The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Charlton Heston died today
Charlton Heston died today - and news of his death comes with a kind of surrealism usually reserved only for the realm of my dreams. His death has struck me in a strange way, because, for the past two weeks, I've been watching Charlton Heston movies on DVD.

It started on Easter with Ben-Hur. It's my perennial Easter film. I got hooked on Ben-Hur several years ago when the local cinema got ahold of a real print and showed it on the big screen, to the public, for free. I was mesmerised by the costumes and drama - even if the religious message got a bit lost. I was mesmerised by Chuck (as he was called by friends and family.) And I lamented the extinction of Technicolor.

A week later, I was in our local department store and found a 3-pack DVD of Charlton Heston classics: The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments, and The Naked Jungle. I grew up in the 1970's with a (still buff and handsome) middle-aged Charlton Heston in films such as The Three Musketeers, Planet of the Apes and Earthquake! The Charlton Heston of these classics on DVD was the actor I'd never seen before: classically handsome, built, and with a voice that commanded your attention. This was a Charlton Heston in his youthful prime. He had been an artist's model and I couldn't blame him for showing off his chest in these early films. I felt myself feeling envious of his wife of 64 years, Lydia.

I discovered that he had crusaded for John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights back in the '60's, and had been president of the Screen Actor's Guild in the '70's. As he aged, Charlton Heston became more politically conservative, and, I daresay, opinionated. As I watch his early films, it doesn't matter that I didn't always agree with him. I had to hand it to him, though - he managed to stay in the spotlight until right before his death.

Good night, Chuck. Rest in peace. And thanks for being a part of an era in Hollywood that we will never see again. Few actors can be called "legends," but I daresay that you rank amongst the stars.

(Note: image is for commentary purposes only.)
posted by Melanie O. at 4:16 PM -
  • At 7:41 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    I saw Ben Hur in the movie theatre when it was a new release. What a drama! What a thrill! Later I saw it on TV. It seemed over acted and posturing. Still, He was some movie star.

  • At 8:02 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Some movies are just meant to be seen on the big screen. I feel really fortunate that I got to see Ben Hur at our local cinema. How the cinema owner got ahold of a genuine print amazes me - apparently there are only two copies in existence.

  • At 5:58 AM, Blogger Kanani said…

    Well, it was a sad thing, to see him go over to the NRA in the last decade or so of his life. So much talent became lost in the haze of politics. Still, he was a fantastic man --and married to the same woman his whole life!

    I watched his interview with Peter Jennings when he announced he had alzheimers. Very moving, very courageous.

  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    I saw that interview as well, and I was really moved by his relationship with his wife. He said to a national audience, that he wouldn't know who he was, without her. That can be taken several ways, but I think that because he was an actor, she helped keep him grounded and was there to always remind him of what was important in life. We all should be so fortunate to have that kind of partnership with one person our whole life. Truly remarkable, from several perspectives.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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