Charlton Heston's most popular movies include “Ben-Hur”, “Planet Of The Apes”, “Soylent Green”, “Earthquake”, “The Ten Commandments”, and many others. His film career boasted over 90 movies, with numerous stage & TV appearances.

And he spent his boyhood in Michigan.

Even though he was born in Illinois as John Charles Carter, he spent the first ten years of his life in Michigan. His father, Russell Carter, was from St. Helen, and that's where they decided to set up a household. When he turned ten, his parents divorced. Eventually, his mother re-married Chet Heston, giving the boy a new last name. As an adult, he took his mother's maiden name “Charlton” for career purposes.

After he became a worldwide celebrity, he made sure he had a Michigan home to get away to...and it was on Lake St. Helen. In his book, “The Courage To Be Free”, he wrote: “The Northern Michigan of my boyhood is still in my blood. Where else but in America could a lanky country kid named Charlton sprout in the anonymity of the Michigan Northwoods and forge a life that makes a difference?”

He attended a one-room schoolhouse which still stands deteriorating along St. Helen Road (see photos below).

The house he grew up in burned down in 1996 by three arsonists, who were found and arrested.

Beginning in the 1950s, Heston was a huge star – but he still took time out to return to Michigan and relax at his 1,300-acre Michigan property on the lake. Even when he couldn't visit at Christmas time, he had a Michigan pine tree cut and sent to his home in California. According to his son, “this was one of his ways of staying connected to his past, of keeping some semblance of Michigan in his life”. 

Mr. Heston also marched with Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. back in 1963.
Heston passed away in 2008 at the age of 84.

Take a look at his Michigan retreat in the photo gallery below!



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