Hours After Railing at UCLA’s Final Four Loss, Actor Charlton Heston Dies
Charlton Heston in publicity still for "Ben Hur." The rugged Heston performed most of his own stunts, from riding chariots to parting seas -- though arguably his finest stunt was convincing a large part of the American public that amassing a personal cache of deadly weapons, including bolt-action semi-automatics with night vision, is a perfectly sane thing to do.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — Charlton Heston, who appeared in over 100 films in a career spanning 60 years, was a four-term head of the National Rifle Association, and who is best remembered for his epic, rock-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 83 and according to his nurse, died shortly after watching the UCLA Bruins lose to the Memphis Tigers in their Final Four match-up.
"Chuck got all worked up, he was really into the game,” said nurse Shelley Reynolds. “It took minutes for the final score to register.”
“You maniacs," Heston screamed, the realization finally dawning, "you blew it! Damn you!’"
"I tried to settle him down,” Reynolds continues, “but he demanded that I take my stinking paws off him. So after all these years, that’s the thanks, to be called a damn dirty ape by a man that couldn’t find his ass with either hand – though someway somehow they’d occasionally locate mine."
Heston's outburst was his last, as he slipped back into the mental fog in which he's spent the previous five years. He died three hours later, his cold dead hands entwined around a pump-action rifle.
Friends remembering Heston as a passionate sports fan – and a sportsman in his own right, as he was an avid hunter and fisherman from an early age – aren’t surprised he’d poured his last ounce of energy into the outcome of a basketball game.
"Chuck and I were once in his den watching the Maccabee Games being broadcast from
Israel,” said longtime friend and accountant, Maury Bendix. “Can you imagine, watching a basketball game from Bethlehem with freakin’ Moses on the couch next to you? I mean, Jesus H. Christ! Our team was losing so I go, hey Chuck, time for some of that biblical mishegos you do. He just picked up the Lugar sitting on the coffee table and put three slugs into the TV. Game over. Now that's one hell of a Moses."
Kareem Abdul Jabbar remembers the hair-raising evening he spent at the Hestons when Jabbar was still playing for the Lakers.
“I wanted to see his Oscars, he was determined to show me his gun collection. At one point he’s showing me his prized possessions – a Revolutionary War-era musket and, while not technically a rifle, a shoulder fired rocket launcher – when he asks me why I don’t run back on defense faster and why am I so weak off the offensive glass. I'm a mellow guy but you push my buttons and I’ll go gangster. I pulled a huge elephant gun off the wall and put his big ole jaw at the end of it. So what was that about not getting back on defense motherfucker…? We’re standing there for feels like forever…when finally I say, hey, just show me your Oscars and we’ll forget this ever happened.”
Rich Lowry, editor of conservative magazine National Review, was interviewing Heston for a story when fellow firearms enthusiast Hunter S. Thompson dropped by for a surprise visit, instigated by mutual friend Jack Nicholson.
“Their excuse for basically barging in was they both had a lot of money riding on the game – Niners Packers, something like that – and Jack’s cable was out. But everyone knew Hunter wanted to throw down with Chuck. I mean, why else bring in three pieces of Samsonite, all packed with heat? Anyway, about ten minutes in, before Chuck or Hunter can pull a trigger, bullets are whizzing through the windows! I’m like, what the fuh…k. Chuck says not to worry, he goes to the window and fires three rounds into the air, which is enough to make the kids disperse -- or at least pause to reload.”
“Neighborhood kids had an open invite to come by, pick up one of the kids-safe firearms lying around, and squeeze off a few. Occasionally things would get out of control, but the smarter kids knew Chuck was a crack shot, so a few rounds into the air and things settled down pronto. They say he had to fire into the crowd only four times since he’s had kids over to the house, never once so much as grazing a child…though I hear he critically maimed at least nine liberals who were intent on making it harder for ordinary citizens to stockpile the weapons it's their right to own. Eight of the nine turned out to be exactly as Chuck claimed -- left-of-center – at least in terms of how reports described their exit wounds.”
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