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Lydia Clarke and Charlton Heston Marriage Profile

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Photo: Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Charlton and Lydia Heston on July 23, 2001 in New York City, New York.

Photo: Frank Micelotta / Getty Images
Married for sixty-five years, Lydia Clarke was Charlton Heston's first and only love. Here is information on how Lydia and Charlton met, their courtship, wedding, and more.
Fast Marriage Facts - Charlton and Lydia
Met: In college.
Married: March 17, 1944.
Marriage Ended: 2008, Charlton's death.
First Marriage: Yes.

Did You Know?
Lydia said yes to Charlton's marriage proposal in a telegram.

Born:

Charlton (Chuck) Heston aka John Charlton Carter: October 4, 1923 in Evanston, Illinois.

Lydia Marie Clarke: April 14, 1923 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Died:

Charlton: April 5, 2008 at his Beverly Hills home in California. Charlton's funeral service was held on April 12, 2008 at the Episcopal Parish of St. Matthews above Pacific Palisades. Nancy Reagan, Tom Selleck, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pat Boone, Olivia DeHavilland, Oliver Stone, Keith Carradine, and Rob Reiner were among the 250 people who attended the funeral that was presided over by Rev. Michael Scott Seiler.
Source: Bob Thomas. "Luminaries Attend Heston's Funeral." SFGate.com. 4/13/2008.

How Lydia and Charlton Met:

Charlton and Lydia met at Northwestern University where they were both students.
Charlton: "For the first two or three days in my theater course, I sat behind a girl named Lydia Clarke. All I saw was her tumbling mane of black Irish hair, which made me tremble ... But I couldn't figure out how to advance the relationship. I'd never even been on a date."
Source: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor. "My Girl, My Wife." Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul. pg. 278.

Courtship and Proposal:

Charlton about their first date: "Lydia and I had tea, because it would last longer (you got more hot water free). We sat there for some two hours, talking about everything. After I left her at the dorm, I ran home along the dark streets, saying, "I love her, I love her," over and over. I did, too."
Source: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor. "My Girl, My Wife." Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul. pg. 279.
Lydia about first impression of Charlton and their first date: "I thought he was arrogant and conceited, and supremely self-confident ... [first date] We had a very stimulating conversation and that was it. I was insanely in love with him."
Source: Emilie Raymond. From My Cold, Dead Hands: Charlton Heston and American Politics. pg. 12.

Lydia accepted Charlton's proposal of marriage by sending him a telegram.

Wedding Date:

Paying $12 for Lydia's wedding ring, Charlton and Lydia were married on March 17, 1944 at Grace Methodist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Two ladies from the church were their witnesses.

In his autobiography, Charlton described Lydia wearing a "bridal suit, a marvelous violet outfit with a hat covered with violet flowers. She was a vision that still shimmers in my mind."
Source: Charlton Heston. In the Arena: An Autobiography. pg. 54.

Lydia about their wedding: "We went for a stroll amid the blooming spring. We passed a small white church with a flowering cherry tree. We tiptoed inside and an hour later we were Sergeant and Mrs. Charlton Heston."
Source: Michael Feldman, Diana Cook. Wisconsin Curiosities: Quirk characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. pg. 110.
"Charlton Heston, a 19-year-old college student who has enlisted in the Air Corps and is stationed in Greensboro, has finally persuaded his sweetheart Lydia Clarke to marry him before he is sent overseas. At Grace Methodist Church on Friendly Avenue, the minister performs the ceremony on two hours’ notice, with two church members as witnesses."
Source: "Bicentennial Minutes." Greensboro-nc.gov.

Wedding Anniversary Celebrations:

"He [Charlton] and Lydia celebrated every anniversary together, no matter the circumstances or the travel required to do so. For example, on their eighteenth wedding anniversary in 1962, Lydia flew to Hawaii, where Heston was shooting Diamond Head, and the two celebrated with "champagne and pearls" and "satiated" themselves with "luxury."
Source: Emilie Raymond. From My Cold, Dead Hands: Charlton Heston and American Politics. phd. 39-40.
Army Archerd about the Heston's golden anniversary celebration: "Meanwhile, over at the Hotel Nikko on the 18th Lydia and Charlton Heston celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with 224 black-tied friends and family including their children Fraser and Holly and grandson Jack. At each place setting was a booklet, "Pursuing Lydia," a chapter from Heston's upcoming autobiography. In it Chuck tells of their wedding -- in Greensboro, N.C., as he was about to go overseas in the Army Air Corps. He gave Lydia a $12 wedding ring. For their anniversary he embellished her engagement ring with diamonds."
Source: Army Archerd. Variety.com. 3/24/1994.

Children:

Lydia and Charlton have two children.
  • Fraser (Fray) Clarke Heston: Born in 1955 in Los Angeles, California. Fraser has worked in the motion picture and television industry as a director, producer, and writer. Fraser was the infant Moses in the 1956 production of The Ten Commandments.
  • Holly Ann Heston: Born in 1961, Holly was adopted by Lydia and Charlton.

Residence:

Lydia and Charlton lived in their Coldwater Canyon home in the Santa Monica mountains near Beverly Hills, California for most of their married life together. The home sits on 3 acres and was originally surrounded by hundreds of acres of government-owned land.
"Inspired by the fountains of Rome, the Hestons created a cobbled court with a fountain and a pool along with several sundecks and patios and a tennis court. Inside, the house features a Jacuzzi, a gym, a library, and a screening room."
Source: Source: Emilie Raymond. From My Cold, Dead Hands: Charlton Heston and American Politics. pg. 39.

Charlton and Lydia also kept an apartment in New York City for 18 years.

Occupations:

Charlton: Actor, director, author, model, and activist. Charlton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 and received Kennedy Center Honors in 2003.

Lydia: Actress, model, and professional photographer.

Quotes About the Marriage of Charlton and Lydia Heston

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