From Louella Parson's newspaper column, July 31, 1958.
"The very difficult task of casting the role of Jesus in 'Ben-Hur' has been completed in Rome and came about in a most unusual way. Henry Hennigson, production manager, went to the concert of a young American singer in Rome and heard Claude Heater, whose voice is not only magnificent but he has a beautiful spiritual face. Henningson told William Wyler and Sam Zimbalist about young Heater and as a result he was tested and given the role. Now here is the strange part: They had to go to Europe to find this boy, who was born in Oakland, California.