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Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson in historical epics and went on to become a best-selling author, a contentious Hollywood labor leader, an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of conservative causes, has died. He was 84.
Heston died Saturday at his Beverly Hills home, his family said in a statement. In 2002 he had been diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's disease.
With a booming baritone voice, the tall, ruggedly handsome actor delivered his signature role as the prophet Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 Biblical extravaganza ''The Ten Commandments,'' raising a rod over his head as God miraculously parts the Red Sea.
Heston won the Academy Award for best actor in another religious blockbuster in 1959's ''Ben-Hur,'' racing four white horses at top speed in one of the cinema's legendary action sequences.