Informing each other of Heston’s death

Charlton Heston is gone and all of Life mourns his passing. But here’s an interesting tidbit from my friend Holly.

I was reading a discussion board at 11:10 (last night, central time) when someone posted that Charlton Heston had died. A few minutes later, I went to Wikipedia to look at his Wiki entry. Yep, already there. It beat the front pages of all the major news sites. It’s not on CNN’s front page as of my clicking Compose Mail to send you this.

Like it or not, mainstream media, this is the way it is.

A week ago, I wrote about the concept of “finding” news consumers based on a comment from a student during a focus group. “If the news is that important,” the young man said, “it will find me.” How does that happen? Word-of-mouth and examples like this.

The change to Heston’s Wikipedia page could have come from his own people, or it could have come from a fan. But the fact that it occurred ahead of major news outlets is a stunning example of how people are able to sidestep the gatekeepers in the quest to be informed.


  1. - Remembering Charlton Heston: The Man In The Arena

    by Mark McIntire

    April 9, 2008 11:42 AM

    Charlton Heston kept his promises. He was good to his friends. He believed in a merciful God, and he loved his country. As though that was not enough to separate him from today’s Hollywood élite, he was married, too, and lived with the same woman for over 60 years.

    Chuck well may be the last iconic gentleman of his era about whom all of the preceding statements were true.

    Many will recall Chuck’s epic stage, movie and TV triumphs, and think he actually was Moses or Ben Hur or Will Penny or Mark Antony. That would amuse as much as bemuse him. “My dad pretends to be other people for a living,” his only son, Fraser Heston, would tell his classmates.
    Chuck was an actor’s actor whose only complaint was: “I never got it right. I always thought I could have done that role better.”

    Some will recall meeting Chuck at a première, posh party, political convention, or just on the street. They’d be struck to find he had the same commanding presence and honest grit, and the same gentlemanly manners, on screen and off. He was a gentleman’s gentleman. “Daddy lives by his principles, not by the costumes he wears in movies,” his only daughter, Holly, would tell all who asked what he was really like as a person.

    Once a liberal Democrat who campaigned with Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Chuck later became identified with the conservatism of his friend Ronald Reagan. “I didn’t change … my party did,” he’d explain to those who asked about his transformation.

    Of all the things that will be written and said of Chuck now that he is dead, a most important key to his character will be overlooked. Charlton Heston derived his moral and political values from ethical principles that did not change over the course of his spectacular life. His detractors argued this only proves he was a fool. But when we look at what his detractors have accomplished in their lives by comparison, we are left with the suspicion that Chuck was no fool. He was a centered man, comfortable in his own skin.

    At their 50th wedding anniversary dinner, some upstart (that would be me) had the impertinence to ask his beloved wife, Lydia: “How did you manage to stay married to that man for so many years?” In her typical serenity and graciousness, she replied: “Through Chuck, I learned to keep a center of my being to myself … else there would be no one there for him to love.”

    The Holy Bible and the complete works of William Shakespeare were never far from Chuck’s fingertips in his study. It’s hard to think of my friend Chuck now without remembering these lines from “Romeo and Juliet,” Act 3, Scene 2:
    “And when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars. And he shall make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

    Mark McIntire, a Santa Barbara resident, knew
    Charlton Heston for 27 years.


  1. […] Terry Heaton’s post ”Informing each other of Heston’s death” rings so true for me. […]

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  3. […] New media: Charlton Heston dies, and Wikipedia is updated before CNN. […]

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