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Eastwood, Clint

EASTWOOD, Clint



Nationality: American. Born: Clinton Eastwood Jr. in San Francisco, California, 31 May 1930 (some sources give 30 or 31 May 1931). Education: Attended Oakland Technical High School; studied business administration, Los Angeles City College, 1953–54. Military Service: 1950—U.S. Army; served as swimming instructor at Fort Ord, California. Family: Married 1) Maggie Johnson, 1953 (divorced in mid-1980s), children: Kyle Clinton and Alison; 2) Dina Ruiz, 1996; daughter with Roxanne Tunis: Kimber; daughter with actress Frances Fisher: Francesca Ruth. Career: 1954–55—contract with Universal; 1955—screen debut in Francis in the Navy; late 1950s—worked sporadically in films, and as lifeguard and for swimming pool contractor; 1959–66—second lead as Rowdy Yates in TV series Rawhide (took over lead as trail boss, autumn 1965); 1964—A Fistful of Dollars for Sergio Leone, first of series of three, was big hit in Europe and, in 1967, in U.S.; 1967—first starring role in U.S. film, Hang 'em High; formed Malpaso production company; 1971—directed first film, Play Misty for Me; 1982—first effort at producing,


on Firefox; 1986–88—mayor of Carmel, California. Awards: Chevalier des Lettres, France, 1985; Academy Awards for Best Direction and Best Picture, for The Unforgiven, 1992; Fellowship of the British Film Institute, 1993; Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, 1995; American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, 1996; Honorary Cesar Award, 1998. Address: c/o Malpaso Productions, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91522, U.S.A.


Films as Actor:

1955

Francis in the Navy (Lubin) (as Jonesy); Revenge of the Creature (Arnold) (as technician); Lady Godiva (Lubin) (as Saxon); Tarantula (Arnold) (as Air Force pilot)

1956

Never Say Goodbye (Jerry Hopper) (as lab assistant); The First Traveling Saleslady (Lubin) (as Jack Rice); Star in the Dust (Haas) (bit role)

1957

Escapade in Japan (Lubin) (as Dumbo); Ambush at Cimarron Pass (Copeland) (as Keith Williams); Lafayette Escadrille (Hell Bent for Glory) (Wellman) (as George Moseley)

1964

A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari) (Leone) (as The Stranger)

1965

For a Few Dollars More (Per qualche dollari in piu) (Leone) (as The Stranger); "Civic Sense" ep. of Le streghe (The Witches) (Visconti, Pasolini, Bolognini, Rossi, and de Sica) (as husband)

1966

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) (Leone) (as Joe)

1967

Hang 'em High (Post) (as Jed Cooper)

1968

Coogan's Bluff (Siegel) (as Walt Coogan)

1969

Paint Your Wagon (Logan) (as Pardner)

1970

Kelly's Heroes (Hutton) (as Kelly); Two Mules for Sister Sara (Siegel) (as Hogan)

1971

The Beguiled (Siegel) (as John McBurney); Dirty Harry (Siegel) (as Harry Callahan)

1972

Joe Kidd (John Sturges) (title role)

1973

Magnum Force (Post) (as Harry Callahan)

1974

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Cimino) (as John "Thunderbolt" Doherty)

1976

The Enforcer (Fargo) (as Harry Callahan)

1977

Every Which Way but Loose (Fargo) (as Philo Beddoe)

1978

Escape from Alcatraz (Siegel) (as Frank Morris)

1980

Any Which Way You Can (Van Horn) (as Philo Beddoe)

1984

Tightrope (Tuggle) (as Wes Block, + co-pr); City Heat (Benjamin)

1988

The Dead Pool (Van Horn) (as Harry Callahan)

1989

Pink Cadillac (Van Horn) (as Tommy Mowak)

1993

In the Line of Fire (Petersen) (as Frank Horrigan)

1994

Don't Pave Main Street: Carmel's Heritage (Cartwright and Ludwig—doc) (as narrator)

1995

Casper (Silberling) (uncredited cameo)

1996

Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (Robinson) (as himself)

1998

A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (uncredited; as John "Thunderbolt" Daugherty)



Films as Director:

1971

Play Misty for Me (+ ro as Dave Garland)

1973

High Plains Drifter (+ ro as the stranger); Breezy

1975

The Eiger Sanction (+ ro as Jonathan Hemlock)

1976

The Outlaw Josey Wales (+ title role)

1977

The Gauntlet (+ ro as Ben Shockley)

1980

Bronco Billy (+ ro as Bronco Billy McCoy)

1982

Honkytonk Man (+ pr, ro as Red); Firefox (+ pr, ro as Mitchell Gant)

1983

Sudden Impact (+ pr, ro as Harry Callahan)

1985

Pale Rider (+ pr, ro as Preacher)

1986

Heartbreak Ridge (+ pr, ro as Tom Highway)

1988

Bird (+ pr)

1990

White Hunter, Black Heart (+ pr, ro as John Wilson); The Rookie (+ ro as Nick Pulovski)

1992

Unforgiven (+ pr, ro as William Munny)

1993

A Perfect World (+ pr, ro as Red Garnett)

1995

The Bridges of Madison County (+ pr, ro as Robert Kincaid)

1997

Absolute Power (pr, + ro as Luther Whitney); Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (+ pr)

1999

True Crime (+ro as Steve Everett)

2000

Space Cowboys (+ ro as Dr. Frank Corvin)



Other Films:

1989

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser (Zwerin—doc) (exec pr)

1995

The Stars Fell on Henrietta (Keach) (pr)



Publications


By EASTWOOD: articles—

Interview with Arthur Knight, in Playboy (Chicago), February 1974.

"Clint Eastwood, Auteur," by R. Thompson and T. Hunter, in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1978.

"Conversation with Clint Eastwood," by Larry Cole, in Oui (Chicago), June 1978.

Interview with R. Gentry, in Millimeter (New York), December 1980.

Interview with David Thomson, in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1984.

Interview with C. Tesson and O. Assayas, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1985.

Rayns, Tony, "Clint at Claridges," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1985.

Interview with Michel Ciment and Hubert Niogret, in Positif (Paris), July/August 1988.

"Flight of Fancy," interview with Nat Hentoff, in American Film (Los Angeles), September 1988.

Interview with Allan Hunter, in Films and Filming (London), November/December 1988.

Interview with R. Gentry, in Film Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 3, 1989.

Interview with Michel Ciment, in Positif (Paris), no. 351, 1990.

"The Man Who Would Be Huston," interview with Graham Fuller, in Interview (New York), October 1990.

"The Padron" (Don Siegel), in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1991.

Interview with M. Henry, in Positif (Paris), no. 380, 1992.

Interview with David Breskin, in Rolling Stone (New York), 17 September 1992.

Interview in Reel West, October/November 1992.

Interview with David Wild, in Rolling Stone (New York), 24 August 1995.

Interview with Ric Gentry, in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), February 1997.

Interview with M. Henry, in Positif (Paris), no. 445, 1998.

Interview with M. Henry, in Positif (Paris), no. 459, 1999.


On EASTWOOD: books—

Douglas, Peter, Clint Eastwood: Movin' On, Chicago, 1974.

Kaminsky, Stuart, American Film Genres, New York, 1974.

Kaminsky, Stuart, Clint Eastwood, New York, 1974.

Agan, Patrick, Clint Eastwood: The Man Behind the Myth, New York, 1975.

Staig, Lawrence, and Tony Williams, Italian Westerns: The Opera of Violence, London, 1975.

Downing, David, with Gary Herman, Clint Eastwood, All-American Anti-Hero: A Critical Appraisal of the World's Top Box Office Star and His Films, London, 1977.

Ferrari, Philippe, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1980.

Johnstone, Iain, The Man with No Name: Clint Eastwood, London, 1981; rev. ed., 1988.

Zmijewsky, Boris, and Lee Pfeiffer, The Films of Clint Eastwood, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1982; rev. ed., 1988.

Cole, Gerald, and Peter Williams, Clint Eastwood, London, 1983.

Guerif, François, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1983; New York, 1986.

Ryder, Jeffrey, Clint Eastwood, New York, 1987.

Lagarde, Hélène, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1988.

Weinberger, Michèle, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1989.

Plaza, Fuensanta, Clint Eastwood/Malpaso, Carmel Valley, California, 1991.

Frayling, Christopher, Clint Eastwood, London, 1992.

Munn, Michael, Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner, London, 1992.

Thompson, Douglas, Clint Eastwood: Riding High, Chicago, 1992.

Smith, Paul, Clint Eastwood: A Cultural Production, Minneapolis, 1993.

Zmijewsky, Boris, and Lee Pfeiffer, The Films of Clint Eastwood, New York, 1993.

Bingham, Dennis, Acting Male: Masculinities in the Films of James Stewart, Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1994.

Clinch, Minty, Clint Eastwood, London, 1994.

Gallafent, Edward, Clint Eastwood: Filmmaker and Star, New York, 1994.

Ortoli, Philippe, Clint Eastwood: la figure du guerrier, Paris, 1994.

Schickel, Richard, Clint Eastwood: A Biography, New York, 1997.

Clint Eastwood: Interviews, edited by Robert E. Kapsis, Jackson, 1999.


On EASTWOOD: articles—

Bodeen, DeWitt, "Clint Eastwood," in Focus on Film (London), Spring 1972.

Kael, Pauline, "Current Cinema," in New Yorker, 14 January 1974.

Shadoian, J., "Dirty Harry: A Defense," in Western Humanities Review (Salt Lake City), Spring 1974.

Vallely, J., "Pumping Gold with Clint Eastwood, Hollywood's Richest Actor," in Esquire (New York), 14 March 1978.

Alpert, Robert, "Clint Eastwood Plays Dumb Cop," in Jump Cut (Chicago), May 1979.

Kehr, Dave, "Clint Eastwood," in The Movie Star, edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.

Patterson, E., "Every Which Way but Lucid: The Critique of Authority in Clint Eastwood's Police Films," in Journal of Popular Film (Washington, D.C.), Fall 1982.

Mailer, Norman, "All the Pirates and People," in Parade Magazine, 23 October 1983.

Clint Eastwood section of Positif (Paris), January 1985.

Kehr, Dave, "A Fistful of Eastwood," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), March 1985.

Holmlund, C., "Sexuality and Power in Male Doppelganger Cinema: The Case of Clint Eastwood and Tightrope," in Cinema Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, 1986.

Chevrie, M., and D. J. Wiener, "Le Dernier des cow-boys," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), March 1987.

Current Biography 1989, New York, 1989.

Bingham, D., "Men with No Names: Clint Eastwood, the Stranger Persona, Identification and the Impenetrable Gaze," in Journal of Film and Video, vol. 42, no. 4, 1990.

Sheehan, Henry, "Scraps of Hope: Clint Eastwood and the Western," in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1992.

