Clinton Eastwood, Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American movie actor and Academy Award winning director, famous for his "tough guy" roles. These include Dirty Harry and "The Man with No Name" in Sergio Leone's "Spaghetti Westerns".
Born in San Francisco, California as the son of a steel worker, Eastwood did a stint in the United States Army before moving to Los Angeles to study at Los Angeles College . He studied primarily business administration, but eventually dropped out.
Eastwood began work as an actor, appearing in such B-films as Tarantula and Francis in the Navy . In 1959 he got his first breakthrough with the long-running Television series, Rawhide. 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 Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari) in 1964, and soon followed it with For a Few Dollars More (Per qualche dollaro in pił) (1965). In these and his third film with Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo) (1966) he found one of his trademark roles, the mysterious "man with no name". All three films were hits, particularly the third, and Eastwood became an instant international star, redefining the traditional image of the American cowboy.
Stardom brought more roles, though still in the 'tough guy' mold. In Where Eagles Dare (1968) he had second billing to Richard Burton but was paid $800,000 (rather more than a fistful). However he also began to branch out. Paint Your Wagon (1969) was still a Western, but a musical. Kelly's Heroes (1970) combined tough guy action with offbeat humor. His talents proved equal to all these tasks. 1971 proved to be one of his best years in films. He starred in the thriller Play Misty for Me (1971), and The Beguiled (1971). But it was his role that year as the hard edged police inspector Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry that gave Eastwood one of his most memorable roles. The film has been credited with inventing the 'loose-cannon cop genre' that remains imitated to this day. Many have said that Eastwood's portrayal of the tough, no-nonsense cop touched a nerve with many who were just plain fed up with crime in the streets.
Eastwood continued to take cop, western and thriller roles, including sequels to Dirty Harry: Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988). The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) was an important contribution to the western genre. As the late seventies approached he found more solid work in comedies like Every Which Way But Loose (1978). However his career appeared to be on the wane.
It was the fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact (1983) that made Eastwood a viable star for the eighties. President Reagan even used his famous "make my day" line in one of his speeches. But the passing of time made it harder for him to be a believable tough guy. He did make his fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool (1988). Although it was a success overall, it did not have the box office punch his previous films had achieved. After much less successful films like Pink Cadillac (1989), and The Rookie (1990), it was fairly obvious Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before. He then started taking on more personal projects such as directing Bird (1988), a biopic of Charlie "Bird" Parker, and starring in and directing White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), an uneven, loose biography of John Huston.
But Eastwood rose surprisingly to stardom yet again in the 1990s. He starred in and directed the gritty, cynical western, Unforgiven in 1992, taking on the role of an aging ex-gunfighter, long past his prime. The film was nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Actor for Eastwood, and won four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood. The following year, Eastwood gave a fine performance as a guilt-ridden Secret Service agent in the thriller In the Line of Fire. He expanded his repertoire again with the love story, The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and took on more work as director, much of it well received, including Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Mystic River (2003), and Million Dollar Baby (2004), for which he won a rare second Best Director award, at 74 the oldest active director to do so.
Eastwood developed directing as a second career, and has, indeed, generally received greater critical acclaim for his directing than for his acting. He has chosen a wide variety of films to direct, some clearly commercial, others highly personal. Unlike many actors who also direct, Eastwood frequently directs films he does not appear in. Over the course of time, Eastwood has become a highly respected American director. Eastwood also produces many of his movies, and is well known in the industry for his efficient, low cost approach to making films. Over the years, he has developed relationships with many other filmmakers, working over and over with the same crew, production designers, cinematographers, editors, and other technical people. Similarly, he has a very long term relationship to the Warner Bros. studio, which finances and releases most of his films. In more recent years, Eastwood has also started to write music for some of his films.
Despite the critical acclaim he has received for Oscar-winning epics in the latter part of his career, Eastwood remains the quintessential cowboy with mannerisms to match in all his movies. With a drawl most people call 'Western', he is cool, conceited and distant on screen. With his towering personality in literal and virtual terms, he is probably the only American actor who looks 'lonely in a crowd'.
Eastwood received Kennedy Center Honors in 2000.
Eastwood, who has been married twice, has four daughters and two sons by five different women: Kimberly, 40, with actress Roxanne Tunis; and Kyle , 36, and Alison 32, with his ex-wife Maggie Johnson . He has an eleven-year-old daughter Francesca with Frances Fisher, his co-star in Unforgiven, and seven year old Morgan with his new wife Dina Ruiz. He also has an older son Lesly (born February 13 1959) to Rosina Mary Glen (born September 1 1940), He was adopted after spending six months in a Salvation Army Home for young unmarried mothers. Clint and his wife Maggie (Maggie was pregnant at the time) found and introduced themselves to him in the late summer of 1967 (he was eight). He was living in a small village in Fife, Scotland called Kinghorn. Although they never made contact with him in any way, shape or form again, Clint would regularly vacation at the secluded Kingswood Hotel on the road between Kinghorn and Burntisland. He was seen on many occasions, playing golf at Burntisland golf course. His autographed picture still hangs in the Penny Farthing Bar in Kirkaldy, which he donated personally.
"I like to joke that since my children weren't giving me any grandchildren, I had two of my own. It's a terrific feeling being a dad again at my age. I am very fortunate. I realize how unfair a thing it is that men can have children at a much older age than women."
In addition to his career as an actor, Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California on April 8, 1986, receiving 72% of the vote (voter turnout was also doubled over the previous mayoral election). He served a two-year term before declining to run for re-election.
Eastwood has become one of the most prominent opponents of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the disability rights movement, after his restaurant in Carmel was hit with an ADA enforcement lawsuit. In May 2000, he testified before Congress in support of a bill that would have added procedural protections for small business owners. A few disability rights activists have alleged that his decision to make Million Dollar Baby may have been motivated by this earlier experience.
Eastwood has also directed a number of films, including many that he starred in.
- "Unknown Girl" (single, 1961)
- "Rowdy" (single)
- "For You, For Me, For Evermore" (single)
- "Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites" (LP)
- "Paint Your Wagon" (soundtrack)
- "Kelly's Heroes" (soundtrack)
- "Cowboy in a Three Piece Suit" (single, 1981)
Some of Eastwood's lines are among the best-known movie quotations of all time. (Remembering, of course, that Eastwood himself did not write any of these lines. Eastwood has never taken a writing credit on a film.)
From Dirty Harry:
- Harry Callahan: "I know what you're thinking: 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"
From Sudden Impact:
- Harry Callahan: "Go ahead, make my day."
From Bronco Billy:
- Bronco Billy: "Dyin's too good for ya."
From Million Dollar Baby:
- Frankie Dunn: "Girlie, tough ain't enough."
Last updated: 08-07-2005 21:52:29