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Clint Eastwood

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
Born Clinton Eastwood, Jr.
(1930-05-31) May 31, 1930
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Years active 1954–present
Spouse(s) Maggie Johnson
(1953–1984; divorced)
Dina Eastwood
(1996–present; separated; divorce pending)
Partner(s) Sondra Locke
Frances Fisher
Children with Roxanne Tunis:
–Kimber Eastwood (b. 1964)
with Johnson:
Kyle Eastwood (b. 1968)
Alison Eastwood (b. 1972)
with Jacelyn Reeves:
Scott Eastwood (b. 1986)
–Kathryn Eastwood (b. 1988)
with Fisher:
Francesca Eastwood (b. 1993)
with Dina:
b. 1996)
Clint Eastwood
Mayor of Carmel, California
In office
Clint Eastwood's voice
Recorded December 2009 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Front Row

This article is part of a series on Clint Eastwood

Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, filmmaker, musician and politician. He rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy of spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s, and as Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These roles, among others, have made him an enduring cultural icon of masculinity.[1][2]

For his work in the films Million Dollar Baby (2004), Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Director and Producer of the Best Picture, as well as receiving nominations for Best Actor. His greatest commercial successes have been Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and its sequel, Any Which Way You Can (1980), after adjustment for inflation.[3] Other popular films include Hang 'Em High (1968), Play Misty for Me (1971), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), Firefox (1982), Tightrope (1984), Pale Rider (1985), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), In the Line of Fire (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and Gran Torino (2008).

In addition to directing many of his own star vehicles, Eastwood has also directed films in which he did not appear, such as Mystic River (2003) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), for which he received Academy Award nominations, and Changeling (2008). He received considerable critical praise in France for several films including some which were not well received in the United States. He has been awarded two of France's highest honors: in 1994 he became a recipient of the Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2007 he was awarded the Légion d'honneur medal. In 2000, he was awarded the Italian Venice Film Festival Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

Since 1967, Eastwood has run his own production company, Malpaso, which has produced all except four of his American films. He served as the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California from 1986 to 1988.

Early life

Clinton Eastwood, Jr. was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Margaret Ruth (née Runner; January 18, 1909 – February 4, 2006), an IBM factory worker, and Clinton Eastwood Sr. (June 11, 1906 – July 21, 1970), a steelworker and migrant worker.[4][5] He was nicknamed "Samson" by the hospital nurses as he weighed 11 pounds 6 ounces (5.2 kg) at birth.[6][7] He has a younger sister, Jeanne (born 1934).[8] His stepfather was lumber magnate John Belden Wood (November 24, 1913 – February 18, 2004).[9] Eastwood is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Dutch ancestry[10] and was raised in a working class environment.[11][12] His family moved often as his father worked at jobs along the West Coast.[13][14] They finally settled in Piedmont, California, where Eastwood attended Piedmont Junior High School.[15] Shortly before he was to enter Piedmont High School, he rode his bike on the school's sports field and tore up the wet turf; this resulted in his being asked not to enroll.[16] Instead, he attended Oakland Technical High School, where the drama teachers encouraged him to take part in school plays. However, Eastwood was not interested. He worked at a number of jobs, including lifeguard, paper carrier, grocery clerk, forest firefighter, and golf caddy.[17]

In 1951, Eastwood enrolled at Seattle University[18] but was then drafted by the United States Army[19] and assigned to Fort Ord in California, where he was appointed as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.[20] In Patrick McGilligan's unauthorized biography Clint: The Life and Legend, high school friend Don Loomis alleged Eastwood avoided being sent to combat in the Korean War by "romancing one of the daughters of a Fort Ord officer, who might have been entreated to watch out for him when names came up for posting".[21][22] While returning from a weekend visit to his parents in Seattle, Washington, he was a passenger on a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean near Point Reyes.[23][24] Escaping from the sinking aircraft, he and the pilot swam 3 miles (5 km) to safety.[25][26]


Early work

Publicity photo for Rawhide, 1961

According to the CBS press release for Rawhide, Universal Studios (then known as Universal-International) was shooting in Fort Ord when an assistant noticed Eastwood and arranged for him to meet the series' director.[27] According to biographer Richard Schickel, a man named Chuck Hill was instrumental in securing employment for Eastwood at Universal;[27] Hill, who had contacts in Hollywood, managed to sneak Eastwood into one of Universal's studios, where he showed him to cameraman Irving Glassberg.[27] Glassberg arranged for Eastwood to have an audition with Arthur Lubin who, although impressed with Eastwood's appearance and 6-foot-4-inch (1.93 m) frame,[28] initially questioned his acting skills, remarking, "He was quite amateurish. He didn't know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything".[29] Lubin suggested Eastwood attend drama classes, and arranged for his initial contract in April 1954 at $100 (US$878 in 2015 dollars[30]) per week.[29] After signing, Eastwood was criticized for his stiff manner, his squint, and for hissing his lines through his teeth, a feature that would become a lifelong trademark.[31][32][33][34]

Eastwood's acting debut was an uncredited bit part as a laboratory assistant in the 1955 film Revenge of the Creature.[35] Over the next three years, he had uncredited bit parts in several other films including Lady Godiva of Coventry, Never Say Goodbye and Escapade in Japan, as well as a small speaking role in Francis in the Navy.[36][37][38] In 1959, he made a guest appearance on Maverick, opposite James Garner, as a cowardly villain intent on marrying a rich girl for money.[39] Eastwood had a small part as an aviator in the French picture Lafayette Escadrille and took on a featured role as an ex-Confederate renegade in Ambush at Cimarron Pass, a film that Eastwood viewed as disastrous and the lowest point of his career.[22][40][41]

He finally received his break in the role of Rowdy Yates for the CBS hour-long western series Rawhide in the summer of 1958,[42][43] although he was not especially happy with his role. Eastwood, then 28, felt his character Rowdy was too young and cloddish for him to feel comfortable with the part.[44] Rawhide premiered in January 1959[45] and after its release took only three weeks to reach the top 20 in the TV ratings. Although the series never won an Emmy, it was a considerable success for several years, reaching its peak at number six in the ratings between October 1960 and April 1961.[46] The Rawhide years (1959–65) were some of the most grueling of Eastwood's career. He often filmed for six days a week at an average of twelve hours a day, yet some directors still criticized him for not working hard enough.[46][47] By late 1963 Rawhide′s popularity had declined. Lacking freshness in the scripts, it was canceled in the middle of the 1965–66 television season.[48] Eastwood made his first attempt at directing when he filmed several trailers for the show, although he was unable to convince producers to let him direct an episode.[49] In the show's first season Eastwood earned $750 (US$6,131 in 2015 dollars[30]) an episode. At the time of Rawhide′s cancellation, he received $119,000 (US$890,552 in 2015 dollars[30]) an episode in compensation.[50] The original series lead Eric Fleming had quit the series by the final season, leaving Eastwood as the top-billed leading man; Eastwood had also appeared in the Italian theatrical movie A Fistful of Dollars by then, filmed during Rawhide's summer hiatus but not yet released in the United States.


