Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter; October 4, 1923 - April 5, 2008) was an American actor of film, theatre, and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), El Cid, and Planet of the Apes. He also is well known for his roles in the films The Greatest Show on Earth and Touch of Evil. Heston was also known for his political activism. In the 1950s and 1960s he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Initially a moderate Democrat, he later supported conservative Republican policies and was president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003. Heston was born John Charles Carter, the son of Lilla (ne Charlton; 1899-1994) and Russell Whitford Carter (1897-1966), a sawmill operator. Most sources state that he was born in Evanston, Illinois.
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