6 APRIL 2008

Hollywood is grieving following the death of legendary Oscar-winning actor Charlton Heston. The star died on Saturday at his home in Beverly Hills following a long illness. He was 84. His wife of more than 60 years, Lydia, was by his side.

Over a movie career spanning seven decades, the chisel-jawed icon portrayed such heroic figures as Moses, John the Baptist, El Cid, Michelangelo and Judah Ben-Hur. It was this last role which won him the best actor Oscar in 1959. Other memorable roles include his performance in 1968's critically and commercially acclaimed sci-fi flick Planet Of The Apes.

On stage, he wowed audiences in roles such as Sir Thomas More, in A Man For All Seasons, Macbeth and Antony in Antony And Cleopatra. In the Eighties, he found new fans on TV with his performance in the glitzy soap opera The Colbys.

"I've played cardinals and cowboys, kings and quarterbacks, presidents and painters, cops and conmen," he said.

In 2002, four years after battling prostate cancer, he issued a statement announcing he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Showing his characteristic grit, the disease did not stop him acting. His last role was in 2003, when he played an elderly Josef Mengele in My Father, Rua Alguem 5555.

In one of Hollywood's longest-lasting marriages, he and Lydia were the parents of two children, Fraser Clarke and Holly Ann, as well as grandparents to Jack Alexander, Ridley and Charlie.

"Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life," said a statement released by his family this weekend. "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'."

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With a career spanning seven decades, the actor took the lead role in more than 60 films. "I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses in my career," he once said Photo: © Getty Images Click on photos for gallery
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Wed in 1944, the couple had one of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood. The early days saw them undergo some difficult times until Charlton found fame
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With Hollywood icon Bette Davis by his side, the star celebrates his Oscar, for his role as Judah Ben-HurPhoto: © Getty Images

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