Charlton Heston was an American actor and political activist. As a Hollywood star, he appeared in 100 films over the course of 60 years, writes Anthony Costelloe
He parted the Red Sea, humbled the arrogant pharaoh, Ramses II, who, burying his head in his hands resignedly exclaimed, – “His God, is God.” Illinois-born Charlton Heston, whose real name was John Charles Carter, gave a powerful performance as Moses, God’s law giver in Cecil B. DeMille’s magnificent Biblical epic, ‘The Ten Commandments’ (1956).
Heston got top-billing in this visually stunning movie which has a running time of three hours and forty minutes. It features a host of Hollywood stars. Yul Brenner as Rameses II, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Sir Cedric Hardwick as Rameses I, John Derek as Joshua, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan and Vincent Price as Baka the master builder, together with a cast of thousands.
Heston was thirty-three years old when he starred as Moses. His baby son, Fraser, was cast as the baby Moses set adrift in a basket on the river Nile. Heston starred in over one hundred movies in a career spanning six decades, making his acting debut in a film, ‘Peer Gent’ (1941).
Two other movies followed, then he was hired by the renowned Hollywood director, Cecil B. DeMille to star as the hard-working circus boss, Brad Braden in the 1952 Academy Award winning circus movie, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Heston took second billing to Betty Hutton in this epic circus extravaganza.
Mr. DeMille produced, directed and narrated key sections of this two-and-a-half-hour feast of entertainment. Heston’s movie career spiralled after he met the great director a second time.
In the ‘Ten Commandments’ trailer DeMille comments on Heston’s facial features, especially his nose, and their striking resemblance to Michelangelo’s marble statue of Moses which can still be seen in the Vatican at Rome.