Charlton Heston

The iron-jawed star of many historical and biblical epics was born John Charles Carter on Oct. 4, 1924, in Evanston, Ill. After attending Northwestern University on a drama scholarship, Heston served in the Army Air Force before making his Broadway debut in Katharine Cornell's acclaimed production of "Anthony and Cleopatra" (1947).

Heston's first film appearance was in Dark City (1950), followed by The Greatest Show on Earth, The President's Lady, El Cid, The Agony and the Ecstasy, and Khartoum. Famous for playing Moses in The Ten Commandments, Heston received a Best Actor Oscar for Ben-Hur (1959).

Starting in 1968 with Planet of the Apes, Heston starred in a series of socially conscious sci-fi films, such as Soylent Green. By the '90s, he was making guest appearances and became increasingly involved in charity work and activism, most notably in support of gun ownership. He died on April 5, 2008, at age 84.