Combs, Richard, "Shadowing the Hero," in Sight and Sound (London), October 1992.

Tibbetts, J. C., "Clint Eastwood and the Machinery of Violence," in Literature Film Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 1, 1993.

Biskind, Peter, "Any Which Way He Can," in Premiere (New York), April 1993; see also August 1992.

Grenier, Richard, "Clint Eastwood Goes PC," in Commentary, March 1994.

Burdeau, Emmanuel, "Physique des auteurs," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), July/August 1996.

Plantinga, Carl, "Spectacles of Death: Clint Eastwood and Violence in Unforgiven," in Cinema Journal (US), Winter 1998.


* * *

It would be difficult to sustain a case for Clint Eastwood as a great actor. Competent, certainly, even polished within a limited range, but hardly a Marlon Brando or even a James Stewart. If comparisons have to be made, the obvious one is with John Wayne, another movie figure whose emblematic significance far outweighed his conventional thespian talents. Both, of course, owed their initial breakthrough to the Western, and both built cleverly on the generic image with which they were furnished.

Eastwood (then taking small parts in Hollywood) first came to public attention in the late 1950s, playing Rowdy Yates in the television Western series Rawhide. Lean, weather-beaten, and a man of few words but much integrity, he epitomized one strand in the classic image of the Westerner. It was this tradition which was to be extended almost into parody in the three massively successful Westerns that Eastwood made with director Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. In all three films he had little to say, and what little there was only just escaped in the wake of the cheroot that he continually rolled from one side of his mouth to the other. The Man with No Name (as the character came to be known) was founded on that mannerism, on Eastwood's distinctive physical appearance, and on his role as the poncho-clad gunfighter who rides into town bringing vengeance and death. Like Leone's films themselves, the Man with No Name was a distillation of a Western myth, and it turned Eastwood into top box-office.

It was a happy conjunction of man and image, and, recognizing that his talents lay here, Eastwood set about constructing a career that made the most of them. Simple variations upon the Man with No Name have served well in the likes of Hang 'em High, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Joe Kidd, High Plains Drifter, and Pale Rider. A modern urban counterpart turned up in Coogan's Bluff in the guise of a policeman from out West blundering none too appealingly through New York, and emerged fully fledged in another film made for Don Siegel, the controversial and highly successful Dirty Harry. Its central character, Harry Callahan, an obsessive, ruthless, and violent cop, became even more ruthlessly violent in its immediate sequels, Magnum Force and The Enforcer, rapidly joining the Man with No Name as a permanent fixture in the modern cinema's chamber of action heroes.

It is on these two interrelated personae that Eastwood's acting style has been built. Only rarely has he had the opportunity to stretch himself beyond these limits (in, for example, The Beguiled, Play Misty for Me, Tightrope, The Bridges of Madison County, and True Crime) and when he does so he generally produces performances even more understated than those he gives when fully in persona. To put it glibly, he does not so much rise to such parts as allow himself to lapse into them. As an actor, then, Eastwood is a product of his image. His success is based on recognizing that fact and ensuring that every performance uses it in some way. Thus, much of the apparent power of his performance in In the Line of Fire is a consequence of the skillfully wrought contrast (mostly achieved in the editing since they do not play scenes together directly) between Malkovich's actorly intensity and Eastwood's laid-back evocation of that familiar screen persona.

That said, it is important to note that the sheer strength of the Eastwood image can be used to create distance as well as to encapsulate characters. Although most of his roles have been fairly straightforward expressions of his established screen personae, on a few occasions he has sought to open up some space between character and myth. Sometimes that edges close to pastiche, as it does in the cause of heightened effects in the two likably overwrought Westerns, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider. Sometimes it is more openly humorous, as in the wilder excesses of The Gauntlet, the good natured self-mockery of Bronco Billy, or the rather knowing evocation of the Harry Callahan cycle in The Dead Pool. Just occasionally Eastwood has found some balance between evoking the image and using it as a kind of comment upon itself. One such film is The Outlaw Josey Wales where he plays Josey Wales without the usual superhuman overtones, thus trading on the tension between persona-based expectations and the character's actual behavior. Another case is Heartbreak Ridge, where the assertive masculinity of the Eastwood persona (here in a military version) is to some degree rendered insecure. And yet another instance is Unforgiven which works by allowing the classic persona to emerge slowly in the course of the film. William Munny, former gunman turned responsible single parent, is to be found at the film's opening covered in mud and struggling with his hogs. By its culminating sequence he has recovered his classic guise as Western avenging angel, in the process turning the movie into a formidable expression of the genre's romantic individualism.

These films, of course, are as much the products of Eastwood the director as Eastwood the actor, which may explain both their ambition and the fact that they do not quite pull it off. As a director Eastwood clearly learned well from both Leone and Siegel, the two filmmakers most responsible for his on-screen persona. It is a pity, therefore, that however well he has learned (and he is a good director), the Eastwood image that they conjointly created is now probably too strong to be overcome.

—Andrew Tudor

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Eastwood, Clint

EASTWOOD, Clint


Nationality: American. Born: 31 May 1930 in San Francisco, California. Education: Oakland Technical High School; Los Angeles City College, 1953–54. Military Service: Drafted into the U.S. Army, 1950. Family: Married Maggie Johnson, 1953 (divorced, 1980); one son, one daughter. Career: Under contract with Universal, 1954–55; sporadic work in film, late 1950s; played Rowdy Yates in TV series Rawhide, 1959–65; went to Europe to make three highly successful westerns with Sergio Leone, 1965; returned to U.S., 1967; formed Malpaso production company and directed first film, Play Misty for Me, 1971; first effort as producer, Firefox, 1982; Mayor of Carmel, California, 1986–88. Awards: Chevaliers des Lettres, France, 1985; Academy Awards, Best Director and Best Picture, for Unforgiven, 1992; Fellowship of the British Film Institute, 1993; American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, 1996; Honorary Cesar Award, 1998. Address: Malpaso Productions, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California 91522, USA.


Films as Director:

1971

Play Misty for Me (+ role)

1972

High Plains Drifter (+ role)

1973

Breezy

1975

The Eiger Sanction (+ role)

1976

The Outlaw Josey Wales (+ role)

1977

The Gauntlet (+ role)

1980

Bronco Billy (+ role, song composer)

1982

Firefox (+ role, pr); Honkytonk Man (+ role, pr)

1983

Sudden Impact (+ role, pr)

1985

Pale Rider (+ role, pr)

1986

Heartbreak Ridge (+ role, pr, song composer)

1987

Bird (+ pr)

1990

The Rookie (+ role); White Hunter, Black Heart (+ role, pr)

1992

Unforgiven (+ role, pr, music)

1993

A Perfect World (+ role, pr)

1995

The Bridges of Madison County (+ role, pr)

1997

Absolute Power (+ role, pr); Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (+pr)

1999

True Crime (+ role, pr)

2000

Space Cowboys (+ role, pr)



Other Films:

1955

Francis in the Navy (role); Lady Godiva (role); Revenge of the Creature (role); Tarantula (role)

1956

The First Travelling Saleslady (role); Never Say Goodbye (role); Star in the Dust (role)

1957

Escapade in Japan (role)

1958

Ambush at Cimarron Pass (role); Lefayette Escradille (role)

1964

A Fistful of Dollars (role)

1965

For a Few Dollars More (role)

1966

Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Leone) (role); Le Streghe (role)

1967

Hang 'em High (role)

1968

Coogan's Bluff (role)

1969

Paint Your Wagon (role); Where Eagles Dare (role)

1970

Kelly's Heroes (role); Two Mules for Sister Sara (role)

1971

The Beguiled (role); Dirty Harry (role)

1972

Joe Kidd (role)

1973

Magnum Force (role)

1974

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (role)

1976

The Enforcer (role)

1978

Every Which Way but Loose (role)

1979

Escape from Alcatraz (role)

1980

Any Which Way You Can (role, song composer)

1984

City Heat (role); Tightrope (role, pr)

1988

The Dead Pool (role, pr); Thelonius Monk: Straight No Chaser (exec pr)

1989

The Pink Cadillac (role)

1993

In the Line of Fire (role)

1996

Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (doc) (role)



Publications


By EASTWOOD: book—


Clint Eastwood: Interviews, edited by Kathie Coblentz, Jackson, 1999.


By EASTWOOD: articles—

Interview with David Thomson in Film Comment, September/October 1984.

Interview with C. Tesson and O. Assayas in Cahiers du Cinéma, February 1985.

Interview with Michel Ciment and Hubert Niograt in Positif, July/August 1988.

Interview with Nat Hentoff in American Film, September 1988.

Interview with Allan Hunter in Films and Filming, November/December 1988.

Interview with R. Gentry in Film Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 3, 1989.

Interview with Michel Ciment in Positif, no. 351, 1990.

Interview with M. Henry in Positif, no. 380, 1992.

Interview with David Breskin, in Rolling Stone (New York), 17 September 1992.

Interview in Reel West, October/November 1992.

Interview with David Wild, in Rolling Stone (New York), 24 August 1995.

Interview with Ric Gentry, in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), February 1997.

Interview with M. Henry, in Positif (Paris), no. 445, 1998.

Interview with M. Henry, in Positif (Paris), no. 459, 1999.


On EASTWOOD: books—

Kaminsky, Stuart, Clint Eastwood, New York, 1974.

Agan, Patrick, Clint Eastwood: The Man behind the Myth, New York, 1975.

Downing, David, and Gary Herman, Clint Eastwood, All-AmericanAnti-Hero: A Critical Appraisal of the World's Top Box OfficeStar and His Films, London, 1977.

Ferrari, Philippe, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1980.

Johnstone, Iain, The Man with No Name: Clint Eastwood, London, 1981; revised edition 1988.

Zmijewsky, Boris, and Lee Pfeiffer, The Films of Clint Eastwood, Secaucas, NJ, 1982; revised editions, 1988 and 1993.

Cole, Gerald, and Peter Williams, Clint Eastwood, London, 1983.

Guerif, Francois, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1983.

Rider, Jeffrey, Clint Eastwood, New York, 1987.

Lagarde, Helene, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1988.

Weinberger, Michele, Clint Eastwood, Paris, 1989.

Frayling, Christopher, Clint Eastwood, London, 1992.

Thompson, Douglas, Clint Eastwood: Riding High, Chicago, 1992.

Smith, Paul, Clint Eastwood: A Cultural Production, Minneapolis, 1993.

Bingham, Dennis, Acting Male: Masculinities in the Films of JamesStewart, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood, New Brunswick, NJ, 1994.

Gallafent, Edward, Clint Eastwood: Filmmaker and Star, New York, 1994.

Ortoli, Philippe, Clint Eastwood: la figure du guerrier, Paris, 1994.

Schickel, Richard, Clint Eastwood: A Biography, New York, 1997.


