Well son of a gun, he’s a marine biologist

The Times We Lived In: Published: June 15th, 1990. Photograph by Frank Miller

Actor Charlton Heston  with his son Fraser in Dublin. Is it tough being the son of a Hollywood icon? Photograph: Frank Miller

Actor Charlton Heston with his son Fraser in Dublin. Is it tough being the son of a Hollywood icon? Photograph: Frank Miller

 

You’ll hardly need to be told that the gentleman on the left of today’s photo is Charlton Heston – he of the granite jaw and rock-solid lifelong devotion to the National Rifle Association – while it doesn’t take a genealogical genius to figure out that the chap on the right is a relative.

The younger man is, in fact, Charlton’s eldest son Fraser. The pair were photographed in Dublin when the TV movie Treasure Island got a theatrical release here. Written, produced and directed by Heston Junior, it starred Heston Senior as Long John Silver.

There have been few actors in Hollywood history who could chew up the scenery with quite the gusto of Charlton Heston in full flow – and in the role of the one-legged, parrot-bearing pirate he was in his element. With a supporting cast which included Christopher Lee, Oliver Reid and Christian Bale as the young Jim Hawkins, the film is still an enjoyable, old-fashioned OTT romp.

I have to confess to a mild but enduring admiration for Fraser Heston, based on nothing more solid than the fact that in the early days of this column, we used a picture of him as a toddler, sticking his tongue out at the camera. Also, he studied marine biology. And he made a superb documentary, The Search for Michael Rockefeller, about the disappearance of one of America’s wealthiest young men in New Guinea in 1961. It’s about as compelling a true crime tale as you’ll ever encounter – a pre-Serial Serial, if you like.

Is it a tough thing, being the son of a Hollywood icon? In our photo, Fraser Heston makes it look easy. Despite their physical resemblances his style is very different to that of his father – yet they appear totally relaxed as they eyeball each other with obvious affection. Parents and kids, if you’re driving each other mad, take note. And take heart.

These and other ‘Irish Times’ images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. A book, ‘The Times We Lived In’, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99.

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