Clint Eastwood


Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music and mechanics, but was an otherwise bored student; this resulted in being held back a grade. Eastwood's parents relocated to Washington state in 1949, and Clint worked menial jobs in the Pacific Northwest until returning to California for a stint at Fort Ord Military Reservation. He enrolled at Los Angeles City College, but dropped out after two semesters to pursue acting. During the mid-'50s he found uncredited bit parts in such B-films as La revanche de la créature (1955) and Tarantula (1955) while simultaneously digging swimming pools to supplement his income. In 1958, he landed his first consequential acting role in the long-running TV show Rawhide (1959) with Eric Fleming. Though only a secondary player for the first seven seasons, Clint was promoted to series star when Fleming departed in its final year, along the way becoming a recognizable face to television viewers around the country. Eastwood's big-screen breakthrough came as The Man with No Name in Sergio Leone's trilogy of excellent spaghetti westerns: Pour une poignée de dollars (1964), Et pour quelques dollars de plus (1965), and Le bon, la brute et le truand (1966). The movies were shown exclusively in Italy during their respective copyright years with Enrico Maria Salerno providing the voice for Clint's character, finally getting American distribution in 1967. As the last film racked up phenomenal grosses, Eastwood, 37, rose from undistinguished TV actor to sought-after box office attraction in just a matter of months. Yet again a success was the late-blooming star's first U.S.-made western, Pendez-les haut et court (1968). He followed that up with the lead role in Un shérif à New-York (1968) (the loose inspiration for the TV series Un shérif à New York (1970)), before playing second fiddle to Richard Burton in the World War II epic Quand les aigles attaquent (1968) and Lee Marvin in the bizarre musical La kermesse de l'Ouest (1969). In Sierra torride (1970) and De l'or pour les braves (1970), Eastwood leaned in an experimental direction by combining tough-guy action with offbeat humor. 1971 proved to be his busiest year in film. He starred as a predatory Union soldier in Les proies (1971) to critical acclaim, and made his directorial debut with the classic erotic thriller Un frisson dans la nuit (1971). His role as the hard edge police inspector in L'inspecteur Harry (1971), meanwhile, gave him cultural icon status and helped popularize the loose-cannon cop genre. Thereafter, Eastwood put out a steady stream of entertaining movies: the westerns Joe Kidd (1972), L'homme des hautes plaines (1973) and Josey Wales hors-la-loi (1976) (his first of six onscreen collaborations with then live-in love Sondra Locke), the Dirty Harry sequels Magnum Force (1973) and L'inspecteur ne renonce jamais (1976), the road adventures Le canardeur (1974) and L'épreuve de force (1977), and the fact-based prison film L'évadé d'Alcatraz (1979). He branched out into the comedy genre in 1978 with Doux, dur et dingue (1978), which became the biggest hit of his career up to that time. Taking inflation into account, it still is. In short, notwithstanding La sanction (1975), the '70s were an uninterrupted success for Clint. Eastwood kicked off the '80s with Ça va cogner (1980), the blockbuster sequel to Every Which Way But Loose. The fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact - Le retour de l'inspecteur Harry (1983), was the highest-grossing film of the franchise and spawned his trademark catchphrase, "Make my day." Clint also starred in Bronco Billy (1980), Firefox, l'arme absolue (1982), La corde raide (1984), Haut les flingues! (1984), Pale Rider - Le cavalier solitaire (1985) and Le maître de guerre (1986), all of which were solid hits, with Honkytonk Man (1982) being his only commercial failure of the period. In 1988 he did his fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, La dernière cible (1988). Although it was a success overall, it did not have the box office punch the previous films had. About this time, with outright bombs Pink Cadillac (1989) and La relève (1990), it seemed Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before. He started taking on low-key projects, directing Bird (1988), a biopic of Charlie Parker that earned him a Golden Globe, and starring in and directing Chasseur blanc, coeur noir (1990), an uneven, loose biopic of John Huston. (Both films had a limited release.) Eastwood bounced back with his dark western Impitoyable (1992), which garnered the then 62-year-old his first ever Academy Award nomination (Best Actor), and an Oscar win for Best Director. Churning out a quick follow-up hit, he took on the secret service in Dans la ligne de mire (1993), then accepted second billing for the first time since 1970 in the interesting but poorly received Un monde parfait (1993) with Kevin Costner. Next up was a love story, Sur la route de Madison (1995), where Clint surprised audiences with a sensitive performance alongside none other than Meryl Streep. But it soon became apparent he was going backwards after his brief revival. Subsequent films were credible, but nothing really stuck out. Les pleins pouvoirs (1997) and Space Cowboys (2000) did well enough, while Jugé coupable (1999) and Créance de sang (2002) were received badly, as was Minuit dans le jardin du bien et du mal (1997), which he directed but didn't appear in. Eastwood surprised yet again in 2005, when he returned to the top of the A-list with Million Dollar Baby (2004). Also starring Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, the hugely successful drama won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Clint. He scored his second Best Actor nomination, too. Eastwood's next starring vehicle, Gran Torino (2008), earned almost $30 million in its opening weekend and was his highest grosser unadjusted for inflation. 2012 saw him in a rare lighthearted movie, Une nouvelle chance (2012), as well as a reality show, Mrs. Eastwood & Company (2012). In between screen appearances, Clint chalked up an impressive list of additional credits behind the camera. He directed Mystic River (2003) (in which Sean Penn and Tim Robbins gave Oscar-winning performances), Mémoires de nos pères (2006), Lettres d'Iwo Jima (2006), L'échange (2008) (a vehicle for screen megastar Angelina Jolie), Invictus (2009) (again with Freeman), Au-delà (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys (2014), American Sniper (2014) (2014's top box office champ) and Sully (2016) (starring Tom Hanks as hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger). Impossible Odds, based on the thwarted Thalys train attack of 2015, is his latest project. Eastwood's individuality outside of work has been extremely convoluted, to put it mildly. He managed to keep his personal life top secret for the first three decades of his celebrity. (To this day the Hollywood kingpin refuses to disclose exactly how many families he's started.) He had a long time relationship with frequent '70s/'80s co-star Locke, who published a scathing memoir in 1997, and has fathered at least eight children by at least six different women. He has only been married twice, however -- with a mere three of his progeny coming from those unions. Clint Eastwood lives in L.A. and owns property in Monterey, northern California, Idaho's Sun Valley and Maui, Hawaii.