Yes, he did play on Broadway, once for months at the beginning of his career and three times for a night-or-two when he was a star. And in his time, he was one of the biggest. He died of Alzheimer's the same damn disease that took my father in August and is working away on my mother. What a curse of the modern age. I met Chuck on the 40th anniversary of the release of "Ben Hur" at a screening at Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles. He could not have been more gracious or fun to talk to. He shook my hand, very firmly for a man as ill as he was that year (and somewhat frail - he rallied I understand), looked me square in the eye and said the making of the film was perhaps the most enjoyable time of his career, except for nights like this when he got to share the film with younger audience. I told him I saw it when it came out in '59 on a military base, every night for two weeks (my mom worked at the candy counter that Christmas) and he said "You probably know the lines better than I do, son." I quoted, in a poor Heston imitation "The wise old days of Solomon." He said "Wise, indeed." and moved on, leaving me thrilled. Now that was a movie star.
I'm very sad to hear this news. I, too, met Mr. Heston, singing at his home for Christmas Eve about 6 years ago (I'm the girl in green). He was hospitable beyond belief, and so respectful of us as performers. He even insisted we eat with all his guests - mostly family - after we'd sung. Not just "oh, help yourself to the buffet, you can eat in the kitchen," but "Help yourself, mix and mingle, enjoy, and sit anywhere you like." He even had his butler (yes, an old-fashioned butler) give us a tour of his memorabilia, and I got to hold the staff from The Ten Commandments. And one of his Oscars. Pretty cool. He shall be missed.
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