Charlton Heston, the actor who portrayed Moses in the epic film “The Ten Commandments,” has died.
Heston died Saturday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84
In August 2002, Heston said he had been diagnosed with neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease” following a 1999 announcement that he was being treated for prostate cancer.
The veteran actor, who starred in about 100 movies during his 60-year acting career, aligned himself with some political causes anathema to most American Jews, including the National Rifle Association, which he served four terms as president between 1997 and 2001 after becoming an opponent of gun control late in life. He became one of the organization’s most effective spokesmen.
Along with Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” Heston starred in the legendary films “Ben Hur” and “El Cid.” He also portrayed a marooned astronaut in “The Planet of the Apes,” released in 1968, and played a cameo performance in the 2001 remake.
Heston was a supporter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., calling him “a 20th century Moses for his people,” and participated in the march on Washington in 1963. He was a registered Democrat for many years, but switched to the Republican Party after the blocked Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork in 1987.
In 2003 Heston was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush.