Interfoto USA/SIPA
April 07, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

(FROM AP) — Legendary actor Charlton Heston, one of the last surviving links to the golden age of old Hollywood, has died. The Oscar-winning star had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. According to a family spokesman, he passed away Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Associated Press said he was 84 years old, though reports on his age vary.

Characterized by a muscular build and booming voice, Heston starred in more than 100 films over 60 years. He gained fame as the star of epic movies, playing Moses in The Ten Commandments, John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, and the title character in Ben-Hur, the role for which he won a Best Actor Oscar in 1960. He was also one of the early action-film stars, having fronted movies such as Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Soylent Green, and the disaster flicks Airport 1975 and Earthquake.

But Heston was known just as well for his work off screen, which kept him in the public eye during a late-career period when his film appearances became scarce. He served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965-1971, and also spent time as the chairman of the American Film Institute. A high-profile Civil Rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s, he went on to become the president of the National Rifle Association in the 1990s. He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. (AP via Google)

Legacy: See the photo gallery of Charlton Heston’s best roles

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