On EASTWOOD: articles—

Patterson, E., "Every Which Way but Lucid: The Critique of Authority in Clint Eastwood's Police Films," in Journal of Popular Film, Fall 1982.

"Clint Eastwood section" of Positif, January 1985.

Kehr, Dave, "A Fistful of Eastwood," in American Film, March 1985.

Chevrie, M., and D. J. Wiener, "Le dernier des cow-boys," in Cahiers du Cinéma, March 1987.

Holmlund, C., "Sexuality and Power in Male Doppelganger Cinema: The Case of Clint Eastwood and Tightrope," in Cinema Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, 1986.

Bingham, D., "Men with No Names: Clint Eastwood, the Stranger Persona, Identification, and the Impenetrable Gaze," in Journal ofFilm and Video, vol. 42, no. 4, 1990.

Combs, Richard, "Shadowing the Hero," in Sight and Sound, October 1992.

Tibbetts, J. C., "Clint Eastwood and the Machinery of Violence," in Literature-Film Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 1, 1993.

Biskind, Peter, "Any Which Way He Can," in Premiere (New York), April 1993.

Grenier, Richard, "Clint Eastwood Goes PC," in Commentary, March 1994.

Beard, William, "Unforgiven and the Uncertainties of the Heroic," in Canadian Journal of Film Studies (Ottawa), vol. 3, no. 2, Autumn 1994.

Welsh, James M., "Fixing the Bridges of Madison County," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury), July 1995.

Schickel, Richard, Cathleen Murphy, and Richard Combs, "Clint on the Back Nine/The Good, the Bad & the Ugly/Old Ghosts," in Film Comment (New York), May-June 1996.

Burdeau, Emmanuel, "Physique des auteurs," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), July-August 1996.

Greene, R., "Power and the Glory," in Boxoffice (Chicago), January 1997.

Metz, Walter, "'Another Being We Have Created Called "Us"': Point of View, Melancholia, and the Joking Unconscious in TheBridges of Madison County," in Velvet Light Trap (Austin, Texas), Spring 1997.

Axelrad, Catherine, and Michel Cieutat, "Clint Eastwood," in Positif (Paris), June 1997.

McReynolds, Douglas J., "Alive and Well: Western Myth in Western Movies," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury), January 1998.

Plantinga, Carl, "Spectacles of Death: Clint Eastwood and Violence in Unforgiven," in Cinema Journal (Austin, Texas), Winter 1998.


* * *

In 1992, after almost forty years in the business, Clint Eastwood finally received Oscar recognition. Unforgiven brought him the awards for Best Achievement in Directing and for Best Picture, along with a nomination for Best Actor. Indeed, this strikingly powerful Western was nominated for no less than nine Academy Awards, Gene Hackman collecting Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the movie's ruthless marshall, "Little Bill" Daggett, and Joel Cox taking the Oscar for editing. It seems appropriate, therefore, that this film, which brought him such recognition, should end with the inscription "Dedicated to Sergio and Don." For without the intervention and influence of his two "mentors," directors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, it is difficult to imagine Eastwood achieving his present respectability, let alone emerging as the only major star of the modern era who has become a better director than he ever was an actor.

That is not to belittle Eastwood, who has always been generous in crediting Leone and Siegel, and who is certainly far more than a passive inheritor of their directorial visions. Even in his Rawhide days of the 1950s and early 1960s he wanted to direct; more than once Eastwood has told of his attempts to persuade that series' producers to let him shoot some of the action rather more ambitiously than was the TV norm. Not surprisingly, they were reluctant, but they did in the end allow him to make trailers for upcoming episodes. He was not to take on a full-fledged directorial challenge until 1971 and Play Misty for Me, but in the intervening years he had become a massive boxoffice attraction as an actor, first with Leone in Europe in the three famous and founding "spaghetti westerns," and then in a series of films with Siegel back in the United States, most significantly Dirty Harry. It is not easy to untangle the respective influences of his mentors. In general terms, because they both contributed to the formation of Eastwood's distinctive screen persona, they helped him to crystallize an image which, as a director, he would so often use as a foil. The Italian Westerns' "man with no name," and his more anguished urban equivalent given expression in Dirty Harry's eponymous anti-hero, have provided Eastwood with well-established and economical starting characters for so many of his performances. In directing himself, furthermore, he has used that persona with a degree of irony and distance. Sometimes, especially in his Westerns, that has meant leaning toward stylization and almost operatic exaggeration (High Plains Drifter, Pale Rider, the last section of Unforgiven), though rarely reaching Leone's extremes of delirious overstatement. On other occasions, it has seen him play on the tension between the seemingly assertive masculinity of the Eastwood image and the strong female characters who are so often featured in his films (Play Misty for Me, The Gauntlet, Heartbreak Ridge and, in part at least, The Bridges of Madison County). It is, of course, notoriously difficult to both direct and star in a movie. Where Eastwood has succeeded in that combination (not always the case) it has depended significantly on his inventive building on the Eastwood persona.

It is important to give Eastwood full credit for this inventiveness in any attempt to assess his work. His best films as a director have a richness to them, not just stylistically—though in those respects he has learned well from Leone's concern with lighting and composition and from Siegel's way with in-frame movement, editing, and tight narration—but also a moral complexity which belies the onedimensionality of the Eastwood image. The protagonists in his better films, like Josey Wales in The Outlaw Josey Wales, Highway in Heartbreak Ridge, Munny in Unforgiven, even Charlie Parker in the flawed Bird, are not simple men in either their virtues or their failings. Eastwood's fondness for narratives of revenge and redemption, furthermore, allows him to draw upon a rich generic vein in American cinema, a tradition with a built-in potential for character development and for evoking human complexity without giving way to art-film portentousness.

