Hollywood legend Charlton Heston dies at age 84

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Charlton Heston at a civil rights march in Washington, D.C. in 1963.

Screen legend and conservative icon Charlton Heston, twice winner of an Academy Award during his 50 year film career, died Saturday, April 5 in Beverly Hills, California.

"To his loving friends, colleagues and fans, we appreciate your heartfelt prayers and support. Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country. In his own words, 'I have lived such a wonderful life. I've lived enough for two people,'" said his family in a statement released to the press.

Heston starred in the 1959 film Ben Hur which won 11 Academy Awards. He also starred in the 1968 film The Planet of The Apes. Near the end of his life, he primarily did cameo roles, including two in the films Tombstone with Kurt Russell, and True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Heston's family did not state the cause of death, but in 2002, he revealed that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Heston was 84.

In his early career, Heston spoke out against racism and was active in the civil rights movement. He played in films such as The Omega Man and Soylent Green (which ends with Heston saying "Soylent Green is people!"), which contain a strong environmental message.

Heston was also president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003. In 2000, he declared at the NRA convention that Presidential candidate Al Gore could only take away his Second Amendment rights "From my cold, dead hands," raising a presentation rifle over his head.


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