Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Death of an icon

Charlton Heston, better known for his portrayal of Moses in the movie The Ten Commandments and Judea Ben Hur in Ben Hur passed away, at the age of 84. Endowed with an Adonis like face and a deep rumbling baritone, Heston seemed made-to-order for larger than life mythological roles.
My earliest memory of Heston is of Moses in The Ten Commandments. Such was his screen presence that even today, many many moons after I first saw the movie, the mention of Moses evokes the face of Charlton Heston. Though personally, I believe he did a better job (of acting) in Ben Hur. Another memorable movie is The Planet of the Apes, in which he essays the role of Taylor, a spacecarft-wrecked astronaut who crashlands on earth in the distant future to find that apes are the dominant species and humans, primitive and mute. "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn ape" - a line delivered by Heston to the shock of a couple of ape scientists, is immortalised in movie lore, and memory. Heston has such a towering presence in the movie that a 2001 re-make faded in comparison, and in the box office too.
Active till the very end, Heston appeared in several cameo roles and lent his voice: the last I recall of him is in the role of Spencer Trilby, Arnold Schwarzenegger's boss with an eye patch in the 1994 action flick True Lies and as a narrator in Armageddon. Here's a tribute to the actor who brought mythological figures to life on the big screen.

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