Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes and Ben-Hur, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Heston was also known for his political activism. In the 1950s and 1960s he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Initially a moderate Democrat, he later supported conservative Republican policies and was president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.