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Charlton Heston: Roles He Missed That Other Actors Made Famous

By    |   Monday, 02 November 2015 09:05 PM

"Ben Hur," "The Ten Commandments," and "Planet of the Apes" are just a few of the movies that Charlton Heston helped make famous through his strong, masculine performances.

Despite a 60-year career and more than 100 films — and many more TV appearances — to his name, there were significant film roles he missed out on that could have added to his already robust filmography.

"Stalag 17" (1953)

Billy Wilder directed this adaptation of a Broadway play about experiences at a World War II German POW camp.

William Holden's character J.J. Sefton was originally written as a more heroic character that fit Heston, but Wilder decided that Heston didn't fit his vision for the character of Sefton.

Holden tried to refuse the role, but the studio forced him to take the role that ultimately won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in the role.

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"The Alamo" (1960)

John Wayne tried to get Heston to play Jim Bowie in "The Alamo," which Wayne was directing.

Heston didn't want to be directed by Wayne and had ideological issues with Bowie's character at the time, though Heston later changed his mind politically in dramatic fashion and referred to skipping out on the Bowie role as a huge mistake, according to Classic Movie Hub.

Richard Widmark, later known for "Judgment at Nuremberg," ended up with the role after Heston and Burt Lancaster passed on the part.

"Deliverance" (1972)

Burt Reynolds' character, Lewis, was first offered to Heston and Donald Sutherland. Several other high-profile actors were considered as well before director John Boorman eventually decided on Reynolds, who previously had done mostly television work.

Heston declined the role "because he wanted to star and direct in 'Antony and Cleopatra,'" according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Deliverance" turned out to be a career breakthrough for Reynolds, and made him one of the hottest Hollywood stars of the 1970s.

"Jaws" (1975)

Stephen Spielberg and Heston talked about having Heston play Chief Brody, the small-town police chief. Spielberg realized that audience members would never think the shark had a chance if Heston was on the Orca hunting it down, according to Spielberg biographer Joseph McBride.

Heston was so offended that he vowed never to work with Spielberg ever again, according to Indiewire.com.

Roy Scheider was cast instead. Some of the legendary moments of the film were improvised by Scheider, according to International Business Times, including the phrase, “You're going to need a bigger boat.”

Vote Now: Which of These Actors Stands the Test of Time?

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Charlton Heston had a 60-year career and more than 100 films to his name, but there were a few significant film roles Charlton Heston missed out on that could have added to his already robust filmography.
charlton heston, famous, missed, roles
Monday, 02 November 2015 09:05 PM
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