By Lucie M. Winborne,
Clinton Eastwood Jr., son of Clinton Sr. and his wife Ruth, and brother to Jeanne, was born on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco. Eastwood toiled at a series of odd jobs ranging from logger to steel furnace stoker in and after high school until he was drafted into the Army in 1951. He moved to L.A. upon his discharge in 1953 and entered Los Angeles City College as a business major, but soon dropped out to pursue acting. A screen test and contract with Universal led to bit parts in B movies such as 1955’s Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula while he dug swimming pools to make ends meet, but Eastwood’s first real break came in ’59 with the TV series Rawhide, in which he played Rowdy Yates for eight seasons.
After starring as the “Man With No Name” in the Sergio Leone trilogy A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the last of which made him an international star, Eastwood formed his own production company and played more laconic cowboys in films such as Hang ’Em High, seasoning his tough-guy persona with a pinch of offbeat humor in Two Mules for Sister Sara and Kelly’s Heroes. In 1971, he made his directorial debut in Play Misty for Me and also introduced the world to San Francisco cop “Dirty Harry” Callahan, an iconic character he would reprise in four more films.
Through the decades, Eastwood’s remarkably varied career has included duds (Pink Cadillac), surprises (The Bridges of Madison County), awards (four Oscars and multiple Golden Globes), occasional forays into politics, pub and golf club ownership, a lifelong love of music and a devotion to transcendental meditation. The experienced helicopter pilot — who’s been said to fly to the studio to avoid traffic — once remarked, “Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.” But since he announced earlier this year his plans to direct The 15:17 to Paris, a film adapted from the book about three Americans who foiled a terrorist attack on a French train in August 2015, it’s unlikely he’ll be “laying back” anytime soon. After all, he’s Clint Eastwood!
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