Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon

Although Charlton Heston wrote several excellent autobiographies (including The Actor's Life: Journals 1956-1976 and In the Arena), Marc Eliot's hefty, compelling and intimate biography stands as the definitive portrait of the complicated and controversial Oscar-winning actor and political activist.

Prolific biographer Eliot (Cary Grant) creates a captivating portrait with the help of Heston's son and daughter (who had no editorial control) and new interviews with dozens of Heston's friends and foes. Eliot also uses the actor's files and unpublished journals. Surprisingly blunt about Heston's acting style, Eliot writes, "He played his characters literally, on their and his surface, at least in part because he was never asked to do more." And after Touch of Evil's box office failure in 1958, "he would henceforth seek out the conventional, the mainstream, and the commercial, and resist films that were personal artistic statements."

Charlton Heston offers plenty of juicy, behind-the-scenes tales of the making of some of his classic films, including Planet of the Apes, Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments (where Yul Brynner and director Cecil B. DeMille kept their exhausting pace thanks to amphetamine injections and pills). Even more fascinating is Heston's political evolution: from a liberal Kennedy supporter, marching with Martin Luther King in 1963, to a disillusioned independent who eventually--right around the time his film career sputtered out in the 1980s--became a Republican gun rights advocate and NRA spokesperson. Eliot's Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon is an absorbing, haunting and richly detailed portrait of the iconic actor. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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