In these respects Eastwood is the modern inheritor of traditional Hollywood directorial values, once epitomised in the transparent style of a John Ford, Howard Hawks, or John Huston (himself the subject of Eastwood's White Hunter, Black Heart), and passed on to Eastwood by that next-generation carrier of the tradition, Don Siegel. For these filmmakers, as for Eastwood, the action movie, the Western, the thriller were opportunities to explore character, motivation, and human frailty within a framework of accessible entertainment. Of course, all of them were also capable of "quieter" films, harnessing the same commitment to craft, the same attention to detail, in the service of less action-driven narratives, just as Eastwood did with The Bridges of Madison County. And all of them, too, could make films which were less than convincing, though rarely without some quality, as Eastwood has done more recently with the overwrought Absolute Power and the rather unfocused Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. But in the end their and Eastwood's real art was to draw upon Hollywood's genre traditions and make of them unique and perceptive studies of human beings under stress. Though his directorial career has been uneven, at his best Eastwood has proved a more than worthy carrier of this flame.

—Andrew Tudor

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood (born 1930) ranks among the world's best known and most successful movie stars. Most of his films have done well at the box office and he has established himself as a director of note.

A 1971 Life magazine cover carried his picture with the tag line "the world's favorite movie star is—no kidding—Clint Eastwood." After that he continued to win box-office and financial success—as well as increasing critical acclaim—well into the 1990s. Born Clinton Eastwood, Jr., on May 30, 1930, in San Francisco, California, he had a tough childhood because of the Great Depression, as his parents moved frequently in search of work, finally settling in Oakland. There he went to high school, graduating in 1948. Striking out on his own, he held various menial jobs before being drafted into the army. Discharged in 1953, he enrolled in Los Angeles City College as a business administration major, supporting himself with various odd jobs which included digging swimming pool foundations.

Bit Parts in "B" Movies

Army friends in the film business urged Eastwood to try his luck. He did, was screen-tested by Universal, and on the basis of his good looks was hired as a contract player in 1955. His salary was $75 a week, and his assignments included minuscule roles in forgettable movies, including Tarantula and Francis in the Navy). After Universal dropped him in 1956, the roles briefly got bigger but not better: Eastwood has described the 1958 Ambush at Cimarron Pass, in which he had a substantial part, as "maybe the worst film ever made."

Notwithstanding an occasional unimpressive role in television series such as "Highway Patrol," by 1958 Eastwood found himself again digging swimming pools for a living. As the result of a chance meeting, he was chosen to play Rowdy Yates, the second lead in the CBS television series "Rawhide." Characterized as "an endless cattle drive," the series lasted seven years (1959-1966), owing much of its success to Eastwood's popular "punk ramrod."

Gains Stardom with "Spaghetti Westerns"

During a hiatus from "Rawhide" in 1964, Eastwood filmed A Fistful of Dollars in Spain for Italian director Sergio Leone. Eastwood portrayed a hired gun, a nameless man, who successfully manipulates—and then ruthlessly kills— rival gangs of bandits. The film catapulted Eastwood from a dead-end television career to stardom in the movies. Over the next two years, Eastwood returned to Europe to film two equally popular sequels, both also featuring the "Man with No Name": For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966).

These films defined the Eastwood screen persona which, as New York Times reporter John Vinocur pointed out, was "a western hero without the westerner's traditional heroic characteristics." Eastwood's character was callous, violent, cynical, tough. Facets of that character were present in his best westerns, such as The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and Unforgiven (1992), both stark bloody films about an outsider.

The same toughness also characterized many of East-wood's non-western roles. His appeal lay (to use Eastwood's words) in his ability "to hack his way through" because such a person "is almost … a mythical character in our day and age" as everything "becomes more complicated." That capacity underlay what has been described as one of Eastwood's "enduring screen figures"—Harry Callahan, a contemporary San Francisco detective who roams the city defying a legalistic bureaucracy and practicing a vigorous populist brand of justice. Callahan was introduced in Dirty Harry (1971), which critic Pauline Kael found imbued with "fascist medievalism."

No matter what the critics thought, the American public flocked to see Dirty Harry, and the role was reprised in 1973, 1976, 1983, and 1988. All but the last did well at the box office, if not critically, because they (in the words of one writer) seized "the mood of many Americans frustrated by … an ineffectual law enforcement system."

His career, which by 1997 encompassed almost 40 roles, was not without weak spots. He co-starred with an orangutan in the critically attacked comedies Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980), among Warner's highest grossing films in those years. Less successful theatrically but critically well-received was The Beguiled (1971), a Gothic tale about a crippled Union soldier murdered by southern school girls. Critics and moviegoers both agreed the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969) wasted his talents. He had flops in 1989 (The Pink Cadillac) and 1990 (The Rookie).

Eastwood made a striking comeback with Unforgiven (1992) and In The Line of Fire (1993), a taut tale about a Secret Service agent and a potential presidential assassin. Both films won critical plaudits and were among their years' highest grossing films. Unforgiven won Eastwood numerous directing and acting awards, including Oscars for best picture and best direction and a nomination for an Oscar as best actor.

