Letters to the editor: April 9, 2008

A great American actor

In case you missed the news, a great American actor passed away on April 5.

He made his “niche” in the American movie industry by starring in what we now call classic “epic” movies. Who can ever forget his parting of the Red Sea in the 1956 remake of Cecil B. DeMille’s movie “The Ten Commandments,” which also starred Yul Brynner. Then there is what a lot of people would call the most exciting scene in movie history: The chariot race where Judah Ben-Hur faces the Roman soldier Mesala (played by Stephen Boyd), who imprisoned him and his family. What an incredible movie set!

The actor that played both roles — Moses and Ben Hur — was Charlton Heston. The movie “Ben Hur” won 11 academy awards in 1959, which is still the record today (it was tied by James Cameron’s 1997 remake of the movie “Titanic” and the 2003 movie “Lord of the Rings”) and won not only the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars, but Charlton Heston’s only Oscar as Best Actor. When they made that movie in 1959, it cost $14.7 million and MGM bankrolled its studio on this one motion picture because it was the most expensive movie of its time; if it were made today, it would cost (amazingly enough) $238 million — which is why they don’t make those kind of movies anymore.

Heston had a role in over 70 movies spanning five decades including many that featured famous historical characters. Some of the movies that he starred in were “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” “The Greatest Show on Earth,” “Airport 1975,” “Earthquake,” “El Cid,” “Julius Caesar,” and the 1968 movie “Planet of the Apes” with Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter.

In the latter stages of his life, this famous actor suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Charlton Heston was 84 when he died.

I am proud to be a life member of an organization called NARFE — National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees — who have donated over $7 million to find a cure for this disease that affects many senior citizens today.

Gary Robertson,

Federal Way

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