John Carter [the name Heston was born with] was born in Evanston, Ill., on Oct. 4, 1923. He spent his early childhood in St. Helen, Mich., where his father was a deputy sheriff.
In a memoir, he wrote that his parents' divorce when he was 9 was a wrenching surprise. He soon took his stepfather's surname, Heston, to hide what he considered the shame of the divorce. His professional name was a combination of that and his mother's maiden name, Lila Charlton.