Legendary actor Charlton Heston who gained fame as Moses in the Ten Commandments died at the age of 84. Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1998 and delivered a line from one of his films while holding a rifle over his head and said presidential candidate Al Gore would take away his Second Amendment rights only "from my cold dead hands." Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore had a controversial interview with Charlton Heston in his documentary about guns and the NRA "Bowling for Columbine."
Michael Moore interview Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston, whose chiseled-granite looks and commanding manner led him to portray some of history's most extraordinary men -- from Moses to Michelangelo, John the Baptist to El Cid -- has died. He was 84. The actor, who won a best actor Oscar for the title role in 1959's "Ben Hur," died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife Lydia at his side, according to family spokesman Bill Powers, who declined to comment on the cause of death. In 2002, Heston revealed in a videotaped statement that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease. Saying, "I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure," he began to exit the public stage, where he was known for his work with both SAG and the American Film Institute as well as for political activism that saw him take up causes that ranged from civil rights to gun ownership. Heston's towering presence was tailor-made for the widescreen epics of the '50s and '60s, when he starred in such films as "The Ten Commandments," "El Cid," "55 Days in Peking," "The Agony and the Ectasy" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told."
"I have a face that belongs in another century," he often remarked. Having campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and John F. Kennedy in 1960, Heston was actively involved in the civil rights movement, taking part in Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 civil rights march in Washington, D.C.
But by the '80s, Heston took up conservative causes and became a supporter of Ronald Reagan. In June, 1998, he was elected president of the National Rifle Association, a post he held until 2003, earning him both praise and castigation, especially among his Hollywood peers. At the NRA's 2000 convention, raising a flintlock rifle over his head, he delivered a line that seemed to come straight out of one of his films, when he said that presidential candidate Al Gore would take away his Second Amendment rights only "from my cold, dead hands."