In late 1963, Eastwood's co-star on Rawhide, Eric Fleming, rejected an offer to star in an Italian-made western called A Fistful of Dollars, to be directed in a remote region of Spain by the then relatively unknown Sergio Leone.[51] Knowing that he could play a cowboy convincingly, Richard Harrison suggested Eastwood, who in turn saw the film as an opportunity to escape from his Rawhide image. He signed a contract for $15,000 (US$114,061 in 2015 dollars[30]) in wages for eleven weeks' work, with a bonus of a Mercedes automobile upon completion.[52][53] Eastwood later spoke of the transition from a television western to A Fistful of Dollars: "In Rawhide I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat. The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an anti-hero."[54] Eastwood was instrumental in creating the Man with No Name character's distinctive visual style and, although a non-smoker, Leone insisted Eastwood smoke cigars as an essential ingredient of the "mask" he was attempting to create for the loner character.[55]

Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

A Fistful of Dollars proved a landmark in the development of spaghetti Westerns, with Leone depicting a more lawless and desolate world than traditional westerns, and challenging American stereotypes of a western hero with a morally ambiguous antihero. The film's success made Eastwood a major star in Italy[56] and he was re-hired to star in For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second of the trilogy. Through the efforts of screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, the rights to For a Few Dollars More and the final film of the trilogy (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) were sold to United Artists for about $900,000 (US$6.74 million in 2015 dollars[30]).[57]

In January 1966, Eastwood met producer Dino De Laurentiis in New York City and agreed to star in a non-Western five-part anthology production named Le Streghe ("The Witches") opposite De Laurentiis' wife, actress Silvana Mangano.[58] Eastwood's nineteen-minute installment took only a few days to shoot, but his performance did not please the critics, one writing that "no other performance of his is quite so 'un-Clintlike' ".[59] Two months later Eastwood began work on the third Dollars film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, again playing the mysterious Man with No Name. Lee Van Cleef returned as a ruthless fortune seeker, with Eli Wallach portraying the cunning Mexican bandit Tuco Ramirez. The storyline involved the search for a cache of Confederate gold buried in a cemetery. During the filming of a scene in which a bridge was blown up, Eastwood urged Wallach to retreat to a hilltop. "I know about these things," he said. "Stay as far away from special effects and explosives as you can."[60] Minutes later confusion among the crew over the word "Vaya!" resulted in a premature explosion that could have killed Wallach.[60]

"I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long. I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience."

—Eastwood, on playing the Man with No Name character[61]

The Dollars trilogy was not released in the United States until 1967, when A Fistful of Dollars opened in January, followed by For a Few Dollars More in May, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on December 29, 1967.[62] All the films were commercially successful, particularly The Good, the Bad and the Ugly which eventually earned $8 million (US$56.6 million in 2015 dollars[30]) in rental earnings and turned Eastwood into a major film star.[62] All three films received bad reviews, and marked the beginning of a battle for Eastwood to win American film critics' respect.[63] Judith Crist described A Fistful of Dollars as "cheapjack",[64] while Newsweek considered For a Few Dollars More as "excruciatingly dopey".[63] Renata Adler of The New York Times said The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (now widely considered one of the finest films in the history of cinema[65][66]) was "the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre".[67] Time magazine drew attention to the film's wooden acting, especially on the part of Eastwood, though a few critics such as Vincent Canby and Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised Eastwood's coolness in playing the tall, lone stranger.[68] Leone's cinematography was widely acclaimed, even by critics who disparaged the acting in the film.[63]

Stardom brought more roles for Eastwood. He signed to star in the American revisionist western Hang 'Em High (1968), featured alongside Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Dennis Hopper, Ed Begley, Alan Hale, Ben Johnson, Bruce Dern, and James MacArthur,[69] playing a man who takes up a Marshal's badge and seeks revenge as a lawman after being lynched by vigilantes and left for dead.[70] The film earned Eastwood a fee of $400,000 (US$2.71 million in 2015 dollars[30]) and 25 percent of its net box-office takings.[69] Using money earned from the Dollars trilogy, accountant and Eastwood advisor Irving Leonard helped establish Eastwood's own production company, Malpaso Productions, named after Malpaso Creek on Eastwood's property in Monterey County, California. Leonard arranged for Hang 'Em High to be a joint production with United Artists;[71] when it opened in July 1968, it had an unprecedented opening weekend in United Artists' history. Hang 'Em High was widely praised by critics, including Archer Winsten of the New York Post who described it as, "a western of quality, courage, danger and excitement".[12]

Before the release of Hang 'Em High Eastwood had already begun working on Coogan's Bluff, about an Arizona deputy sheriff tracking a wanted psychopathic criminal (Don Stroud) through the streets of New York City. He was reunited with Universal Studios for it after receiving an offer of $1 million (US$7.07 million in 2015 dollars[30])—more than double his previous salary.[72] Jennings Lang arranged for Eastwood to meet Don Siegel, a Universal contract director who later became Eastwood's close friend, forming a partnership that would last more than ten years and produce five films.[73] Shooting began in November 1967, before the script had been finalized.[74] The film was controversial for its portrayal of violence.[75][76] Coogan's Bluff also became the first collaboration with Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin, who would later compose the jazzy score to several Eastwood films in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Dirty Harry films.

Eastwood was paid $750,000 (US$5.09 million in 2015 dollars[30]) in 1968 for the war epic Where Eagles Dare,[77] about a World War II squad parachuting into a Gestapo stronghold in the alpine mountains. Richard Burton played the squad's commander, with Eastwood as his right-hand man. Eastwood was also cast as Two-Face in the Batman television show, but the series was canceled before filming began.[78]

Eastwood then branched out to star in the only musical of his career, Paint Your Wagon (1969). Eastwood and Lee Marvin play gold miners who buy a Mormon settler's less favored wife (Jean Seberg) at an auction. Bad weather and delays plagued the production, while the film's budget eventually exceeded $20 million (US$129 million in 2015 dollars[30]), which was extremely expensive for the time.[79] The film was not a critical or commercial success, although it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.[80]


In 1970, Eastwood starred with Shirley MacLaine in the western Two Mules for Sister Sara, directed by Don Siegel. The film follows an American mercenary, who gets mixed up with a prostitute disguised as a nun, and ends up helping a group of Juarista rebels during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.[81][82] Eastwood once again played a mysterious stranger—unshaven, wearing a serape-like vest, and smoking a cigar.[83] Although it received moderate reviews,[84][85][86] the film is listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.[87] Later the same year, Eastwood starred as one of a group of Americans who steal a fortune in gold from the Nazis, in the World War II film Kelly's Heroes, with Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas. Kelly's Heroes was the last film in which Eastwood appeared, that was not produced by his own Malpaso Productions.[88] Filming commenced in July 1969 on location in Yugoslavia and in London.[89] The film received mostly a positive reception and its anti-war sentiments were recognized.[88] In the winter of 1969–70, Eastwood and Siegel began planning his next film, The Beguiled, a tale of a wounded Union soldier, held captive by the sexually repressed matron (played by Geraldine Page) of a Southern girl's school.[90] Upon release the film received major recognition in France and is considered one of Eastwood's finest works by the French.[91] However, it grossed less than $1 million (US$6.07 million in 2015 dollars[30]) and, according to Eastwood and Lang, flopped due to poor publicity and the "emasculated" role of Eastwood.[92]

Eastwood's career reached a turning point in 1971.[93] Before Irving Leonard died, he and Eastwood had discussed the idea of Malpaso producing Play Misty for Me, a film that was to give Eastwood the artistic control he desired, and his debut as a director.[94] The script was about a jazz disc jockey named Dave (Eastwood), who has a casual affair with Evelyn (Jessica Walter), a listener who had been calling the radio station repeatedly at night, asking him to play her favorite song — Erroll Garner's "Misty". When Dave ends their relationship, the unhinged Evelyn becomes a murderous stalker.[95] Filming commenced in Monterey in September 1970 and included footage of that year's Monterey Jazz Festival.[96] The film was highly acclaimed with critics, such as Jay Cocks in Time, Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice, and Archer Winsten in the New York Post all praising the film, as well as Eastwood's directorial skills and performance.[97] Walter was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Drama), for her performance in the film.