Begins Directing

Eastwood's interest in directing reached back to "Rawhide," but CBS allowed him only to direct trailers. He made an auspicious directorial debut in 1971 with Play Misty for Me, a thriller about a psychotic obsessed woman. It received good notices and did well at the box office, as did many of the over one dozen films he directed after it. Most starred him, but one of his finest efforts did not: Bird (1988) dealt movingly with the downbeat life of the jazz great Charlie Parker. Eastwood was a life-long fan of jazz, and jazz music and songs have been a frequent presence on the soundtracks of many of his films.

Eastwood's direction has been described as "a lean location sense of realism"; his technique shows economy, vitality, imagination, and a good sense of humor. In 1993 he said that "favorites among his own films" were Play Misty for Me, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven, and Bronco Billy, a sweet 1980 movie about an ex-shoe-salesman from New Jersey (played by Eastwood) who has formed a wild West show with a group of misfits.

Finally Earns Critical Acclaim

From the early 1980s. the critical community began to reassess Eastwood's contribution to cinema. Open hostility turned to grudging acceptance and finally to admiration. More and more people began to appreciate Eastwood's contribution as producer and director, especially in his smaller, more personal films, including Play Misty for Me and Honkytonk Man. While Eastwood told the New York Times Magazine that he "never begged for respectability," he nonetheless flew to Paris in 1985 to accept the honor of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, a French national award.

In 1992, with Unforgiven, Eastwood finally won his first Academy Awards. After the ceremony, Eastwood told reporters that the wait for the award had been worth it. "I think it means more to me now," he was quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "If you win it when you're 20 or 30 years old, you're wondering, "Where do I go from here?' … You learn to take your work seriously and not yourself seriously, and that comes with time." Three years later, at the 1995 Academy Awards, the film community reaffirmed its respect for Eastwood's body of work. The Academy bestowed upon him the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is given to producers or directors for consistently high quality of motion picture production.

Eastwood has not, however, rested on his laurels. In the summer of 1995, he directed and starred in The Bridges of Madison County. The film, based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, follows a National Geographic photographer as he is sent on assignment to photograph covered bridges in Iowa. While there he has a passionate three-day affair with an Italian-born farm wife, played by Meryl Streep. The film enjoyed success as a classic "three-handkerchief weepie." It also received favorable notices from critics. Many praised Eastwood's even-handed and sensitive depiction of the brief affair and, especially, of the farm wife, who came across as much more realized character on screen than she did in the novel.

Absolute Power released in early 1997, was less of a triumph with the pubic and with critics. Eastwood once again directed but played a less romanic lead. His character, an aging Washington, D.C. burglar, accidently watches the president of the United States kill a woman during a sexual tryst.

Seeks Privacy in Personal Life

"Not a Hollywood type," as a 1993 profile explained, Eastwood has made his home in Carmel, California, far from filmdom's party circuit. There he lived a private life, spending time with friends who were not involved in the entertainment industry. And he is known as a loyal employer whose production crew included people who had worked for him for 15 years.

Politically conservative, Eastwood was several times approached by the Republican Party for various positions but he eschewed any public political stance except for a two-year term (1986-1988) as mayor of Carmel. Eastwood sought the position because he disapproved of zoning laws in the village. After serving one two-year term—and changing the laws—he stepped down with no regrets.

Eastwood married Maggie Johnson in 1953; they had a son Kyle (born 1968) and a daughter Alison (born 1972). They separated in the late 1970s, and the marriage ended in 1984, with Maggie Johnson reportedly receiving a settlement of $25 million.

After separating from Johnson, Eastwood spent more than a decade living with actress Sandra Locke, who appeared in many of his films. That relationship broke up acrimoniously at the end of the 1980s, resulting in a palimony suit eventually settled out of court at a cost to Eastwood of more than $7 million. He then established a relationship with Frances Fisher, an actress who appeared in The Pink Cadillac. The two had a baby girl in August 1993, whom they named Francesca Ruth.

In April 1993, Eastwood was interviewed by Dina Ruiz, a television news anchorwoman in Los Angeles, California. Three years later, in March 1996, Eastwood, then aged 65, married Dina Ruiz, 30, in a small private ceremony at the Las Vegas, Nevada, home of gambling casino magnate Steve Wynn.

By 1997, Eastwood had appeared in more than 40 motion pictures and directed 19 of them himself. Over the years his talents, both in front of and behind the camera, have been reevaluated. He won newfound respect for his talents as actor and director. He remained a potent force in the film industry through the 1990s, and for the public he became (to use Newsweek's phrase) "An American Icon."

Further Reading

For additional reading about Eastwood see Boris Zmijewsky and Lee Pfeiffer, The Films of Clint Eastwood (1993), which provides an up-to-date overview of Eastwood's career; C. Frayling, Clint Eastwood (London, 1992), a better than average popular biography; and Paul Smith, Clint Eastwood (1992), a somewhat overheated attempt to deal with Eastwood's impact on American culture. There is a fascinating interview with Eastwood in Focus on Film, □25 (Summer-Autumn 1976), undertaken when Eastwood talked with almost no one. There are also useful and interesting articles such as Bernard Weinraub, "The Last Icon," GQ (March 1993); and John Vinocur, "Clint Eastwood, Seriously," New York Times Magazine (February 24, 1985). An intellectual approach with some good Eastwood quotes is Richard Combs, "Shadowing the Hero," in Sight and Sound (October 1992).

