Charlton Heston, who held a rifle over his head and scremed that his perceived 2nd amendment right to carry and own a gun would only be taken “from my cold dead hands!”, quietly let us know it was time to take his gun rights away. The extremely vocal and popular actor died yesterday at the age of 83.
Heston spent over 50 years at the forefront of American culture, from his initial film stardom of the 1950’s in Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments to his unfortunate final years of hip replacement, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and being spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA).
For the younger generation, whose only exposure to Charlton Heston is through his emotional racist statements from Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine or his fierce words in defense of guns and weapons, it will be difficult to perceive that he actually fought against racism in the 1960’s.
Heston was always in the public spotlight because he was a tall imposing man who used his deep imposing voice to make strong statements with conviction. Whenever he spoke, people listened, whether he lectured for racism or against it, for peace or against it.
I will always remember him fondly from his stunning performances in El Cid and Planet of the Apes, and I am truly sorry to see him go. We are all damned dirty apes, and Charlton Heston was one of the leaders: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”