"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 as 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 you, punk?"

—Eastwood, in Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry (1971), written by Harry and Rita Fink, centers around a hard-edged New York City (later changed to San Francisco) police inspector named Harry Callahan who is determined to stop a psychotic killer by any means.[98] Dirty Harry has been described as being arguably Eastwood's most memorable character, and the film has been credited with inventing the "loose-cannon cop" genre.[99][100] Author Eric Lichtenfeld argues that Eastwood's role as Dirty Harry established the "first true archetype" of the action film genre.[101] His lines (quoted right) have been cited as among the most memorable in cinematic history and are regarded by firearms historians, such as Garry James and Richard Venola, as the force which catapulted the ownership of .44 Magnum revolvers to unprecedented heights in the United States; specifically the Smith & Wesson Model 29 carried by Harry Callahan.[102][103] Dirty Harry achieved huge success after its release in December 1971, earning $22 million (US$128 million in 2015 dollars[30]) in the United States and Canada alone.[104] It was Siegel's highest-grossing film and the start of a series of films featuring the character Harry Callahan. Although a number of critics praised Eastwood's performance as Dirty Harry, such as Jay Cocks of Time magazine who described him as "giving his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character",[105] the film was also widely criticized and accused of being fascistic.[106][107][108]

Following Sean Connery's announcement that he would not play James Bond again, Eastwood was offered the role but turned it down because he believed the character should be played by an English actor.[109] He next starred in the loner Western Joe Kidd (1972), based on a character inspired by Reies Lopez Tijerina, who stormed a courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico in June 1967. During filming, Eastwood suffered symptoms of a bronchial infection and several panic attacks.[110] Joe Kidd received a mixed reception, with Roger Greenspun of The New York Times writing that it was unremarkable, with foolish symbolism and sloppy editing, although he praised Eastwood's performance.[111]

In 1973, Eastwood directed his first western, High Plains Drifter, in which he also starred. The film had a moral and supernatural theme, later emulated in Pale Rider. The plot follows a mysterious stranger (Eastwood) who arrives in a brooding Western town where the people hire him to protect them against three soon-to-be-released felons. There remains confusion during the film as to whether the stranger is the brother of the deputy, whom the felons lynched and murdered, or his ghost. Holes in the plot were filled with black humor and allegory, influenced by Leone.[112] The revisionist film received a mixed reception, but was a major box office success. A number of critics thought Eastwood's directing was "as derivative as it was expressive", with Arthur Knight of the Saturday Review remarking that Eastwood had "absorbed the approaches of Siegel and Leone and fused them with his own paranoid vision of society".[113] John Wayne, who had declined a role in the film, sent a letter to Eastwood soon after the film's release in which he complained that, "the townspeople did not represent the true spirit of the American pioneer, the spirit that made America great".[114]

Eastwood directing William Holden in Breezy (1973)

Eastwood next turned his attention towards Breezy (1973), a film about love blossoming between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl. During casting for the film Eastwood met Sondra Locke for the first time, an actress who would play major roles in six of his films over the next ten years and would become an important figure in his life.[115] Kay Lenz got the part of Breezy because Locke, at age 29, was considered too old. The film, shot very quickly and efficiently by Eastwood and Frank Stanley, came in $1 million (US$5.31 million in 2015 dollars[30]) under budget and was finished three days ahead of schedule.[116] Breezy was not a major critical or commercial success and it was only made available on video in 1998.[117]

Once filming of Breezy had finished, Warners announced that Eastwood had agreed to reprise his role as Callahan in Magnum Force (1973), a sequel to Dirty Harry, about a group of rogue young officers (among them David Soul, Robert Urich and Tim Matheson) in the San Francisco Police Department who systematically exterminate the city's worst criminals.[118] Although the film was a major success after release, grossing $58.1 million (US$309 million in 2015 dollars[30]) in the United States (a record for Eastwood), it was not a critical success.[119][120] The New York Times critic Nora Sayre panned the often contradictory moral themes of the film, while the paper's Frank Rich called it "the same old stuff".[120]

In 1974, Eastwood teamed up with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a road movie about a veteran bank robber Thunderbolt (Eastwood) and a young con man drifter, Lightfoot (Bridges). On its release, in spring 1974, the film was praised for its offbeat comedy mixed with high suspense and tragedy but was only a modest success at the box office, earning $32.4 million (US$155 million in 2015 dollars[30]).[121] Eastwood's acting was noted by critics, but was overshadowed by Bridges who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Eastwood reportedly fumed at the lack of Academy Award recognition for him and swore that he would never work for United Artists again.[121][122]

Eastwood's next film Mike Hoover taught Eastwood how to climb during several weeks of preparation at Yosemite in the summer of 1974 before filming commenced in Grindelwald on August 12, 1974.[123][124] Despite prior warnings about the perils of the Eiger the film crew suffered a number of accidents, including one fatality.[125][126] Despite the danger, Eastwood insisted on doing all his own climbing and stunts. Upon release in May 1975 The Eiger Sanction was a commercial failure, receiving only $23.8 million (US$104 million in 2015 dollars[30]) at the box office, and was poorly received by most critics.[127] Joy Gould Boyum of the Wall Street Journal dismissed the film as "brutal fantasy".[127][128] Eastwood blamed Universal Studios for the film's poor promotion and turned his back on them to make an agreement with Warner Brothers, through Frank Wells, that has lasted to the present day.[129]

Philip Kaufman was fired by producer Bob Daley under Eastwood's command, resulting in a fine reported to be around $60,000 (US$248,667 in 2015 dollars[30]) from the Directors Guild of America—who subsequently passed new legislation reserving the right to impose a major fine on a producer for discharging and replacing a director.[131] The film was pre-screened at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho during a six-day conference entitled Western Movies: Myths and Images. Invited to the screening were a number of esteemed film critics, including Jay Cocks and Arthur Knight; directors such as King Vidor, William Wyler, and Howard Hawks; and a number of academics.[132] Upon release in the summer of 1976 The Outlaw Josey Wales was widely acclaimed, with many critics and viewers seeing Eastwood's role as an iconic one that related to America's ancestral past and the destiny of the nation after the American Civil War.[132] Roger Ebert compared the nature and vulnerability of Eastwood's portrayal of Josey Wales with his Man with No Name character in the Dollars westerns and praised the film's atmosphere.[133] The film would later appear in Time '​s "Top 10 Films of the Year".[134]

Eastwood was then offered the role of Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now, but declined as he did not want to spend weeks on location in the Philippines.[135][136] He also refused the part of a platoon leader in Ted Post's Vietnam War film, Go Tell the Spartans[135] and instead decided to make a third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer. The film had Callahan partnered with a new female officer (Tyne Daly) to face a San Francisco Bay area group resembling the Symbionese Liberation Army. The film, culminating in a shootout on Alcatraz island, was considerably shorter than the previous Dirty Harry films at 95 minutes,[137] but was a major commercial success grossing $100 million (US$414 million in 2015 dollars[30]) worldwide to become Eastwood's highest-grossing film to date.[138]

