BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 5, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Legendary actor, civil rights leader and political activist Charlton Heston passed away today, at the age of 84. He died at his home with Lydia, his wife of 64 years, at his side. Mr. Heston was loved by his two children, Fraser Clarke Heston and Holly Heston Rochell, and his three grandchildren, Jack Alexander Heston, Ridley Rochell and Charlie Rochell.
The Heston family issued the following statement:
"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. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. Indeed, he committed himself to every role with passion, and pursued every cause with unmatched enthusiasm and integrity.
We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle grandfather, with an infectious sense of humor. He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity. He loved deeply, and he was deeply loved.
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."
A private memorial service will be held. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund:
When I was a young child growing up in Boise Idaho I went to see Cecil B DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth" about a traveling circus in which Heston was the circus boss. For days after the movie I couldn't get the movie out of my mind. I would dream at night that I was in the movie and be disappointed in the morning when I woke up that I was only dreaming. This was my first Charlton Heston movie and I can still see him issuing orders so that the "show would go on" in spite of the circus train wreck and other disasters. I can still see him as Ben Hur (1959) and El Cid (1961) in which he played the title characters. I will never forget him as the U.S. Marine Corps officer in "55 Days of Peking" (1963) where he protected the United State embassy and the "foreign compound" during the Boxer Rebellion or his portrayal of General "Chinese" Gordon in Khartoum (1966). "Midway" (1976) and "The Mountain Men" (1980) stand out among his later films. In the end I will always see him holding a rifle over his head at a NRA convention. As long as we go to movies he will live on in our imagination of what a heroic man should be. RIP