One of the most commanding stars of his era, actor Charlton Heston was a man whose presence allowed him to play larger than life characters on screen, while his own personal convictions gained him both admirers and detractors throughout his lifetime. With his imposing stature and sonorous voice, it did not take long before the stage actor was landing roles on early television and headlining in feature films like "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952). As impressive as these early roles were, Heston's performances in the biblical blockbusters "The Ten Commandments" (1956) and "Ben-Hur" (1959) cemented his stature as a leading man in Hollywood. He continued with a steady output of historical epics and, as the 1960s drew to a close, took part in several science fiction classics, beginning with "Planet of the Apes" (1968). Even as he worked steadily over the decades, Heston was also known for his outspoken activism, first as a long-standing president of the Screen Actors Guild and later in the same role with the influential gun lobby, the National Rifle Association. It was his affiliation with the latter, combined with his vocal opposition to what he decried as the politically correct "culture wars" in America that drew the ire of many in the predominantly left-leaning Hollywood community. Regardless of his political views, there was no denying that Charlton Heston was one of the most influential and prolific actors of 20th Century cinema, providing generations of audiences with some of the most memorable big screen performances of all time.