In 1977, he directed and starred in The Gauntlet opposite Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, and Mara Corday. Eastwood portrays a down-and-out cop assigned to escort a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix to testify against the mafia. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public, critics had mixed feelings about the film, with many believing it was overly violent. Ebert, in contrast, gave the film three stars and called it "... classic Clint Eastwood: fast, furious, and funny."[139] The following year, he starred in Every Which Way But Loose in an uncharacteristic offbeat comedy role. He played Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler who roams the American West searching for a lost love (Locke) accompanied by his brother (played by Geoffrey Lewis) and an orangutan called Clyde. The film proved surprisingly successful upon its release and became Eastwood's most commercially successful film up to that time. Panned by critics, it ranked high among the box office successes of his career and was the second-highest grossing film of 1978.[140]

Eastwood starred in Escape from Alcatraz in 1979, the last of his films to be directed by Siegel. It was based on the true story of Frank Lee Morris who, along with John and Clarence Anglin, escaped from the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1962. The film was a major success; Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic praised it as "crystalline cinema"[141] and Frank Rich of Time described it as "cool, cinematic grace".[142]


In 1980, Eastwood directed and played the title role in Bronco Billy alongside Locke, Scatman Crothers, and Sam Bottoms.[143] Eastwood has cited Bronco Billy as being one of the most relaxed shoots of his career and biographer Richard Schickel has argued that Bronco Billy is Eastwood's most self-referential character.[144][145] The film was a rare commercial disappointment in Eastwood's career,[146] but was liked by critics. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that film was "the best and funniest Clint Eastwood movie in quite a while", and praised Eastwood's directing and the way he intricately juxtaposes the old West and the new.[147] Later that year, Eastwood starred in Any Which Way You Can, the sequel to Every Which Way But Loose. The film received a number of bad reviews from critics, although Maslin described it as "funnier and even better than its predecessor".[146] Released over the Christmas season of 1980, Any Which Way You Can was a major box office success and ranked among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.[148]

Eastwood in 1981

In 1982, Eastwood directed and starred in Honkytonk Man, based on the eponymous Clancy Carlile's depression-era novel. Eastwood portrays a struggling western singer Red Stovall who suffers from tuberculosis, but has finally been given an opportunity to make it big at the Grand Ole Opry. He is accompanied by his young nephew (played by real-life son Kyle) to Nashville, Tennessee, where he is supposed to record a song. Only Time gave the film a good review in the United States, with most reviewers criticizing its blend of muted humor and tragedy.[149] Nevertheless the film received critical acclaim in France, where it was compared to John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath,[150] and it has since acquired the very high rating of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.[151] In the same year Eastwood directed, produced, and starred in the Cold War-themed Firefox alongside Freddie Jones, David Huffman, Warren Clarke and Ronald Lacey. Based on a 1977 novel with the same name written by Craig Thomas, the film was shot before but released after Honkeytonk Man. Russian filming locations were not possible due to the Cold War, and the film had to be shot in Vienna and other locations in Austria to simulate many of the Eurasian story locations. With a production cost of $20 million, (US$48.9 million in 2015 dollars[30]) it was Eastwood's highest budget film to date.[152] People magazine likened Eastwood's performance to "Luke Skywalker trapped in Dirty Harry's Soul".[152]

Eastwood directed and starred in the fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact, which was shot in the spring and summer of 1983 and is considered the darkest and most violent of the series.[153] By this time Eastwood received 60 percent of all profits from films he starred in and directed, with the rest going to the studio.[154] Sudden Impact was his final on-screen collaboration with Locke. She plays an artist who, along with her sister, was gang-raped a decade before the story takes place and seeks revenge for her sister's now-vegetative state by systematically murdering the rapists. The line "Go ahead, make my day" (uttered by Eastwood during an early scene in a coffee shop) is often cited as one of cinema's immortal lines. It was quoted by President Ronald Reagan in a speech to Congress, and used during the 1984 presidential elections.[155][156][157] The film was the most commercially successful of the Dirty Harry films, earning $70 million (US$166 million in 2015 dollars[30]). It received very positive reviews, with many critics praising the feminist aspects of the film through its explorations of the physical and psychological consequences of rape.[158]

Tightrope (1984) had Eastwood starring opposite Geneviève Bujold in a provocative thriller, inspired by newspaper articles about an elusive Bay Area rapist. Set in New Orleans to avoid confusion with the Dirty Harry films,[159] Eastwood played a divorced cop drawn into his target's tortured psychology and fascination for sadomasochism.[160] Tightrope was a critical and commercial hit and became the fourth highest-grossing R-rated film of 1984.[161] Eastwood next starred in the crime comedy City Heat (1984) alongside Burt Reynolds, a film about a private eye and his partner who get mixed up with gangsters in the prohibition era of the 1930s. The film grossed around $50 million (US$114 million in 2015 dollars[30]) domestically, but was overshadowed by Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop.[162]

"Westerns. A period gone by, the pioneer, the loner operating by himself, without benefit of society. It usually has something to do with some sort of vengeance; he takes care of the vengeance himself, doesn't call the police. Like Robin Hood. It's the last masculine frontier. Romantic myth, I guess, though it's hard to think about anything romantic today. In a Western you can think, Jesus, there was a time when man was alone, on horseback, out there where man hasn't spoiled the land yet."

—Eastwood, on the philosophical allure of portraying western loners[163]

Eastwood made his only foray into TV direction with the 1985 Amazing Stories episode "Vanessa in the Garden", which starred Harvey Keitel and Locke. This was his first collaboration with Steven Spielberg, who later co-produced Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.[164] He would revisit the Western genre when he directed and starred in Pale Rider (1985), a film based on the classic 1953 western Shane and follows a preacher descending from the mists of the Sierras to side with the miners during the California Gold Rush of 1850.[165] The title is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as the rider of the pale horse is Death, and shows similarities to Eastwood's 1973 western High Plains Drifter in its themes of morality and justice as well as its exploration of the supernatural.[166] Pale Rider became one of Eastwood's most successful films to date. It was hailed as one of the best films of 1985 and the best western to appear for a considerable period, with Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune remarking, "This year (1985) will go down in film history as the moment Clint Eastwood finally earned respect as an artist".[167]

In 1986, Eastwood co-starred with Marsha Mason in the military drama Heartbreak Ridge, about the 1983 United States invasion of Grenada. He portrays an aging United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant and Korean War veteran. Production and filming were marred by internal disagreements between Eastwood and long-time friend and producer Fritz Manes, as well as between Eastwood and the United States Department of Defense who expressed contempt for the film.[168][169] At the time the film was a commercial rather than a critical success, and has only come to be viewed more favorably in recent times.[170] The film grossed $70 million (US$151 million) domestically.[171]

Eastwood starred in The Dead Pool (1988), the fifth and final film in the Dirty Harry series. It co-starred Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, and a young Jim Carrey who plays Johnny Squares, a drug-addled rock star and the first of the victims on a list of celebrities drawn up by horror film director Peter Swan (Neeson) who are deemed most likely to die, the so-called "Dead Pool". The list is stolen by an obsessed fan who, in mimicking his favorite director, makes his way through the list killing off celebrities, of which Dirty Harry is also included. The Dead Pool grossed nearly $38 million (US$75.8 million), relatively low receipts for a Dirty Harry film and it is generally viewed as the weakest film of the series, although Roger Ebert perceived it to be as good as the original.[172][173]

