If you've ever been a fact-checker, you probably had beaten into you the fact that — above everything else — you must get a person's name and age right. When we were starting out, we once let "Kerri" Kennedy Cuomo slip by us and we can still count the cane lashing scars on our ass. So our buttocks started tingling in sympathy when we read the New York Times' corrections admitting that they'd screwed up Charlton Heston's birth name and age in his obituary. There were some other goofs as well.
An obituary in some editions on Sunday and in some copies on Monday about the actor Charlton Heston misstated his given name at birth. It was John Charles Carter, not Charlton Carter.
A front-page obituary and a headline in some editions on Sunday about the actor Charlton Heston misstated his age and the year of his birth. He was 84, not 83, and was born in 1923, not 1924.
And a list of Mr. Heston's films accompanying the obituary on Monday misstated the relationship between two characters in the film "Midway," in which Mr. Heston played a Naval officer. The characters, the officer's son and a woman of Japanese descent, are hoping to marry; they are not already married.
The obituary also referred incorrectly to the character played by Orson Welles in the film "Touch of Evil," in which Mr. Heston had a starring role. The character, Quinlan, is a police captain, not a sheriff.
If Britney Spears has taught us anything (and, really, there are too many things to count), it's that these obits are written years in advance. Writer Melissa Kirsch points out that this had probably been in the works since 1999 when he was battling prostate cancer and rewritten again after the onset of Alzheimer's. Yet, no one caught it.
The police captain/sheriff mix-up, however, is a little more forgivable. We thought that the only difference was sheriffs are required to have mustaches and travel in the company of tumbleweeds. But, hey, that's why we don't write for the Times.