I just want to say

I just want to say a word on behalf of Charlton Heston, who, after a life of great achievement and dedication to large causes, has now been afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and will fade from public view. I don’t know whether Mr. Heston was a great actor, but he was indisputably a movie star. As Moses and as Ben-Hur, among other roles, he created images of heroism that still resonate. My children are far too young to remember Mr. Heston in his prime, but to them the chariot race in Ben-Hur eclipses the many lame, computer-assisted race sequences that have imitated the original. Like so many conservatives, Heston started out as a liberal. Check out InstaPundit for a photo of Heston at a civil rights event in the 1960’s and an account of the vicious attacks now being made on him by leftists. I met Heston once. A couple of years ago I took my family to London and Scotland for a vacation. We were staying in the Athenaeum Hotel in London–a wonderful place, I highly recommend it–and one night I took my kids swimming in the pool. We were leaving the main building to go a few steps up the street to our town house, and at the door, we encountered an older, extremely elegant couple. The older gentleman smiled at me and my children and graciously held the door for us. I looked at him and immediately recognized that it was Charlton Heston. I wanted to stop and tell my children that the man holding the door for us was Ben-Hur, winner of the great chariot race, but the moment passed too quickly and we walked on without a word. Afterward I told my family what had happened, but they probably didn’t believe me until the following day, when we were riding a bus down Oxford Street, I think it was, and we passed a theater marquee with Heston’s name on it, starring in a new play. (The next night we encountered George Lucas, who was staying just above us in our Athenaeum town house for the European opening of the latest Star Wars movie. That is another story which I may tell here someday.) Anyway, I had my chance to tell Mr. Heston how much I appreciated his selfless devotion to what he–and I– consider to be good public policy, and I blew it. So now, Mr. Heston, thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of freedom and decency, and may God bless you and keep you in this difficult time.

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