Eastwood began working on smaller, more personal projects and experienced a lull in his career between 1988 and 1992. Always interested in jazz, he directed Bird (1988), a biopic starring Forest Whitaker as jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker. Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean and Spike Lee, son of jazz bassist Bill Lee and a long time critic of Eastwood, criticized the characterization of Charlie Parker remarking that it did not capture his true essence and sense of humor.[174] Eastwood received two Golden Globes for the film, the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his lifelong contribution, and the Best Director award. However, Bird was a commercial failure, earning just $11 million, which Eastwood attributed to the declining interest in jazz among black people.[175] Carrey would appear with Eastwood again in the poorly received comedy Pink Cadillac (1989). The film is about a bounty hunter and a group of white supremacists chasing an innocent woman (Bernadette Peters) who tries to outrun everyone in her husband's prized pink Cadillac. The film failed both critically and commercially,[176] earning barely more than Bird and marking a low point in Eastwood's career.[177]


Eastwood directed and starred in White Hunter Black Heart (1990), an adaptation of Peter Viertel's roman à clef, about John Huston and the making of the classic film The African Queen. Shot on location in Zimbabwe in the summer of 1989,[178] the film received some critical attention but with only a limited release earned just $8.4 million (US$15.2 million in 2015 dollars[30]).[179] Later in 1990, Eastwood directed and co-starred with Charlie Sheen in The Rookie, a buddy cop action film. Critics found the film's plot and characterization unconvincing, but praised its action sequences.[180] An ongoing lawsuit, in response to Eastwood allegedly ramming a woman's car,[181] resulted in no Eastwood films being shown in cinemas in 1991.[182] Eastwood won the suit and agreed to pay the complainant's legal fees if she did not appeal.[182]

"... if possible, he looks even taller, leaner and more mysteriously possessed than he did in Sergio Leone's seminal Fistful of Dollars a quarter of a century ago. The years haven't softened him. They have given him the presence of some fierce force of nature, which may be why the landscapes of the mythic, late 19th-century West become him, never more so than in his new Unforgiven. ... This is his richest, most satisfying performance since the underrated, politically lunatic Heartbreak Ridge. There's no one like him."


In 1992, Eastwood revisited the western genre in the self-directed film Shane, High Noon, and The Searchers, in the American Film Institute's "AFI's 10 Top 10" list.[186][187]

Clint Eastwood at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival

Eastwood played Frank Horrigan in the Secret Service thriller In the Line of Fire (1993), directed by Wolfgang Petersen and co-starring John Malkovich and Rene Russo. Horrigan is a guilt-ridden Secret Service agent haunted by his failure to save John F. Kennedy's life.[188] The film was among the top 10 box office performers in that year, earning $102 million in the United States alone.[189] Later in 1993, he directed and co-starred alongside Kevin Costner in A Perfect World. Set in the 1960s,[190] Eastwood plays a Texas Ranger in pursuit of an escaped convict (Costner) who hits the road with a young boy (T.J. Lowther). Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film marked the highest point of Eastwood's directing career,[191] and the film has since been cited as one of his most underrated directorial achievements.[192][193]

At the May 1994 Cannes Film Festival Eastwood received France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal[194] then on March 27, 1995, he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 67th Academy Awards.[195] His next film appearance was in a cameo role as himself in the 1995 children's film Casper. Later that same year he expanded his repertoire by playing opposite Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County. Based on the novel by Robert James Waller,[196] the film relates the story of Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), a photographer working for National Geographic, who has an affair with a middle-aged Italian farm wife, Francesca (Streep). Despite the novel receiving unfavorable reviews and a subject deemed potentially unsuitable for film, The Bridges of Madison County was a commercial and critical success.[197] Roger Ebert wrote, "Streep and Eastwood weave a spell, and it is based on that particular knowledge of love and self that comes with middle age."[198] The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture and won a César Award in France for Best Foreign Film. Streep was also nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

In 1997, Eastwood directed and starred in the political thriller [199] Later in 1997, Eastwood directed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on the novel by John Berendt and starring John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, and Jude Law. The film met with a mixed critical response.[200]

"The roles that Eastwood has played, and the films that he has directed, cannot be disentangled from the nature of the American culture of the last quarter century, its fantasies and its realities."

—Author Edward Gallafent, commenting on Eastwood's impact on film from the 1970s to 1990s[201]

Eastwood directed and starred in True Crime (1999). He plays Steve Everett, a journalist and recovering alcoholic, who has to cover the execution of murderer Frank Beechum (played by Isaiah Washington). True Crime received a mixed reception, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times writing, "his direction is galvanized by a sense of second chances and tragic misunderstandings, and by contrasting a larger sense of justice with the peculiar minutiae of crime. Perhaps he goes a shade too far in the latter direction, though."[202] The film was a box office failure, earning less than half its $55 million (US$77.9 million in 2015 dollars[30]) budget and was Eastwood's worst-performing film of the 1990s aside from White Hunter Black Heart, which had a limited release.[203]


In 2000, Eastwood directed and starred in Space Cowboys alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner. Eastwood played one of a group of veteran ex-test pilots sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite. The original music score was composed by Eastwood and Lennie Niehaus. Space Cowboys was critically well received and holds a 79 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes,[204] although Roger Ebert wrote that the film was, "too secure within its traditional story structure to make much seem at risk."[205] The film grossed more than $90 million in its United States release, more than Eastwood's two previous films combined.[206] In 2002, Eastwood played an ex-FBI agent chasing a sadistic killer (Jeff Daniels) in the thriller Blood Work, loosely based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Michael Connelly. The film was a commercial failure, grossing just $26.2 million (US$34.4 million in 2015 dollars[30]) on an estimated budget of $50 million (US$65.6 million in 2015 dollars[30]) and received mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes describing it as, "well-made but marred by lethargic pacing".[207] Eastwood did, however, win the Future Film Festival Digital Award at the Venice Film Festival for the film.

"Clint is a true artist in every respect. Despite his years of being at the top of his game and the legendary movies he has made, he always made us feel comfortable and valued on the set, treating us as equals."

Tim Robbins, on working with Eastwood.[7]

Eastwood directed and scored the crime drama Mystic River (2003), a film dealing with themes of murder, vigilantism and sexual abuse and starring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. The film was praised by critics and won two Academy Awards – Best Actor for Penn and Best Supporting Actor for Robbins – with Eastwood garnering nominations for Best Director and Best Picture.[208] The film grossed $90 million (US$115 million in 2015 dollars[30]) domestically on a budget of $30 million (US$38.5 million in 2015 dollars[30]).[209] In 2003 Eastwood was named Best Director of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics.[210]

The following year Eastwood found further critical and commercial success when he directed, produced, scored and starred in the boxing drama [211] At age 74 Eastwood became the oldest of eighteen directors to have directed two or more Best Picture winners.[212][213] He also received a nomination for Best Actor, as well as a Grammy nomination for his score,[214] and won a Golden Globe for Best Director, which was presented to him by daughter Kathryn, who was Miss Golden Globe at the 2005 ceremony.[215] A. O. Scott of The New York Times lauded the film as a "masterpiece" and the best film of the year.[216]

In 2006, Eastwood directed two films about World War II's Battle of Iwo Jima. The first, Flags of Our Fathers, focused on the men who raised the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi and featured the film debut of Eastwood's son Scott. This was followed by Letters from Iwo Jima, which dealt with the tactics of the Japanese soldiers on the island and the letters they wrote home to family members. Letters from Iwo Jima was the first American film to depict a war issue completely from the view of an American enemy.[217] Both films received praise from critics and garnered several nominations at the 79th Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay for Letters from Iwo Jima. At the 64th Golden Globe Awards Eastwood received nominations for Best Director in both films. Letters from Iwo Jima won the award for Best Foreign Language Film.

