You ask the questions: (Such as: Charlton Heston, do you think God looks more like you or George Burns? And what is Planet of the Apes' political message?)

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Charlton Heston, 74, academy award winning actor, writer and artist was brought up in Michigan. During the second world war, he served as a Staff Sergeant in the Army Air Corps. In the 1960s, he campaigned for racial equality alongside Dr Martin Luther King and in 1984, he went to Ethiopia to report on the famine. Today, he is a spokesperson for NATO and first vice-president of the US National Rifle Association. He is currently appearing on stage in London, alongside his wife Lydia, in Love Letters, at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Do the characters in Love Letters in any way reflect your real life relationship with your wife?

Georgina Clarke, Reading

In only one way. Both Andy Ladd (my character in the play) and I fell in love at first sight. Andy falls in love with Melissa when he is eight years old and sees her at a birthday party. I fell in love with Lydia on the first day of my first class at the Northwestern University. I was 17 years old and we had both won a scholarship at the drama department. I was sitting behind her in class. I fell in love with Lydia's hair. I didn't see her face for two days.

What do you love and hate most about women? Who was your favourite female co-star?

Ian Hankins, Redhill, Surrey

What I love is the fact that women are different from men. Women are definitely not hateful. Women can be distressing or difficult, but that is what makes them different. I find myself most irritated waiting for actresses because they are tardy. That is their only flaw and it is the price you pay for working with them. My favourite female co-star is Vanessa Redgrave. I think she's the best actress in the world. She is so professional, and never late to work.

Have you ever felt deified following your roles as God and Moses? How did you get inside the character of Moses when you were preparing for the film?

George Parker, Plymouth, Devon

I have never felt deified. That would be ridiculous. However, I learnt a lot about the characters I played. I do a great deal of reading whenever I prepare for the role of a historical figure - there have been more books written about Moses than any other individual in history. He was one of most challenging characters I played. I also climbed Mount Sinai as part of my preparation.

How did you feel when Gore Vidal said, on arriving for the filming of Ben-Hur, that all the sets had been built "including Charlton Heston"?

Frederick Barker, Leicestershire

Poor old Gore. I'm sure that is not what he actually said, although it's quite funny. Gore was dismissed from the shooting of Ben-Hur. He had written a scene which we had rehearsed but decided to change because it was not right. He cannot bear the fact that this happened, and every year he emerges with more comments about the film.

Which medium do you prefer - film or theatre? Do you think that all Hollywood actors should try working in the theatre?

Louise Dowsett, Doncaster

Both. When I do a play I look forward to my next film, but when I'm doing a film and the shooting goes on and on, I think I must get back and do another play. But I think every actor should have the chance to perform on stage. England is still the capital of English-speaking theatre. The Haymarket's Theatre Royal is unquestionably the finest theatre I have ever worked in.

Do you think God looks more like you or George Burns?

Dom Brandon, London SW4

I do not think that God looks like either of us - and I speak with authority. As Michelangelo [below], I should know. I painted the best representation of God ever seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It is one of the greatest paintings in the world. That is what God looks like. I know because I was there.

From the army to acting - what made you change direction?

William Johnson, Blackpool

I think a very young man must have sent this question in. I was in the army for the same reason as every other young man at the time - the war. I wouldn't have chosen the army as a career in peacetime, but the war was our main preoccupation at the time and I wanted to help my country. My goal was always to become an actor. As soon as I was discharged from the army, I went to New York with my wife and we started our careers.

What was it like to share a platform with Martin Luther King?

David Keay, Bristol

I am proud to say it was a lot than a platform. I had been picketing for civil rights long before I met Dr King, which was neither popular nor acceptable in Hollywood at the time. I first met him when I was President of the Screen of Actors Guild (the equivalent of Equity here). Dr King came to speak to me about the fact that there were no black members in the technical unions. I told him that the unions only took sons of current members. Even I wouldn't be able to become a member, let alone a black person. But I set up a meeting with the people of the Technical Unions. Dr King took them by storm and shamed them into opening up the unions to black technicians. I met him again at the civil rights march on Washington. He was leader of the march, and I led the arts contingent. There were only about 25 of us, although 100,000 people attended. It was one of the proudest moments of my life when I stood on the platform behind Martin Luther King as he made his speech that day.

Why do you think the Planet of the Apes developed a cult following? What is its political message?

Robert Crane, Northampton

The important thing about the Planet of the Apes was not its cult following, but more that it created a new genre. It was made before Star Wars or Lost in Space. It was the first Space Opera, as they called it. The marvellous invention was that the aliens turn out to be humans. The first movie was very good, and then they made five sequels.I made a short appearance in the first sequel as a favour to the studio head, Richard Zanuck.

What is the secret of a successful Hollywood marriage?

Sophie Adamson, Birmingham

The first thing is to make sure you pick the right girl. The second thing, and this is not a joke, is the most important thing a man can learn - the importance of three little words: "I was wrong". These words will get you much further than "I love you". You have to mean it and to accept it. I remember when Lydia and I celebrated our golden wedding anniversary. This is a very rare event in Hollywood and as a result we were asked to appear on several morning talk shows. One host asked Lydia: "Have you ever considered divorce?" Lydia replied: "Divorce never, murder often."

Next Week

Socialite Tamara Beckwith, Followed by comedian Johnny Vegas

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