Charlton Heston, born John Charles Carter on October 4, 1923 in Evanston, Illinois, was an American actor and political activist. Heston showed an early interest in acting and eventually earned a scholarship to study theater at Northwestern University. His plans to attend college were derailed by the outbreak of World War II, however. Heston served as an aerial gunner and radio operator during the war and later provided voice-overs for military films. Heston married and moved to New York City after leaving the military and appeared in small roles in numerous films. In 1956, he was awarded the role of Moses in the Ten Commandments, a role that would ultimately define his career. Heston's career flourished for the next several decades, as he appeared in landmark films such as Touch of Evil, El Cid, Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green. When his acting career began to wind down in the 1980s, Heston became quite active in Republican politics and served as a prominent spokesman for the National Rifle Association. Heston died on April 5, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.