An older man is at the center of the image smiling and looking off to the right of the image. He is wearing a white jacket, and a tan shirt and tie. The number 61 can be seen behind him on a background wall.
Eastwood in 2008

Eastwood next directed Changeling (2008), based on a true story set in the late 1920s. Angelina Jolie stars as a woman reunited with her missing son only to realize he is an impostor.[218] After its release at several film festivals the film grossed over $110 million (US$120 million in 2015 dollars[30]), the majority of which came from foreign markets.[219] The film was highly acclaimed, with Damon Wise of Empire describing Changeling as "flawless".[220] Todd McCarthy of Variety described it as "emotionally powerful and stylistically sure-handed" and that the film's characters and social commentary were brought into the story with an "almost breathtaking deliberation".[221] For the film Eastwood received nominations for Best Original Score at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, Best Direction at the 62nd British Academy Film Awards and director of the year from the London Film Critics' Circle.

Eastwood ended a four-year "self-imposed acting hiatus"[222] by appearing in Gran Torino, which he also directed, produced and partly scored with his son Kyle and Jamie Cullum. Biographer Marc Eliot called Eastwood's role "an amalgam of the Man with No Name, Dirty Harry, and William Munny, here aged and cynical but willing and able to fight on whenever the need arose".[223] Gran Torino grossed almost $30 million (US$32.9 million in 2015 dollars[30]) during its opening weekend release in January 2009, the highest of his career as an actor or director.[224] Gran Torino eventually grossed over $268 million (US$294 million in 2015 dollars[30]) in theaters worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of Eastwood's career so far (without adjustment for inflation).

Eastwood's 30th directorial outing came with Nelson Mandela, Matt Damon as rugby team captain François Pienaar and Grant L. Roberts as Ruben Kruger.[225] The film met with generally positive reviews; Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars and described it as a "very good film... with moments evoking great emotion",[226] while Variety '​s Todd McCarthy wrote, "Inspirational on the face of it, Clint Eastwood's film has a predictable trajectory, but every scene brims with surprising details that accumulate into a rich fabric of history, cultural impressions and emotion."[227] For the film Eastwood was nominated for Best Director at the 67th Golden Globe Awards.


Eastwood at the press conference for Hereafter

In 2010, Eastwood directed Hereafter, again working with Matt Damon, who portrayed a psychic. The film had its world premiere on September 12, 2010 at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited release later in October.[228][229] Hereafter received mixed reviews from critics, with the consensus at Rotten Tomatoes being, "Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood's typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium."[230] In the same year, Eastwood served as executive producer for a Turner Classic Movies (TCM) documentary about jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, to commemorate Brubeck's 90th birthday.[231]

In 2011, Eastwood directed J. Edgar, a biopic of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.[232] The film received mixed reviews, although DiCaprio's performance as Hoover was widely praised. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus was, "Leonardo DiCaprio gives a predictably powerhouse performance, but J. Edgar stumbles in all other departments".[233] Roger Ebert wrote that the film is "fascinating", "masterful", and praised DiCaprio's performance. David Edelstein of New York Magazine, while also praising DiCaprio, wrote, "It's too bad J. Edgar is so shapeless and turgid and ham-handed, so rich in bad lines and worse readings".[234] In January 2011, it was announced that Eastwood was in talks to direct Beyoncé Knowles in a third remake of the 1937 film A Star Is Born;[235] however, the project was delayed due to Beyoncé's pregnancy. Eastwood then starred in the baseball drama Trouble with the Curve (2012), as a veteran baseball scout who travels with his daughter for a final scouting trip. Robert Lorenz, who worked with Eastwood as an assistant director on several films, directed the film.[236]

"Everybody wonders why I continue working at this stage. I keep working because there's always new stories. ... And as long as people want me to tell them, I'll be there doing them."

—Eastwood, reflecting on his later career[237]

During Super Bowl XLVI, Eastwood narrated a halftime advertisement for Chrysler titled "It’s Halftime in America".[238] The advertisement was criticized by several U.S. Republicans, who claimed it implied that President Barack Obama deserved a second term.[239] In response to the criticism, Eastwood stated, "I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America."[240]

Eastwood next directed Jersey Boys, a musical biography based on the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys. The film told the story of the musical group The Four Seasons, and was released on June 20, 2014.[241]

In August 2013, Eastwood was in talks to direct American Sniper, a film adaptation of Chris Kyle's eponymous memoir, following Steven Spielberg's departure from the project.[242] American Sniper is currently filming.[243]


Beginning with the thriller Play Misty for Me, Eastwood has directed over 30 films, including Westerns, action films, and dramas. He is one of few top Hollywood actors to have also become a critically and commercially successful director. The New Yorker wrote that, unlike Eastwood,[244]

John Ford appeared in just a few silent films; Howard Hawks never acted in movies. Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Steve McQueen, and Sean Connery never directed a feature. John Wayne directed only twice, and badly; ditto Burt Lancaster. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, and Sean Penn have directed a few movies each, with mixed commercial and artistic success.

From the very early days of his career Eastwood was frustrated by directors' insistence that scenes be re-shot multiple times and perfected, and when he began directing in 1970, he made a conscious attempt to avoid any aspects of directing he had been indifferent to as an actor. As a result, Eastwood is renowned for his efficient film directing and ability to reduce filming time and to keep budgets under control. He usually avoids actors' rehearsing and prefers most scenes to be completed on the first take;[245][246] Eastwood's rapid filmmaking practices have been compared to those of Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, and the Coen brothers. When acting in others' films he sometimes takes over directing, such as for The Outlaw Josey Wales, if he believes production is too slow.[244] In preparation for filming Eastwood rarely uses storyboards for developing the layout of a shooting schedule.[247][248][249] He also attempts to reduce script background details on characters to allow the audience to become more involved in the film,[250] considering their imagination a requirement for a film that connects with viewers.[250][251] Eastwood has indicated that he lays out a film's plot to provide the audience with necessary details, but not "so much that it insults their intelligence."[252]

According to Life magazine, "Eastwood's style is to shoot first and act afterward. He etches his characters virtually without words. He has developed the art of underplaying to the point that anyone around him who so much as flinches looks hammily histrionic."[253] Interviewers Richard Thompson and Tim Hunter note that Eastwood's films are "superbly paced: unhurried; cool; and [give] a strong sense of real time, regardless of the speed of the narrative"[254] while Ric Gentry considers Eastwood's pacing to be "unrushed and relaxed".[255] Eastwood is fond of low-key lighting and back-lighting to give his movies a "noir-ish" feel.[246][256]

Eastwood's frequent exploration of ethical values has drawn the attention of scholars, who have explored Eastwood's work from ethical and theological perspectives, including his portrayal of justice, mercy, suicide and the angel of death.[257]

Personal life


He has been described as a "serial womanizer."[7][258] According to biographers Patrick McGilligan and Marc Eliot, Eastwood had affairs with, among other notable women, actresses including Catherine Deneuve,[259][260] Jill Banner,[261] Inger Stevens,[262] Jamie Rose,[263] Jean Seberg,[264] and Jo Ann Harris,[265] as well as competitive swimmer Anita Lhoest[259] and story analyst Megan Rose.[266][267]

