In the Arena: An Autobiography

Front Cover
Simon & Schuster, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 592 pages
"He is known by millions worldwide for his magnificent portrayals of remarkable men. As an actor, he has reached a level of success and recognition few have achieved and been accorded an acclaim few have received. Now, looking back over a career that has spanned half a century and a lifetime devoted to being the best possible, both as an actor and as a man, Charlton Heston writes of what it was like to live In the Arena. In this autobiography--his first ever and written entirely by himself--Charlton Heston writes with candor and warmth of the forces that shaped his early life; of a broken home; of a shy, insecure young man who found in acting a way to express himself; and of Lydia, the beautiful young woman he met while in college and married more than fifty years ago, who remains a true life partner. Heston began his career as an actor in New York shortly after he returned from service in World War II. Television was a fledgling industry then, and there were many opportunities for young performers in this new medium. Broadway was thriving as well, and Heston found work there too. It was not long, however, before Hollywood took note of his talents and his commanding presence. Soon he was embarked on a series of films that were both memorable and hugely successful. Most actors dream of landing the one big role that will firmly implant them in the consciousness of the movie-going public. Charlton Heston's career has included many such roles. He was Moses in The Ten Commandments; he played the title character in Ben-Hur (for which he won an Academy Award); he was Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy; he played the title character in El Cid; he has played presidents, generals, and statesmen. And in each case he defined those characters, giving them a reality that made them and the films both memorable and immediate. Charlton Heston has also been blessed in the caliber of directors with whom he has worked, including such legendary figures as Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles, and William Wyler. In this book, Heston writes in depth of the experience of working with these men on some of Hollywood's greatest films. In recent years, Heston has continued to appear in films, on stage, and on television, but at the same time, he has devoted a great amount of his energy to causes in which he has strong and outspoken beliefs. An active supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the early days of the struggle for civil rights in America, he continues to this day to lobby hard for the rights of all men to live fairly and equally in a country that he loves dearly. In [this book], he writes eloquently and passionately of his beliefs and of his continuing support for the kind of personal freedoms on which America was founded. Charlton Heston would be the first to say that he has been blessed--to have a wife and family he adores, to be granted the God-given talent that has enabled him to enjoy so phenomenal a career, and to be born into a country that allowed him the freedom to follow whatever path he chose. In [this book], he celebrates those blessing. It is a powerful statement, eloquently rendered."--Dust jacket.

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User Review  - Chris_El - LibraryThing

Heston deserves to be remembered most for two things, being a great actor, and being on the forefront of the civil rights movement. He picketed restaurants in Oklahoma that refused to serve black ... Read full review

IN THE ARENA: An Autobiography

User Review  - Kirkus

A spirited, sprawling, at times delightfully quirky memoir by Hollywood's own Mount Rushmore. With roles ranging from Moses to Michelangelo to Sir Thomas More to the Voice of God, Heston (Beijing ... Read full review


In the Beginning
In a Strange Land

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About the author (1995)

Actor Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter in Evanston, Illinois on October 4, 1924. He attended Northwestern University and served in the United States Army Air Force for two years starting in 1944. He acted in the theater, on television, and in the movies. His films include The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes, and El Cid. He won the 1959 Academy Award for best actor for the movie Ben-Hur. He spoke out openly against racism and was an active supporter of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965-1971. He served as president of the National Rifle Association from 1998-2003. In 2002, he announced he had Alzheimer's disease and in 2003, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. He died on April 5, 2008.

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