Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Charlton Heston, the Academy Award-winning actor and gun rights activist, died Saturday at the age of 84.

Heston first made a name for himself in Hollywood, playing the lead role in legendary films "Ben-Hur" and "The Ten Commandments." Though he actively supported Democratic presidential candidates Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as a young actor, he veered right and championed conservative causes as he grew older.

He served as president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003. He was at an NRA convention when he gave his most famous political speech, one in which he held a gun over his head and challenged his critics with five words, "from my cold, dead hands."

Watch the speech below, and read his family's statement regarding his death after the jump.



To his loving friends, colleagues and fans, we appreciate your heartfelt prayers and support. Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. Indeed, he committed himself to every role with passion, and pursued every cause with unmatched enthusiasm and integrity.

We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle grandfather, with an infectious sense of humor. He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity. He loved deeply, and he was deeply loved.

No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country. In his own words, "I have lived such a wonderful life! I've lived enough for two people."