Eastwood, aged 23, married Maggie Johnson on December 19, 1953, six months after they met on a blind date.[268] However, the marriage would not prove altogether smooth, with Eastwood commenting that he had married too early.[269] A decade later, during a trial separation from Johnson, an affair Eastwood had with dancer Roxanne Tunis produced his first child, Kimber Eastwood (born Kimber Tunis; June 17, 1964),[270][271] whose existence was kept secret from the public until July 1989, when the National Enquirer revealed her identity.[272] After a reconciliation, he and Johnson had two children together: Kyle Eastwood (born May 19, 1968) and Alison Eastwood (born May 22, 1972), though he was absent from both births.[273] Johnson filed for legal separation in 1978 after another long period of estrangement, but did not officially divorce Eastwood until May 1984,[274][275] receiving a reported cash settlement of $25 million.[276]

Eastwood's relationship with actress Sondra Locke began in the autumn of 1975 while filming The Outlaw Josey Wales. They lived together for nearly 14 years, although Locke remained legally married to her openly gay husband, Gordon Anderson.[277][278] Eastwood befriended Locke's husband and purchased a house on Crescent Heights Boulevard in West Hollywood for Anderson and his male companion.[271] In the late 1970s, Locke underwent two abortions and a tubal ligation,[279] later stating it was a "mutual decision" to have the procedures.[280] Eastwood and Locke went on to star in five more films together: The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, Bronco Billy, Any Which Way You Can, and Sudden Impact. On April 10, 1989, while Locke was away directing the film Impulse, Eastwood had the locks changed on their Bel-Air home and ordered her possessions to be boxed and put in storage.[281] Locke filed a palimony suit against Eastwood, and later sued him a second time for fraud, alleging that a directing pact he set up for her at Warner Bros. in exchange for dropping the first lawsuit was a sham.[282][283] In 1996, minutes before a jury was to render a verdict in Locke's favor, Eastwood agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount.[284] In her autobiography, The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly,[285] Locke described Eastwood as "a monster who thought nothing of destroying anything inconvenient to him."[286]

During the last three years of his cohabitation with Locke, Eastwood secretly fathered two children with flight attendant Jacelyn Reeves:[258] a son Scott Eastwood (born Scott Reeves; March 21, 1986)[287] and daughter Kathryn Eastwood (born Kathryn Reeves; February 2, 1988).[275] According to biographer McGilligan, "he and Reeves had got together at the premiere of Pale Rider, they had slept together on impulse, she had got pregnant, and since she made no great demands on Clint, he later repeated the experience."[288] The birth certificates for both children stated "Father declined."[289] The affair was first reported in the Star tabloid in 1990,[290] [291] but went unmentioned by mainstream news sources for more than a decade.[292]

In 1990, Eastwood moved in with actress Francesca Eastwood (born Francesca Fisher-Eastwood; August 7, 1993).[294] Eastwood and Fisher ended their relationship in early 1995,[295] but remain friends and later worked together in True Crime.

Eastwood with wife Dina in 2007

Eastwood subsequently started dating [297]

In August 2013, Dina Eastwood announced that she and her husband had been living separately for an undisclosed length of time.[298] On October 23, 2013, Eastwood's wife filed for divorce after she withdrew her request of a separation citing [299] By this time, Eastwood, 83, was having a relationship with Erica Tomlinson-Fisher, 41.[300]


Despite smoking in some of his films, Eastwood is a lifelong non-smoker, has been conscious of his health and fitness since he was a teenager, and practices healthy eating and daily Transcendental Meditation.[301][302][303]

He opened an old English-inspired pub called the Hog's Breath Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1971.[304] Eastwood sold the pub and now owns the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant located in Carmel-by-the-Sea.[305][306]

He is a keen golfer and owns the Tehàma Golf Club. He is an investor in the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links and donates his time to charitable causes at major tournaments.[305][307][308] Eastwood is a certified pilot and often flies his helicopter to the studios to avoid traffic.[309][310]

On February 5, 2014, he saved a man's life by preventing him from choking to death at a drinks reception in Carmel-by-the-Sea.[311][312]


Eastwood with Lou Gossett, Jr. and President Ronald Reagan in July 1987.

Eastwood registered as a Republican to vote for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and endorsed Richard Nixon's 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns. However, during the subsequent Watergate scandal, Eastwood criticized Nixon's morality and later his handling of the Vietnam War, calling it "immoral".[313][314]

Eastwood has disapproved of America's wars in Korea (1950–1953), Vietnam (1964–1973), Afghanistan (2001–present), and Iraq (2003–2011), believing the United States should not play the role of global policeman.[315][316][317] He has referred to himself as "too individualistic to be either right-wing or left-wing",[318] describing himself in 1974 as "a political nothing" and "a moderate"[313] and in 1997 as a "libertarian".[319] "I don't see myself as conservative," Eastwood has stated, while noting in the same breath that he isn't "ultra-leftist", either.[320] At times, he has supported Democrats in California, including Senator Dianne Feinstein in 1994,[321][322][323] liberal United States House of Representatives member Sam Farr in 2002,[324] and Governor Gray Davis, whom he voted for in 1998 and 2002 and hosted pricey fundraisers for in 2002 and 2003.[325] A self-professed "liberal on civil rights",[313] Eastwood has stated that he is pro-choice on abortion.[319] He has endorsed same-sex marriage[320][326][327] and contributed to groups supporting the Equal Rights Amendment for women, which failed to receive ratification in 1982.[328]

In 1992, Eastwood acknowledged to writer David Breskin that his political views represented a fusion of Milton Friedman and Noam Chomsky and suggested that they would make for a worthwhile presidential ticket.[329] In 1999, Eastwood stated, "I guess I was a social liberal and fiscal conservative before it became fashionable."[330] Ten years later, in 2009, Eastwood said that he was now a registered Libertarian.[331]

Despite being heavily associated with firearms in his Westerns and cop movies, Eastwood has publicly endorsed gun control since at least 1973. In the April 24, 1973, edition of the Washington Post, the star stated that "I'm for gun legislation myself. I don't hunt."[332] Two years later, in 1975, Eastwood told People magazine that he favors "gun control to some degree".[333] About a year later, Eastwood remarked that "All guns should be registered. I don't think legitimate gun owners would mind that kind of legislation. Right now the furor against a gun law is by gun owners who are overreacting. They're worried that all guns are going to be recalled. It's impossible to take guns out of circulation, and that's why firearms should be registered and mail-order delivery of guns halted."[334] In 1993, he noted that he "... was always a backer" of the Brady Bill, with its federally mandated waiting period.[335] In 1995, Eastwood questioned the purpose of assault weapons. Larry King, the famous television host and newspaper columnist, wrote in the May 22, 1995, edition of USA Today that "My interview with Eastwood will air on 'Larry King Weekend' ... I asked him his thoughts on the NRA and gun control and he said that while people think of him as pro-gun, he has always been in favor of controls. 'Why would anyone need or want an assault weapon?' he said."[336]

Eastwood as a spokesman for Take Pride in America in 2005.

