taking Mr. Heston to task? i don’t think so. i think if you advocate guns, you have to take the responsibility for your position, not tar and feather those who equally oppose it, as Mr. Moore does and did.

    put another way: if Mr. Moore is reprehensible for pointing out his political views, then is Mr. Heston simply exonerated because you liked him as a fictional actor in, say, SOYLENT GREEN or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

    like all lives, Mr. Heston’s was full of contradictions. he was not a god; he was a man who struggled and made mistakes like us all but overcame many of them to succeed in life, which is the finest compliment you can really pay him, imho.

    take the fact that Mr. Heston promoted Civil Rights back in the 1960’s when Hollywood — despite the liberal agenda many falsely accuse the real power lords of promoting when they’re actually very conservative ala Rupert Murdoch and other OWNERS not workers in the factory (i worked in Hollywood for 25 years, so allow me that opinion) — was queasy to do so. that was ballsy.

    it’s easy to be MLK friendly today. back then, it could get you blacklisted if J. Edgar Hoover made a phone call to top talent agencies. and by then, Heston was past his prime and vulnerable, career-wise. he was brave.

    in another instance, Mr. Heston demanded that Orson Welles direct TOUCH OF EVIL when no one in Hollywood would back Mr. Welles. Heston flatly told Universal that unless Welles directed, Heston wouldn’t act in the picture (which was the only reason Universal gave in and greenlit with Welles at the helm). again, that shows integrity and true vision.

    but… his stance on gun rights was at times tasteless and awkwardly self-contradictory, as Mr. Moore’s film demonstrated.

    i balance that perspective by pointing out that Mr. Heston was suffering from a degenerative mental disease at that point. as someone who has watched love ones die from the same genetic disorder, i emphasize and it helps to mitigate Mr. Heston’s ultra-right wing stance re: guns.

    he was a great actor; he united many in artistic appreciation and civil rights. later, however, he was a divisive figure, who polarized instead of built concensus, and did so often without regard to the justifiably angry feelings of others in the very community where innocent children were slaughtered by two gun-toting fiends.

    i can appreciate his complexity, but at the same time, not lionize him. just one fool’s opinion.

  14. ukulelemike responds:

    And then shall we speak the same ill of the likes of Rosie O’Donnell who uses such tragedies to push an anti-gun agenda, (while being protected by her own gun-toting bodyguard), as Heston did to promote the keeping of arms? Would access to arms in Columbine and other such tragedies have helped in stopping it from occurring, or at least reduced it? Those boys didn’t have easy access to those guns-they had to break into a locked safe to get them-they broke numerous laws-making a few more wouldn’t make any difference to those intent on killing others, and Heston was right in his continued backing of the right to keep and bear arms-he sought to counteract the emotionally-driven laws that would come out of something like that, which would result in only making it more difficult for lawful gun owners to protect themselves against criminals who will still find guns, regardless of tighter laws.
    My point is, Heston DID take an unpopular stance at an unpopular time-but he was right to do so. being right is not seasonal-it is for all time, in all situations, and in this, he was.
    Just my opinion.

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