So I talk a lot of shit about television “news” and that’s because, with very few exceptions, none of it is actually news. Once in a while I actually watch the news but that never happens more than about once a year and I never last more than a few minutes. I get damn near all of my news from newspapers or the internet, and I avoid entertainment news as though it’ll give me cancer of the penis if I’m exposed to it. Which is why I was A), surprised when I learned that Charlton Heston had died last year and B), angered by the fact that I hadn’t heard any reporting of his death but that I know who Samantha Ronson is and that she makes a seven-figure income as a DJ thanks to her Sapphic relationship with Lindsay Lohan.
But anyway, I heard about Heston’s death and immediately wondered to myself if anyone had pried his rifle from his cold, dead hands. I then did a bit of research on the guy – because, believe it or not, damn near everything I write on this site is at least halfway researched – and I wound up rediscovering some things I’d read about him years ago and had since forgotten. Like the fact that he was one of the few people in Hollywood to publicly decry racism back in the fifties, and that he was a big supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, and that he had supported the 1968 gun control act, following the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
Of course as Heston aged, his politics changed and it became difficult (for some) to reconcile the man he was in 1968 with the man who wound up becoming the President of the National Rifle Association thirty years later. When asked why he switched from Democrat to Republican, he claimed that the Democratic Party had changed, and not him. Whatever the case, it’s hard to imagine someone who stood in a picket line outside a segregated theater in 1961 and a right-wing icon whose anti gun control beliefs were so passionate they bordered on the tasteless as being one and the same.
But, then, that’s life for you: Messy and complicated. So, ditching all politics and discussing solely who Charlton Heston was in my eyes:
He was this guy who was really good at making intense, crazy-face eyes and who starred in a whole shit-ton of movies. He starred in the first two (and the best two) Planet Of The Apes movies and also in the worst one. He looked like a complete fucking dork with that eye patch in True Lies, but he totally redeemed himself with his performance in Tombstone, even though it had been released the year before. He starred in the Dynasty spin-off series, The Colbys, and I really hope that didn’t wind up earning him time in Hell (but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it did). He starred in Earthquake but so did Victoria Principal’s amazing tits so who really cares? Ben-Hur was overrated, I fucking cannot sit through The Ten Commandments, and The Omega Man is the fucking worst goddamn adaptation of “I Am Legend” ever. I liked him as Cardinal Richelieu, and the final scene in Planet Of The Apes, where he’s on his knees in the surf, pounding the sand with his fists and screaming like a madman in front of what’s left of The Statue of Liberty will stay with me for the rest of my life.
At the end, his wife was by his side which, as a married man, is a thought that makes me happy. Not much else to say about the guy.