While I certainly didn't agree with most of his politics, he was a hell of an actor. While most people point to Ben-Hur or The Ten Commandment, my favorite Heston movies were "The Greatest Show on Earth" and, of course, "Planet of the Apes".
Although I'm sure I'm not getting all the details right, I remember Heston talking about a talk he had with Yakima Canutt, who coordinated the chariot race in Ben-Hur. Apparently, Heston was concerned about getting hurt (I think that was the issue) and was expressing his concern to Canutt, who was an experienced stuntman.
Canutt looked at Heston and dryly replied to his concerns "don't worry Chuck, I'll make sure you win the damn race."
I wonder if 40 or 50 years from now we'll look back at the current crop of movie "stars" as fondly as we do the likes of Heston, John Wayne or Clark Gable?
I find your final question intriguing, and one I've wondered about. When we think of the Gables, the Waynes, the Liz Taylor's, etc., I think they not only had the talent, but were at the right place at the right time. That was a golden era for movies, one that will never come again. Wouldn't surpise me if within 20 years (maybe sooner) movie theaters are found only in the history books. I just can't see people like Matt Damon or Brad Pitt ever being compared to the greats. I hasten to add however that there is some great talent out there of both sexes (Samuel L. Jackson and Jodi Foster come to mind. Sad to see it die....
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