Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Charlton Heston

 I have already written about the upscale nature of the mall that I worked in.  Hulen Mall.  One night, it was announced that Charlton Heston would be doing a book-signing at Walden's in our mall.  He was a big star, and I thought I would go meet him.  You had to buy his book to get him to sign it, which I did.  I also brought one of my acting textbooks for him to sign.  Surprisingly, I was the first person to see him in the store (and the only person).  It was just me, him, his agent, and the book store manager.  So, I bought the book and then headed toward him to sign it.  He signed his book, but when I pulled out my acting book to sign it, his agent stepped in and said he was only signing his book, and not any other.  Heston asked me if I was an actor, and I said yes, so he asked me my name and inscribed my acting book to me from him.  I thought that was nice.
 Since there was no one else waiting to get a book signed, we started talking.  He asked me what I had done, and I told him a lot of plays and a couple of movies.  We had a great laugh about Burt Lancaster teaching me to dance.  I told him about how nice Burt was in sticking up for me and that Burt allowed me to use his name as a reference for other work.  Heston told me to call him "Chuck" and said I could use him as a reference, too.  I told him about my Mother's love for "The Ten Commandments" that he was in, and about the letter that Cecil B. DeMille wrote to her after she wrote to him about the movie.  Chuck and I had a connection.  The crowd started to gather, so I said goodbye.
 Several years later, I was back in South Carolina.  Chuck was producing a TV mini-series called "Chiefs". It was being filmed in Chester, SC.  I got an audition to play the deputy to Brad Davis.  I used Chuck's name to get the audition.  The casting director decided to use a tall, fat actor from New York instead of me.  My Mother thought that Chuck could do more for me, so she wrote him a letter asking him if I could get cast in another part.  Chuck took offense at her letter, and wrote a very scathing letter to her saying how unprofessional it was for me to get her to write the letter to him.  I hadn't.  It was something my Mother did, because of our relationship with him.  At any rate, I didn't get a part in "Chiefs".  Chuck told the casting director not to hire me for anything.  My use of Chuck as a reference ended.  Maybe, the letter caught him on a bad day.  Who knows?  I kept Burt as a reference.  He was nicer.

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