Charlton Heston’s other ‘holy’ roles

Charlton Heston, portraying Moses, holds up the Ten Commandments in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 epic. (CNS file photo)Just about everyone familiar with cinema knows that Charlton Heston, who died April 5 at age 84, played Moses in the 1956 Hollywood classic “The Ten Commandments.”

But it would take a real film buff to remember the other “holy” roles Heston played, including St. Thomas More in a 1988 TV remake of “A Man for All Seasons,” St. John the Baptist in 1965’s “The Greatest Story Ever told,” Sistine Ceiling painter Michelangelo in “The Agony and the Ecstasy” (also made in 1965), Cardinal Richelieu in the 1973 film version of “The Three Musketeers,” and Judah Ben-Hur in 1959’s “Ben-Hur,” for which he won the Oscar for best actor.

But he topped all of those characters by playing God in an uncredited appearance in the 1990 movie “Almost an Angel.”

In an interview with Catholic News Service to promote the movie, Heston said he told Paramount Pictures, which produced the film, that he didn’t want any billing: “It really is ridiculous to say ‘God — Charlton Heston.'”

In negotiating with studio execs, Heston added, he told them, “God doesn’t need billing.” Heston said the studio replied, “God doesn’t need to be paid either.” Ultimately, Heston and Paramount worked out a deal in which the studio didn’t have to pay the actor an almighty sum.

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