Starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, 20th Century Fox’s big-screen release of Planet Of The Apes quickly becomes one of 1968’s movie success stories, and easily one of the year’s two most influential genre films. Propelled into the future aboard a spacecraft from Earth, a trio of astronauts find themselves on a world ruled by sentient apes with no love of humanity whatsoever – for humanity nearly destroyed their world. The studio almost immediately sets the wheels in motion for a sequel.
The last of the original cycle of time-bending sequels, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes is released in theaters. Facing diminishing returns, and a desire on the part of 20th Century Fox to exploit the Apes franchise on the small screen, the series comes to a suitably post-apocalyptic end.
Actress Kim Hunter, who played Zira in Planet Of The Apes and two of its sequels, dies of a heart attack at the age of 79. She won an Oscar in 1952 as best supporting actress in A Streetcar Named Desire. Her career also included the legendary topical TV comedy That Was The Week That Was, guest shots on numerous episodes of Playhouse 90, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, Mission: Impossible, and many other films and TV appearances.
Oscar-winning actor Charlton Heston dies at the age of 84. Renowned for a string of tough-guy roles in major big-screen epics that earned him an Academy Award for best actor in 1959’s Ben-Hur, Heston appeared in other blockbusters such as El Cid and The Ten Commandments; genre fans may know him best for two SF films, Soylent Green and the 1968 smash hit Planet Of The Apes. His outspoken political views were on display as much as his acting skills, ranging from marching to Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to serving as president of the National Rifle Association. He had also served as a past president of the Screen Actors’ Guild.