January 30, 2014

2014 First Look: Charlton Heston

The Legends of Hollywood series returns in 2014 with a stamp celebrating the career of Charlton Heston (1927–2008).

The Charlton Heston stamp, which was designed by art director Greg Breeding, features a portrait of the actor created by noted movie artist Drew Struzan.

Heston made his mark in Hollywood playing heroic roles in epic films, like Moses in director Cecil B. DeMille’s Biblical extravaganza The Ten Commandments (1956). In 1960, he received a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Judah Ben-Hur, a Judean prince who rebels against Roman occupation during the time of Christ, in Ben-Hur (1959). In one of the most famous action sequences ever filmed, Heston raced a chariot and thundering team of four horses in a spectacular contest against his Roman rival.

Heston lent his heroic presence to other larger-than-life roles in the 1960s, including Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) and John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). In Planet of the Apes (1968), he made his first foray into science fiction as a time-traveling astronaut trapped on a planet ruled by English-speaking apes.

Although Heston once joked, “I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses. If that doesn’t create an ego problem, nothing does,” he was known to be humble about his work, often crediting his success to his directors.

Heston was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965 to 1971 and served as president of the American Film Institute from 1983 to 2002. The Academy of Motion Pictures presented him with the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1978 for his philanthropic efforts.

His other honors include receiving the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971 and the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In 2003, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The Charlton Heston stamp will be issued as a Forever® stamp later this year. An exact release date has not yet been set.