May. 31st, 1930
San Francisco, California, USA
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.
- He was the only nominee for the Best Actor Oscar in 2004 (for _Million Dollar Baby (2004)_ (qv)) to play a fictitious character. All four other nominees portrayed real people in their respective films.
- 1972: He attended President 'Richard Nixon' (qv)'s landslide victory celebration in Los Angeles, along with 'John Wayne (I)' (qv), 'Charlton Heston' (qv), and 'Glenn Ford (I)' (qv).
- His performance as Blondie in _Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966)_ (qv) is ranked #50 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- Mentioned in the theme song of the 1980s TV hit _"The Fall Guy" (1981)_ (qv).
- Lived with 'Sondra Locke' (qv) for 14 years, although the couple never married.
- 2005: At the National Board of Review awards dinner in New York City, Eastwood joked that he would kill filmmaker 'Michael Moore (II)' (qv) if Moore ever showed up at his home with a camera (an evident reference to Moore's controversial interview with Eastwood's friend, actor/Second Amendment advocate 'Charlton Heston' (qv), for the movie _Bowling for Columbine (2002)_ (qv)). After the crowd laughed, Eastwood said, "I mean it." Moore's spokesman said, "Michael laughed along with everyone else, and took Mr Eastwood's comments in the lighthearted spirit in which they were given." Publicly, Eastwood has not commented further.
- He objected to the end of _Dirty Harry (1971)_ (qv) when Harry throws his badge away after killing the Scorpio Killer, arguing with director 'Don Siegel' (qv) that Harry knew that being a policeman was the only work for which he was suited. Siegel eventually convinced Eastwood that Harry threw his badge away as a symbol that he had lost faith in the justice system.
- 2/17/07: He was awarded the rank of "Chevalier de la LÚgion d'Honneur" by French President 'Jacques Chirac' (qv) as a tribute to his career as an actor and a filmmaker.