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Charlton Heston: 1924-2008

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“With his perfect, lean-hipped, powerful body, Heston is a god-like hero; built for strength, he is an archetype of what makes Americans win. He represents American power — and he has the profile of an eagle.” - Movie critic Pauline Kael, 1968
That's part of what made him such an icon. His look and aura made him appear larger than life. How many others could fill those shoes, all those great icons he portrayed? But he was a very good and solid actor, too. Had to be, to pull off those big roles. And he did well more subtle roles, just watch his performance in the western, Will Penny, if you don't believe me. I saw on a blog last week after Heston died:
When I read "remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo," I wondered, by whom? I'm pretty old but I've never seen those movies. I was alive when they came out, but too young to go to movies like that, and they weren't the kind of movies I was ever interested in over the decades I've spent catching up on old movies...I think most people younger than 60 remember him chiefly for "Planet of the Apes." Ask the man on the street to imitate Charlton Heston and I bet he'd say "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!
Well, certainly he is also remembered for Apes, but he was already quite well known by then, having won an Oscar for Ben Hur a decade earlier. I'm fifteen years younger than this blogger and grew up watching those movies when they ran on TV at least annually. My parents saw all those movies on the big screen when they were first released, and passed on to the next generation an appreciation for Heston and his peers, and for those movies from an earlier period. By the time Apes showed up, I was already a fan. It was one of the first movies I saw on the big screen (I was six), which only paved the way for me to love Chuck (please don't call him Charlie). A word on the art above: I initially struggled with a few pencils, overworking them and not quite grasping his likeness. Frustrated, I jumped in to ink. The brush saved me. I inked boldly and quickly and achieved the look I was after, finding more of the likeness along the way. The scanned inks were than colored in Photoshop, and I played with "chalk" brushes for the background, but am not sure if I overdid it. What do you think? This has turned out to be a long post, so you're probably wondering when I will make an end? When I am finished.

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