Actor Charlton Heston, April 5 Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson and went on to become an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of conservative causes, died on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home. He was 84. Heston, shown here in Ben-Hur, delivered his signature role as the prophet Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 Biblical extravaganza The Ten Commandments, raising a rod over his head as God miraculously parts the Red Sea. But the tall, ruggedly handsome actor with the booming baritone won the Academy Award for best actor in another religious blockbuster -- 1959's Ben-Hur, racing four white horses at top speed in one of the cinema's legendary action sequences. He became demonized by gun-control advocates and liberal Hollywood when he became president of the National Rifle Assn. in 1998. Heston answered his critics in a now-famous pose that mimicked Moses' parting of the Red Sea. But instead of a rod, Heston raised a flintlock over his head and challenged his detractors to pry the rifle "from my cold, dead hands." But Heston will be best remembered for several indelible cinematic moments: playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with Orson Welles in the oil fields in Touch of Evil, his rant at the end of Planet of the Apes when he sees the destruction of the Statue of Liberty, his discovery that "Soylent Green is people!" in the sci-fi hit Soylent Green"and the dead Spanish hero on his steed in El Cid.
AFP/ Getty Images, file
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