May. 31st, 1930
San Francisco, California, USA
Clint Eastwood's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of a steel worker, Eastwood was a college dropout from Los Angeles College, attempting a business related degree. He found work in such B-films as Tarantula (1955), and Francis in the Navy (1955) until he got his first breakthrough with the long-running TV series "Rawhide" (1959). As Rowdy Yates, he made the show his own and became a household name around the country.
But Eastwood found even bigger and better things with Per un pugno di dollari (1964) ("A Fistful of Dollars"), and Per qualche dollaro in pi¨ (1965) ("For a Few Dollars More"). But it was the second sequel to "A Fistful of Dollars" where he found one of his trademark roles: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966) ("The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"). The movie was a big hit and he became an instant international star. Eastwood got some excellent roles thereafter: Where Eagles Dare (1968) found him second fiddle to Richard Burton (I) but to the tune of 800,000 dollars in this classic World War II movie. He also starred in Coogan's Bluff (1968), (the loose inspiration to the TV series "McCloud" (1970)), the western Hang 'Em High (1968) and the unusual but successful Paint Your Wagon (1969). Eastwood went in an experimental direction again with the offbeat but well-received films Kelly's Heroes (1970) and Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970).
1971 proved to be his best year in films, or at least one of his best. He starred in the thriller Play Misty for Me (1971), which was also his directorial debut. L:after that year, he played the hard edge police inspector in Dirty Harry (1971) that gave Eastwood one of his signature roles and invented the loose-cannon cop genre that has been imitated even to this day. Eastwood also found work in American revisionist westerns like High Plains Drifter (1973) -- which he also directed, and Joe Kidd (1972). Eastwood had constant quality films, first teaming up with Jeff Bridges (I) in the buddy action flick Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), followed by the "Dirty Harry" sequels Magnum Force (1973) and The Enforcer (1976/I), and then The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), considered to perhaps be one of the quintessential westerns.
As the late seventies approached Eastwood found more solid work in the shoot 'em up action flick The Gauntlet (1977), the hugely successful comedy Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and the fact-based thriller Escape from Alcatraz (1979). As the eighties approached, his career got a fresh new start with the blockbuster sequel Any Which Way You Can (1980), but this film, along with many others, were panned by critics. In the early eighties, Eastwood made credible movies with Honkytonk Man (1982) and Firefox (1982), but it was the fourth sequel to 'Dirty Harry', Sudden Impact (1983) (the highest grossing film of the series) that made him a viable star for the eighties. In the mid-eighties Clint made some solid movies but nothing really stuck out. Tightrope (1984), Pale Rider (1985), and others were solid but not classic films. In 1988 Eastwood did his fifth and up to this point final "Dirty Harry" movie, The Dead Pool (1988). Although it was a box-office success, it lacked the critical acclaim that the previous films had. About this time with outright bombs like Pink Cadillac (1989). He followed this by co-starring with 'Charlie Sheen' (qv in the cop adventure The Rookie (1990), which turned out to be another disappointment. It was fairly obvious Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before. He then started taking on more personal projects such as White Hunter Black Heart (1990), an uneven, loose biography of John Huston (I).
But Eastwood surprised yet again. First with his western, Unforgiven (1992), which garnered him an Oscar for director, and nomination for best actor. Then he took on the secret service in In the Line of Fire (1993), which was a big hit, followed by the interesting but poorly received drama, A Perfect World (1993), with Kevin Costner. Next up was The Bridges of Madison County (1995), a popular love story with Meryl Streep, but it soon became apparent he was going backwards after his brief revival. The quality of his films over the next few years was up and down, with the well-received Absolute Power (1997) and Space Cowboys (2000), and the badly received True Crime (1999) and Blood Work (2002).
However, Eastwood rose to prominence once again, first directing the well-received Mystic River (2003), then giving what is arguably his finest screen performance to date opposite Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman (I) in the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby (2004). The film unexpectedly became one of his biggest box-office hits. It also won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as earning Eastwood a nomination for Best Actor and a win for Best Director. He continued to direct, but stayed away from acting for 4 years until he starred in Gran Torino (2008). The film grossed $30 million during its opening weekend in 2009, making him the oldest leading man to reach #1 at the box office, and becoming the biggest commercial success of his career (without adjustment for inflation).
After starring in hit films for five consecutive decades, Clint Eastwood has proved himself to be the longest-running movie star. Although he is aging now, he continues to thrive and will undoubtedly continue to surprise audiences.
- Some of his favorite actors are 'Gary Cooper (I)' (qv), 'Humphrey Bogart' (qv), 'Robert Mitchum' (qv) and 'James Stewart (I)' (qv).
- 2005: His "Fistful" mannerisms was imitated in Canada, by the Tim Horton's restaurant chain, to promote the Southwest chicken sub.
- For two consecutive years he directed two out of the four actors who won Oscars for their performances: 'Sean Penn (I)' (qv) (Best Actor) and 'Tim Robbins (I)' (qv) (Best Supporting Actor) in _Mystic River (2003)_ (qv)) in 2004, and 'Hilary Swank' (qv) (Best Actress) and 'Morgan Freeman (I)' (qv) (Best Supporting Actor) for _Million Dollar Baby (2004)_ (qv)) in 2005.
- Gained popularity with his first three major films, _Per un pugno di dollari (1964)_ (qv), _Per qualche dollaro in pi¨ (1965)_ (qv) and _Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966)_ (qv). Soon afterwards Jolly Films (which produced _Per un pugno di dollari (1964)_ (qv)) came out with a film called "The Magnificent Stranger", which was actually two episodes of _"Rawhide" (1959)_ (qv) edited together. Eastwood sued and the film was withdrawn.
- William Goldman said of Eastwood that he was the only person to be a star in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. By "star" Goldman means Variety's list of top ten actors of the decade.
- Is a patron of the arts, notably as an avid collector of western art.
- Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945- 1985". Pages 294-302. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
- Claimed that the trait he most despised in others was racism.