A Message from Charlton Heston
My Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Fans:
My physicians have recently told me I may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimerís disease. SoÖ I wanted to prepare a few words for you now, because when the time comes, I may not be able to.
Iíve lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. Iíve found purpose and meaning in your response. For an actor thereís no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I canít part with you, which is why I wonít exclude you from this stage in my life.
For now, Iím not changing anything. Iíll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, youíll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway.
Iím neither giving up nor giving in. I believe Iím still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew, but itís a fight I must someday call a draw. I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure. Please feel no sympathy for me. I donít. I just may be a little less accessible to you, despite my wishes.
I also want you to know that Iím grateful beyond measure. My life has been blessed with good fortune. Iím grateful that I was born in America, that cradle of freedom and opportunity, where a kid from the Michigan Northwoods can work hard and make something of his life. Iím grateful for the gift of the greatest words ever written, that let me share with you the infinite scope of the human experience. As an actor, Iím thankful that Iíve lived not one life, but many.
Above all, Iím proud of my familyÖ my wife Lydia, the queen of my heart, my children, Fraser and Holly, and my beloved grandchildren, Jack, Ridley, and Charlie. Theyíre my biggest fans, my toughest critics and my proudest achievement. Through them, I can touch immortality.
Finally, Iím confident about the future of America. I believe in you. I know that the future of our country, our culture and our children is in good hands. I know you will continue to meet adversity with strength and resilience, as our ancestors did, and come through with flying colors Ė the ones on Old Glory.
William Shakespeare, at the end of his career, wrote his farewell through the words of Prospero, in The Tempest. It ends like this:
Be cheerful, sir,
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into the air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Thank you, and God bless you, everyone.
Los Angeles, August 12, 2002