Charlton (Carter) Heston

John Charles (Carter) Heston (1923 - 2008)

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John Charles (Charlton) Heston formerly Carter
Born in Evanston, Cook, Illinois, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [private sister (1920s - unknown)], [private brother (1930s - unknown)] [half] and [private sister (1930s - unknown)] [half]
Husband of [private wife (unknown - unknown)]
Father of [private son (unknown - unknown)] and [private daughter (unknown - unknown)]
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 5 Dec 2019 | Created 11 Apr 2015
This page has been accessed 5,553 times.
Charlton (Carter) Heston is a part of Illinois history.
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Charlton (Carter) Heston is Notable.

Charlton Heston was an Academy Award winning American actor and political activist, starring in nearly 100 films, and best known for his roles in Ben-Hur, "The Ten Commandments", and "Planet of the Apes".[1][2][3]


John Charles Carter was born 4 October 1923, the son of Lila Charlton and Russell Whitford Carter, a sawmill operator.[2][4][5] Many sources indicate he was born in Evanston, Illinois.[5] Heston's autobiography, however, and some other sources, place his birth in No Man's Land, Illinois, which usually refers to a then-unincorporated area now part of Wilmette, a wealthy northern suburb of Chicago. Heston was partially of Scottish descent, including from the Clan Fraser, but the majority of his ancestry was English. When Heston was 10 years old, his parents divorced.[1][3] Shortly thereafter, his mother married Chester Heston and the new family moved back to Wilmette.[6] Lila and the two young Carter children took on their step-father's surname.[3][2][6]

Charlton married fellow Northwestern University student Lydia Marie Clarke in 1944, after returning from serving in the Aleutian Islands in the Air Force.[3][2][7] They had one son, Fraser Clarke Heston, and adopted one daughter, Holly Ann Heston.[2]

Actor and Activist

Charlton became John's name of choice once he started acting.[2] It was his mother's maiden name.[2] Charlton's big break came in his Broadway debut in "Antony and Cleopatra" in 1947.[2] The role set the pace for his future roles, where his deep baritone vocals would be appropriate, especially in historical dramas.[2] He won an Oscar for Best Actor for his role as "Ben-Hur" in 1959.[2] Charlton was known for his devotion to roles, insisting on playing Moses barefoot and memorizing chunks of the Bible; learning to drive a chariot and doing so about 80% of the time for Ben-Hur; and spending hours learning to sculpt and paint for the role of Michelangelo.[3]

From 1965 to 1971, Charlton served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild.[2] He also helped create the American Film Institute, as well as being a supporter of the National Foundation for the Endowment of the Arts.[2]

In addition to acting, Charlton was an activist.[2] He supported Martin Luther King, Jr in his civil rights protests, and later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2003 for his role, as well as his accomplishments in acting.[2]
Charlton (Carter) Heston was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition to his civil rights work, Charlton was a supporter of the NRA, serving as president from 1998 to 2003.[2][3]


Charlton revealed he had Alzheimer's Disease in August 2002.[2][3]

Charlton Heston died on April 5, 2008, at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with Lydia, his wife of 64 years, by his side.[3][2][8] He was survived by Lydia, as well as their children.[2] A month later media outlets reported his death was due to complications with pneumonia, likely complicated by his Alzheimer's disease.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Charlton Heston on
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 Editors, "Charlton Heston", Accessed 26 March 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Berkvist, Robert, "Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of NRA , Dies at 84", New York Times, 6 April 2008. Accessed via 26 March 2018
  4. 1930 Federal Census (Richfield, Roscommon, Michigan, United States):
    Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
    Russell W Carter Head M 32 Illinois
    Lilla C Carter Wife F 30 Illinois
    Charlton J Carter Son M 6 Illinois
    Lilla A Carter Daughter F 2 Michigan
    "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 April 2015), Charlton J Carter in household of Russell W Carter, Richfield, Roscommon, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0010, sheet 3B, family 63, line 57, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1024; FHL microfilm 2,340,759.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1938," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 April 2015), Charlton Carter, ; citing Evanston, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .
  6. 6.0 6.1 "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 March 2018), Lilla Heston in household of Chester Heston, Wilmette, New Trier Township, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 16-305, sheet 12B, line 52, family 213, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 783.
  7. "United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 April 2015), John C Carter, enlisted 17 Feb 1941, Chicago, Illinois, United States; citing "Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946," database, The National Archives: Access to Archival Databases (AAD) ( : National Archives and Records Administration, 2002); NARA NAID 126323, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  8. Find A Grave: Memorial #25772172

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Why is his wife listed as [private wife (unknown - unknown)] when her full name is given in the biography - Lydia Marie Clarke in 1944?
posted by David McGee
The funny thing is that Charlton Heston once said in an interview that his grandfather was a stern Scottish Presbyterian. What on earth prompted him to say that? :)
posted by Loretta (Lynn) Layman

Charlton is 21 degrees from Donald Howard, 21 degrees from Julia Howe and 19 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.