CBNNews.com - America is mourning the loss of a cinematic legend. Charlton Heston died this past weekend at the age of 84.
"Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life," Heston's family said in a statement. "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."
The actor passed away at his Beverly Hills home with his wife Lydia and family by his side, according family spokesman Bill Powers.
A Distinguished Career
Perhaps even more legendary than Heston were the roles he played.
From Moses in the classic film The Ten Commandments to the chariot-racing Ben-Hur -- for which he won an Academy Award.
"To me, he was the consummate leading man. He was tall, he was handsome, he was sensitive, he was gruff when he had to be. He was a great cowboy; he was perfect for those historical roles," said actress Shirley Jones, who co-starred with Heston in the 1999 movie Gideon.
"He could do everything," she said. "And there aren't many actors around today who could."
To Heston, the characters he portrayed were more than just roles.
"You've been chosen by directors to play often great men, larger than life characters," ABC's Peter Jennings said to Heston in an old interview.
"Larger than life, but they were alive. Larger than the rest of us, is the proper way to put it," was Heston's response.
He was the quintessential Hollywood star. But he always felt his calling was beyond the silver screen.
"I've been very lucky in my life. The chances I've had as an actor, and you sort of feel you have a responsibility to pay it back," he said.
So while he wasn't filming movies, he took on the role as Hollywood activist.
He marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement.
He served as the head of the Screen Actors Guild and as the president of the National Rifle Association.
"Mr. Clinton, sir, America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters -- and we sure, Lord, don't trust you with our guns," Heston said.
But through it all, he remained faithful. And he'll tell you that his favorite role was the one as a real-life father -- and husband to the same woman for over 50 years.
He said, "Do your best, keep your promises. That'd make do for the 11th Commandment."
Source: The Associated Press