Brian Fitzpatrick

My grandfather, a college football star, played for the NFL champion Providence Steam Roller back in 1928, so this weekend I was looking forward to seeing George Clooney’s new 1920s football movie, Leatherheads. That’s before I found out how Clooney, like many lefties in Hollywood and the news media, had treated the late Charlton Heston.

Clooney’s offense took place a few years back. According to Life Site News, “For his conservative stands, however, Heston was attacked and reviled by his Hollywood colleagues. In 2003 actor and leftist political activist George Clooney joked about Heston’s illness [Alzheimer’s disease], and, after Heston criticized him for the remark, he retorted, ‘I don’t care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association. He deserves whatever anyone says about him.’”

Making fun of somebody with Alzheimer’s disease and feeling no remorse is about as low as it gets, but it isn’t all that surprising in this case.  To Clooney, Heston’s embrace of conservative orthodoxy on the Second Amendment made him subhuman, not even deserving of the most basic courtesies.

A person like Clooney can only dream of rivaling Charlton Heston’s life accomplishments.  Let’s leave aside the leading roles in some of the greatest movies ever made, the acting laurels and the celebrity, and look at the man:

  • Married to his college sweetheart, Lydia, for 64 years.
  • Beloved father of two successful children, one a Hollywood director.
  • Unabashed Christian and church attender.
  • First among his peers; President of the Screen Actors Guild a record six terms.
  • Served his country in World War II as a B-25 crewman. 
  • Campaigner for civil rights; protested as early as 1961, long before it became popular, and marched on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King.
  • Protector of the unborn; provided the introduction for Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s great pro-life film, Silent Scream. 
  • Champion of public decency; shamed Time Warner into dropping rapper Ice-T’s contract because of his song celebrating the murder of police officers.
  • Defender of individual liberty; President of the National Rifle Association.

Ask Heston which of his accomplishments he treasured most, and he’d probably point to this tribute from his family:  “Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life…. 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.”

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick, a writer, editor, and commentator on political and cultural issues, is the Senior Editor at Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute.

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