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Sample Autograph Signature: Charlton Heston

Academy Award-winning American film actor noted for heroic roles and political activism. Charlton Heston was born in 1924 in Michigan as John Charlton Carter. His mother re-married Chester Heston in 1934 and the family moved to suburb of Chicago where Heston attended high school. His outstanding performances in the school's drama program earned him a drama scholarship to Northwestern University. Heston left college to enlist in the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1944 and served for two years as a radio operater/gunner with the 11th Air Force. Following the war, he worked as a model in New York City until 1947 when he left to manage a playhouse in Asheville, North Carolina. He returned to New York the following year where he achieved his first theatrical success with a supporting role in the Broadway play Antony and Cleopatra, starring Katherine Cornell. This lead to his first professional movie appearance in 1950 in Dark City, and then further success in performing television roles in the 1950s. His rise to stardom began in 1952 with his role in The Greatest Show on Earth, but was assured with his portrayal of Moses in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille production of The Ten Commandments. Since then, Heston has starred in several epic films such as Ben-Hur where his 1959 performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he starred in less heroic roles in several successful science fiction and disaster films. His directorial debut came in 1971 with a film adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra, having previously served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1966 to 1971. During the 1970s Heston began to move more to supporting roles and cameo appearances, but never lacked for film and television roles and, in fact, starred in the prime-time soap, The Colbys from 1985 to 1987. In the late 1980s, he and his son produced several made for cable movies. Until the 1980s, Heston was a Democrat, a civil rights activist, a proponent of gun control, an opponent of the Vietnam War, and considered Richard Nixon a disaster for America. His politics moved to the right on some issues (he has campaigned for Republican presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan and opposes abortion), but more toward libertarian position on others such as affirmative action and gun control. He was president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 until 2003, and an honorary life member. Heston was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2002. In July 2003, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Heston authored six books: The Actor's Life , In the Arena: An Autobiography, Beijing Diary , To Be a Man: Letters to My Grandson, Charlton Heston Presents the Bible, and Charlton Heston's Hollywood: 50 Years in American Film with Jean-Pierre Isbouts.

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