Charlton Heston is one of the most famous men in cinema. The actor, who got his big break in the early 1950s with hits like ‘Marc Antony’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’, helped shape the landscape of modern cinema. Some of his most successful movies include ‘Ben-Hur’, ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and he is considered one of the most important actors in Hollywood’s history.
His career, however, stretched far beyond Tinsel Town and the world of glitz and glamor. His full-time days of acting over, Heston became interested in politics and was a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association [NRA]. He eventually became more conservative was sworn in as the President of the NRA in 1998 until he retired in 2003 after being diagnosed with symptoms related to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder and the most common form of dementia. It is far more serious than just losing memory – it is a progressively deteriorating and fatal brain disease. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells and is utterly degenerative leading to a total breakdown of memory, motor skills and brain functions. Where once sufferers could perform simple daily tasks with ease they become unable to do so.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Heston’s condition worsened and a few weeks before his death in April 2008, it was reported that he had reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s.
The actor and gun lover also battled with prostate cancer in 1998, and after receiving radiation therapy, was declared cancer free in 2000. It was then, after his ordeal with the illness that he realized he had an alcohol problem and sought treatment at a Utah rehab clinic for alcoholism.