I feel a little weird doing a memorial for Charlton Heston after spending more than a week covering the Planet of the Apes movies.
I've never been a huge fan of either Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments, though those two films were certainly holiday staples in my childhood. It's his trifecta of great sci-fi movies from the 60s and 70s that made me a fan of his: Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man.
Though it is the weaker of the three, Omega Man has some great moments that are often overshadowed by those in the other two movies. In fact, I think that this clip features a great Heston line that should stand on a level with those of Apes and the final line of Soylent Green:
He also didn't take himself too seriously, as was evident by the two hilarious appearances as host of Saturday Night Live in 1987 and 1993. The later one featured one of the best versions of a common bit on SNL: the monologue where the host takes questions from the audience. In this version, the audience is made up entirely of apes who all ask questions about how it is that Heston can talk. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip of this, but you can find the transcript here. And here's another script from a great sketch on that episode, "Bag Boy,", where Heston plays a 65-year-old bag boy named Elwin who vaguely threatens his manager whenever the manager corrects Elwin's mistakes.
Here, though, is another example of how he could make fun of himself: his cameo in Wayne's World, which he sells the shit out of:
And I usually watch Touch of Evil at least once a year. Heston gets a bad rap for this movie: he is miscast as a Mexican detective, but he makes it work, especially in the way his idealism contrasts Orson Welles's performance as the most crooked of crooked cops.