Born John Charles Carter, well after the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that forever associated "John Carter" with derring-do, Charlton Heston might have been born to play heroic roles -- and at 6' 3", with rugged features and a marvelous physique, he certainly grew up to play them.
The Wikipedia biography covers his complex and fascinating life in greater detail than I could manage. He left no doubt where he stood; his opinions clearly changed over time but he was never secretive or coy about them. He stood by his friends. And unlike many actors away from script and set, he was well-spoken and thoughtful.
He will be missed.
6 months ago