By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 16, 2002 10:00 AM

As Charlton Heston said when he announced 10 days ago that he is showing some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, he may have been able to part the Red Sea when he played Moses in “‘The 10 Commandments,'” but facing down the ravages of age is another matter. Still, Heston, 77, seemed as resilient and strong as ever — or as Moses — in an interview published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, his first since his stunning Aug. 9 announcement about his oncoming battle against the degenerative brain disease. “I feel the way I have been always feeling,” he told the paper. “Now, I understand the chances are very slim that they will remain that way.” Heston, the president of the National Rifle Association since 1998, also said he would campaign this fall for various political candidates, both Republicans and Democrats. (As a young actor, Heston was a well-known Hollywood liberal before turning conservative as he grew older.) He additionally told the Times that he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern that he had received, including calls from President Bush — whose brief phone calls meant “a great deal” to Heston, he said — and from former first lady Nancy Reagan, who gave Heston and his wife, Lydia, her private phone number and encouraged them to call. (Reagan’s husband, former President Reagan, suffers from Alzheimer’s.) “She didn’t really need to do that,” said Heston. “After all, she’s the President’s wife.”