April 6th, 2008

Charlton Heston RIP

Dear Chuck,

You were the first film star I ever loved. Ben Hur is very long and boring but at the time I was just grateful to be in your presence. The chariot race is magic.

I think you took yourself a little too seriously- certainly it's hard to imagine you playing comedy- and perhaps that's what held you back from being the great actor I believe you wanted to be- and so nearly were.

You were in some very good films. El Cid is a favourite of mine. The Warlord is forgotten but cool. Soylent Green and Planet of the Apes are cult classics.

Touch of Evil is a masterpiece. I believe you used your star power to ensure Welles got to direct it. That could be the single most important thing you ever did.

I saw you on stage once. You did OK.

I'm a European so I really don't get that thing about guns but I guess it all made sense to you. I don't think it was kind of Michael Moore to doorstep you the way he did.

You were an innocent-  a gallant gentleman- married to the same woman for 64 years, which is sweet. Gore Vidal and his mates laughed at you for not getting the gay subtext they'd inserted into Ben Hur- and that sniggering accompanied you all through life. You probably deserved a lttle gentle mockery (who doesn't?) but I don't believe you were ever hated. You were too nice, too courteous, too trusting. You got to play all manner of antique fools, but you never got to play Don Quixote, which is a pity, because you'd have been a natch.

Off you go then on your white stallion across the limitless sands,

Vaya con Dios,