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So Long, Moses April 5, 2008

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies.
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After a long battle with Alzheimers’ that took him out of public life, Charlton Heston died today at age 84.

Sure, he got to scream at Dr. Zaius and play a Mexican cop fighting Fatty McBlobbo Orson Welles and found out what goes into soylent green and win a chariot race against Stephen Boyd before Boyd got reincarnated into Frankie Fane and drop from a helicopter into a damaged 747 and land it safely… but thanks to Cecil B. DeMille’s wonderful excesses, there’s no way I’ll ever be able to think of Moses or the Exodus without thinking of Heston.

I once saw Heston at a local Italian restautant some years back. He was holding court with his wife and a group of friends a few tables over, and as he told stories and led a conversation largely dominated by his friends attempting to goad him into arguing politics, the entire restaurant filled with that familiar booming voice of his, much to everyone’s entertainment. He talked about what a wonderful actor Alec Baldwin is (“Alec Baldwin? He’s the greatest actor in the world!“) while laughing about their political differences, and then told the story of how he met his wife in high school. They were married 63 years, a real rarity in Hollywood, or anywhere for that matter.

Anyway, Heston got up to use the men’s room, so I said to my brother sitting across our table “I’m gonna go whizz next to Moses!” and I got up to follow Heston.

I arrived at a locked door. It was a private bathroom. Moses would whizz alone (just like he did before finding Jethro’s oasis). Before I could return to my table, the door opened and Heston came out. I looked up at him and smiled a “Hey, you’re Charlton Heston!” smile, and he reacted like you’d expect him to react to what must have been a pretty familiar smile by then with a simple “Hello” before going back to his table.

I went in to use the bathroom, and was disappointed to see that he did NOT part the waters in the toilet. Maybe he was tired that night.

I’ve played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses – and that’s probably enough for any man.” – Charlton Heston

Rest in peace. 😦

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