Charlton Heston, Actor

Well, you can have his gun now. Oscar winning actor, NRA president, and all around iconic conservative slab of beefcake, Charlton Heston, died last night at his Beverly Hills home. He was 84. "His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the family, Bill Powers, who declined to discuss the cause. In August 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he had been diagnosed with neurological symptoms 'consistent with Alzheimer's disease.'" [NYT] Olds, and The New York Times, will remember him as the star of The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, but for the rest of us, he will always be the man who launched a thousand spoofs. Update: "Heston was born John Charles Carter in Evanston, Illinois, on Oct. 4, 1923, though the year of his birth has been in dispute for years, with some sources saying he was born in 1924." [Bloomberg]

While many thespians of his generation were students of the naturalistic "Method" school of acting, Heston would have none of that pussy crap, and prided himself on being a Movie Star who could win at yelling and hit the mark without tripping over the scenery. And scenery feared him. Because he could eat the hell out of it. But his style was wonderfully suited to the roles he chose. There is little room for subtlety when you're damning the maniacs who blew up the earth! Or when you're confronted by damned dirty apes! And no one's in the mood for James Dean's sissy-boy whining when you've just found out that your favorite snack is made out of people! I Am Legend? Heston's Omega Man would have ripped Will Smith's face off right off it's silly skull.

Sadly, Heston's last prominent role was as himself in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. Moore wanted to debate Heston over his appearance at an NRA rally in Flint, Michigan, in the wake of a six-year-old boy shooting a six-year-old girl to death there. Nobody won.