CHARLTON HESTON: HOLLYWOOD’S LAST ICON is the definitive biography of one of the most iconic, complex and enduring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, whose major presence in American film, radio, television, stage and theater lasted beyond the second half of the 20th Century, and whose classic films are known throughout the world.
Written by New York Times bestselling, prize-winning author Marc Eliot - Cary Grant, Walt Disney, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, and others - with unprecedented access to the family, friends, and Heston’s private papers, diaries, journal, writings and estate, he tells an unforgettable tale of an extraordinary life you may find difficult to put down.
The photo on the left is me with Charlton Heston's son Fraser. I have worked on many biographical projects, but this one is special for me. The trust and access I received from the Heston family was unprecedented, without any conditions of editorial control. This was the perfect storm, so to speak, that every biographer dreams of. I was given almost total access to Charlton Heston's letters, photos, and documents, many of which are included in the book. I was able to have long conversations with both Fraser Heston and his sister, Holly, about their father and they were open and frank, and answered virtually every question I asked. I never felt I had to tiptoe around any issue, or soften any of my inquiries.
I have always been interested in rebels—not necessarily political rebels, but social, creative, and fearlessly expressive ones as well. From my first book, Death Of A Rebel: Starring Phil Ochs And A Small Circle Of Friends, through such disparate subjects as Walt Disney, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson and John Wayne, it was the rebel in each of them that compelled me to write their stories. With Charlton Heston, whose entire life was, I think, in many ways one long rebellion, I found a subject I and everyone can relate to—someone whose life's long journey was exciting on the outside, and equally compelling within.
I believe we can all learn a lot about our own lives by understanding Heston's, the heights he managed to reach and the enormous price he had to pay at times to express his opinions and maintain his personal integrity. This is also a book about the Hollywood of his time, a place where integrity was always at a premium, and it gives a view of the industry that you may never have experienced before. This book is a fasten-your-seatbelt ride. I hope you enjoy it.