As a politician, Eastwood has made successful forays into both local and state government. In April 1986, he won election as mayor (a nonpartisan position) of his adopted hometown, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California – a small, wealthy village and artists' community on the Monterey Peninsula.[337] During his two-year term, Eastwoood supported small business interests while advocating environmental protection and constructing a library annex, along with public restrooms, beach walkways, and a tourists' parking lot.[338][339] In 2001 Eastwood was appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission by Governor Davis,[340] then reappointed in 2004 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[340] As the vice chairman of the commission, in 2005 along with chairman Bobby Shriver, he led the movement opposed to a six-lane 16-mile (26 km) extension of California State Route 241, a toll road that would cut through San Onofre State Beach. Eastwood and Shriver supported a 2006 lawsuit to block the toll road and urged the California Coastal Commission to reject the project, which it duly did in February 2008.[341] In March 2008 Eastwood and Shriver's non-reappointment to the commission on the expiry of their terms[341] prompted the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to request a legislative investigation into the decision.[342] Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Eastwood to the California Film Commission in April 2004.[343] He was a spokesman for Take Pride in America, an agency of the United States Department of the Interior which advocates taking responsibility for natural, cultural, and historic resources.[344]

During the 2008 United States presidential election, Eastwood stated that he would be voting for John McCain,[345] citing the fact that he had known McCain since he returned to the US in 1973 as a recently released POW. Said Eastwood about the famous war veteran: "I met him years ago when he first came back from Vietnam. This was back when (Ronald) Reagan was the governor of California and he had a big function for all of the prisoners of war who were released. I thought he was a terrific guy, a real American hero." Nevertheless, Eastwood wished Barack Obama well upon his subsequent victory saying, "Obama is my president now and I am going to be wishing him the very best because it is what is best for all of us."[346] Eastwood stated in 2010 of President Obama: "I think he's a nice fella and I enjoyed watching him come along and I enjoyed watching him campaign and win the job. But I'm not a fan of what he's doing at the moment. ... I just don't think he's governing. I don't think he's surrounded himself with the people he could have surrounded himself with."[347]

In August 2010, Eastwood wrote to the British UK Film Council, warning the closure could result in fewer foreign production companies choosing to work in Great Britain.[348]

In January 2011, Eastwood told the UK's Daily Mail that "I loved the fact that Obama is multi-racial. I thought that was terrific, as my wife is the same racial make-up. But I felt he was a greenhorn, and it turned out he didn't have experience in decision-making." As for McCain, Eastwood reflected, "I voted for McCain, not because he was a Republican, but because he had been through war (in Vietnam) and I thought he might understand the war in Iraq better than somebody who hadn't. I didn't agree with him on a lot of stuff."[317] On August 3, 2012, he attended a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, suggesting that Romney would boost the country and "restore a decent tax system ... so that there's a fairness and people are not pitted against one another as [to] who's paying taxes and who isn't."[349] During a speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Eastwood talked to an empty chair as if President Barack Obama were sitting in it.[350][351][352]


Eastwood favors jazz (especially bebop), blues, classic rhythm and blues, classical, and country-and-western music; his favorite musicians include saxophonists Charlie Parker and Lester Young, pianists Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, and Fats Waller, and Delta bluesman Robert Johnson.[353] He is also a pianist and composer.[354] Jazz has played an important role in Eastwood's life from a young age and, although he never made it as a professional musician, he passed on the influence to his son Kyle Eastwood, a successful jazz bassist and composer. Eastwood developed as a boogie-woogie pianist early on and had originally intended to pursue a career in music by studying for a music theory degree after graduating from high school. In late 1959 he produced the album Cowboy Favorites, released on the Cameo label.[354]

Eastwood has his own Warner Bros. Records-distributed imprint Malpaso Records, as part of his deal with Warner Brothers, which has released all of the scores of Eastwood's films from The Bridges of Madison County onward. Eastwood co-wrote "Why Should I Care" with Linda Thompson and Carole Bayer Sager, which was recorded by Diana Krall.[355]

Eastwood composed the film scores of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Grace Is Gone, Changeling, Hereafter, J. Edgar, and the original piano compositions for In the Line of Fire. He wrote and performed the song heard over the credits of Gran Torino.[305] The music in Grace Is Gone received two Golden Globe nominations by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the 65th Golden Globe Awards. Eastwood was nominated for Best Original Score, while the song "Grace is Gone" with music by Eastwood and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager was nominated for Best Original Song.[356] It won the Satellite Award for Best Song at the 12th Satellite Awards. Changeling was nominated for Best Score at the 14th Critics' Choice Awards, Best Original Score at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, and Best Music at the 35th Saturn Awards. On September 22, 2007, Eastwood was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music at the Monterey Jazz Festival, on which he serves as an active board member. Upon receiving the award he gave a speech claiming, "It's one of the great honors I'll cherish in this lifetime."[357]

Awards and honors

Academy Awards
Year Award Film Result
1992 Best Director Unforgiven Won
Best Picture Unforgiven Won
Best Actor Unforgiven Nominated
1994 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award Won
2003 Best Director Mystic River Nominated
Best Picture Mystic River Nominated
2004 Best Director Million Dollar Baby Won
Best Picture Million Dollar Baby Won
Best Actor Million Dollar Baby Nominated
2006 Best Director Letters from Iwo Jima Nominated
Best Picture Letters from Iwo Jima Nominated

Eastwood has been recognized with multiple awards and nominations for his work in film, television, and music. His widest reception has been in film work, for which he has received Academy Awards, Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.

On August 22, 1984, Eastwood was honored at a ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater to record his hand and footprints in cement.[359] Eastwood received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1996, and received an honorary degree from AFI in 2009. On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Eastwood into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.[360] In early 2007, Eastwood was presented with the highest civilian distinction in France, Légion d'honneur, at a ceremony in Paris. French President Jacques Chirac told Eastwood that he embodied "the best of Hollywood".[361] In October 2009, he was honored by the Lumière Award (in honor of the Lumière Brothers, inventors of the Cinematograph) during the first edition of the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, France. This award honors his entire career and his major contribution to the 7th Art. In February 2010, Eastwood was recognized by President Barack Obama with an arts and humanities award. Obama described Eastwood's films as "essays in individuality, hard truths and the essence of what it means to be American."[362]

Eastwood has also been awarded at least three honorary degrees from universities and colleges, including an honorary degree from the University of the Pacific in 2006, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern California on May 27, 2007, and an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 22, 2007.[363][364]

On July 22, 2009, Eastwood was bestowed by Emperor Akihito of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his contributions to the enhancement of Japan–United States relations.[365]

Eastwood won the Golden Pine lifetime achievement award at the 2013 International Samobor Film Music Festival, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Gerald Fried.[366]


Eastwood has contributed to over 50 films over his career as actor, director, producer, and composer. He has acted in several television series, most notably starring in Rawhide. He started directing in 1971, and made his debut as a producer in 1982, with Firefox, though he had been functioning as uncredited producer on all of his Malpaso Company films since Hang 'Em High in 1968. Eastwood also has contributed music to his films, either through performing, writing, or composing. He has mainly starred in western, action, and drama films. According to the box office–revenue tracking website Box Office Mojo, films featuring Eastwood have grossed a total of more than US$1.68 billion domestically, with an average of $37 million per film.[367]

See also


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  359. ^ Eliot, p. 213
  360. ^ Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (December 6, 2006). "Eastwood to share top billing in Hall of Fame".  
  361. ^ "Eastwood receives French honour".  
  362. ^ Simmons, Christine (February 25, 2010). "Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood get White House awards". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. 
  363. ^ Bowen, Rebecca (September 13, 2007). "Berklee awards Clint Eastwood honorary doctorate".  
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  365. ^ "Clint Eastwood receives Japanese decoration in LA". Allvoices.  
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Further reading

External links

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