Writer, director, and Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston was born on Oct. 4, 1924. Where he was born is a matter of some disagreement among thousands of sources on the web. About 40 percent of sources say he was born in Evanston, Illinois and about 60 percent say he was born in or near St. Helen in the north central woods of Michigan. Normally authoritative sources seem split down the middle. Assuming St. Helen is the correct place, his name at birth was John Carleton Carter. His parents were Lila Charlton and Russell Whitford Carter. His parents were divorced when Charlton was ten and Lila shortly was married a second time to Chester Heston and the family moved to Wilmette, Illinois where Charlton went to grade school. Charlton attended New Trier High School in Winnetka and graduated with the class of 1942.
While still in high school, Charlton acted in productions of the Winnetka Community Theater and that work helped him get a drama scholarship to Northwestern University. In 1944 he left Northwestern to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Force and was stationed in Alaska.
Charlton Heston played a variety of very famous characters from Moses to Andrew Jackson. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his starring role in Ben Hur in 1959. Click here to see a list of the film and TV roles for Charlton Heston.
Charlton Heston was active in both liberal and conservative political causes at different times in his life. He marched for civil rights laws with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the early 1960s and from 2000 to 2003 he served a term as president of the National Rifle Association. In 2002 Heston announced his doctors informed him he has Alzheimer's Disease and he has not appeared in public since 2003. He is now 82 years old and lives in California.