Clint Eastwood

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Eastwood, Clint

Eastwood, Clint (Clinton Eastwood, Jr.), 1930–, American actor and director, b. San Francisco. Eastwood, who began his acting career in 1955, came to public attention in the TV Western Rawhide and in so-called spaghetti Westerns (usually filmed in Italy), such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). As an actor, Eastwood is best known for portraying strong, silent, often violent heroes in action films. He has starred in more than 40 movies, including Dirty Harry (1972), Magnum Force (1973), The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976), and In the Line of Fire (1993). Films in which he is both director and star include Play Misty for Me (1971), Sudden Impact (1983), the Academy Award–winning Unforgiven (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), True Crime (1999), Blood Work (2002), Gran Torino (2008), and The Mule (2018) in which he plays a 90ish courier for a Mexican drug cartel. Eastwood scored a critical and box-office success as director of Mystic River (2003), a haunting cinematic parable of violence and revenge.

The following year he directed and starred in Million Dollar Baby, the saga of a young female boxer and her grizzled trainer, which garnered Academy Awards for best director and picture. He also directed Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima (both: 2006), which explore the battle for Iwo Jima and its echoes from the American and Japanese perspectives, respectively. He subsequently directed the somber drama Changeling (2008), explored the possibility of life after death and of communication with the dead in Hereafter (2010), examined the public and private J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar (2011), recounted effects of the war in Iraq on a Navy SEAL and his family in American Sniper (2014), portrayed an airline pilot who landed his stricken plane in the Hudson River in Sully (2016), and depicted a security guard who saved lives before a pipe bomb exploded in Atlanta then was falsely accused of the bombing in Richard Jewell (2019). A gifted musician who has written scores for a number of his films, he also served as mayor of Carmel, Calif., from 1986 to 1988.


See Clint Eastwood: Interviews (1999), ed. by K. Coblentz; biographies by J. Ryder (1987), B. McCabe (1996), and R. Schickel (1996); studies by L. Pfeiffer and B. Zmijewsky (rev. ed. 1988) and P. Smith (1993).

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Eastwood, Clint

(1930–  ) movie actor, director; born in San Francisco. He began as a bit-player in low-budget movies, then gained a minor following for the television Western series, Rawhide. Appearing in three Italian-made "spaghetti Westerns" (1964–66), he found himself becoming an international star as a laconic if deadly gunslinger, "the man with no name." Returning to Hollywood, he made his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me (1971), but carved out another superstar role for himself in several "Dirty Harry" Callahan movies. Incredibly popular throughout the world and able to command among the highest fees for his appearances, he expanded his range of roles in later years to adventure movies, comedies, and dramas but his greatest came with another Western, Unforgiven (1992), for which he won Academy Awards for best director and best picture. As tightlipped and unorthodox in real life as in his movies, he surprised everyone by becoming mayor of Carmel, Calif. (1987–89).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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