Charlton Heston holds an Academy Award for "Ben Hur" and is the actor most producers think of first when faced with the task of casting a strong heroic type. He was Moses in "The Ten Commandments," John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told," Andrew Jackson in both "The Buccaneer" and "The President's Lady," Michelangelo in "The Agony and The Ecstasy" -- and he attributes his presence these and other such ventures to the fact that he has a "medieval face." He is president of the Screen Actors Guild and a leading citizen of the film community and spokesman for the industry. The role of Taylor in "Planet of the Apes" so tickled his fancy when he first read a treatment of the project almost three years ago that he insisted upon playing the US astronaut if and when the film came to fruition.

Roddy McDowall, a film star since his pre-teens, deserted his New York photographic studio (he is one of America's top magazine photographers) to don ape makeup at the studio which first boosted him to fame in "How Green Was My Valley." His role is Cornelius, the young simian archaeologist whose discovery of human relics provides the key to a terrifying secret his superiors insist be suppressed.

Kim Hunter, winner of an Academy Award for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (she played Stella in both the Broadway and Hollywood versions) dons chimpanzee makeup as Dr. Zira, the animal psychologist whose interest in human behavioral patterns leads hers to befriend the captured space man played by Heston. Miss Hunter lives in New York and is married to Robert Emmett, an actor turned writer. Though still a young woman, scarcely a season has passed in the last two decades which has not seen her light up Broadway with a fine performance.

Maurice Evans, one of the world's foremost Shakespearean actors, sports the orangutan makeup of Dr. Zaius, Minister of Science and Defender of the Faith in "Planet of the Apes." His Broadway debut in 1935 was opposite Katharine Cornell in "Romeo and Juliet," and in recent years he has scored also as the producer of such smash stage hits as "Teahouse of the August Moon" and "Dial M For Murder."

Linda Harrison, seen briefly in several films including "A Guide for the Married Man," has the challenging role of Nova, the sub-human who becomes Heston's cellmate. A former Miss Maryland, the lovely brunette has nary a word of dialog in her role which runs throughout the film -- and one is sparked to recall that such a role won an Oscar for Jane Wyman with "Johnny Belinda."