Bingham, Dennis. Acting Male: Masculinities in the Films of James Stewart, Jack Nicholson, & Clint Eastwood (Rutgers University Press, 1994). Clinch, Minty. Clint Eastwood (Hoder & Stoughthton, 1995). Gallafent, Edward. Clint Eastwood: Filmaker and Star (Continuum, 1994). Knapp, Laurence. Directed by Clint Eastwood: Eighteen Films Analyzed. (McFarland, 1996). Munn, Michael. Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner (Parkwest, 1993). O'Brien, Daniel. Clint Eastwood Film Maker (Trafalgar Square, 1997). Schickel, Richard. Clint Eastwood: A Biography (McKay, 1996). Tanitch, Robert. Clint Eastwood (Studio Vista Books, 1995). Thompson, Douglas. Clint Eastwood: Riding High (1992). □

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Eastwood, Clint

Clint Eastwood

Born: May 31, 1930
San Francisco, California

American actor and director

With many roles including westerns and the Dirty Harry series, Clint Eastwood became one of the world's most popular and successful movie stars. He also established himself as a successful director.

Early life

Clinton Eastwood Jr. was born on May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, California. He was the first of Clinton and Ruth Eastwood's two children. Eastwood attended eight different grammar schools, as his parents moved frequently in search of work during the Great Depression (192939; a time when the U.S. economy was very weak and many people were without work). They finally settled in Oakland, California. He attended Oakland Technical High School and even appeared in a school play, an experience he did not enjoy. Eastwood swam competitively in high school and also played on the basketball team. After graduating in 1948, he held various low-paying jobs before being drafted into the army. He was discharged in 1953. Then he enrolled in Los Angeles City College as a business major, supporting himself with various odd jobs, including digging swimming pool foundations.

Early acting career

Army friends in the film business urged Eastwood to take a screen test at Universal Studios. His good looks landed him a job as a contract player in 1955. He earned seventy-five dollars a week playing small parts in bad movies. Universal dropped him in 1956, and by 1958 Eastwood was again digging swimming pools for a living. As the result of a chance meeting, he was chosen for the cast of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) television series Rawhide, which lasted seven years (195966).

During a break from Rawhide in 1964, Eastwood filmed the western A Fistful of Dollars in Spain with Italian director Sergio Leone. The film made Eastwood an overnight star. He returned to Europe to film two more westerns, For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966). Eastwood's character in these films was cold and tough, as were characters in his later westerns, such as The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and Unforgiven (1992). Another tough character he created was Harry Callahan, a detective who ignores police regulations and practices his own brand of justice. Callahan was introduced in Dirty Harry (1971), which viewers loved. Eastwood made four later films with the Callahan character.

Begins directing

Eastwood's first attempt at directing a film was successful with Play Misty for Me (1971), a thriller. It received good reviews and did well at the box office, as did many of the films he directed after it. He starred in most of them, but not in one of his finest efforts, Bird (1988), which dealt with the life of the jazz musician Charlie Parker (19201955). Jazz music has appeared frequently on the soundtracks of many of Eastwood's films.

In the early 1980s Eastwood began to receive more recognition for his contributions as producer and director, especially in his smaller films. In 1985 he flew to Paris, France, to accept the honor of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, a national award. In 1992 Eastwood won his first Academy Award for Unforgiven. Three years later the Academy honored him with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is given to producers or directors with a body of high-quality motion picture work. Eastwood continues to act and direct, his later films including The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Absolute Power (1997), and Space Cowboys (2000).

Private and political life

Eastwood lives in Carmel, California. Most of his friends are not involved in show business. He has been approached many times to run for political office but has refused, except for serving a two-year term (198688) as mayor of Carmel. Eastwood decided to run because he disapproved of zoning laws in the city. After changing the laws, he stepped down. Eastwood had two children with his first wife Maggie Johnson, whom he married in 1953. They divorced in 1984 after a long separation, with Johnson receiving a reported $25 million settlement. Eastwood also lived for over ten years with actress Sandra Locke, who appeared in many of his films. The end of that relationship resulted in a lawsuit that required Eastwood to pay Locke more than $7 million. In 1996 Eastwood married Dina Ruiz, a television reporter.

In 2000 a jury ruled that Eastwood did not have to pay damages to a disabled woman who claimed his Mission Ranch Inn did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, Eastwood was ordered to improve handicapped access to the hotel office at his property near Carmel. Later that year Eastwood was given a Kennedy Center Honor by U.S. president Bill Clinton (1946) and praised as a man who continues to take risks in his work. In 2001 Eastwood received the San Francisco International Film Festival's Akira Kurosawa Award for directing. Later that year, noting Eastwood's concern for the environment, the governor of California appointed him to the state's Park and Recreation Commission.

For More Information

Clinch, Minty. Clint Eastwood. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1994.

Schickel, Richard. Clint Eastwood: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1996.

Smith, Paul. Clint Eastwood. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Zmijewsky, Boris, and Lee Pfeiffer. The Films of Clint Eastwood. New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1993.

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Eastwood, Clint

Clint Eastwood (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), and Gran Torino (2008). 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 an afterlife and of communicating with the dead in the contemplative Hereafter (2010), examined the public and private J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar (2011), and recounted effects of the war in Iraq on a Navy SEAL and his family in American Sniper (2014). 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

Eastwood, Clint (1930– ) US film actor and director. Following the long-running television series Rawhide, Eastwood revitalized his career playing the no-nonsense drifter in the ‘spaghetti WesternsA Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967). Dirty Harry (1971) and its four sequels were tough and uncompromising. As a director, he earned praise for The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and Bird (1988). Eastwood won Academy Awards for best director, best actor, and best picture for Unforgiven (1992).

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Eastwood, Clint

Clint Eastwood

Personal

Born Clinton Eastwood, Jr., May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, CA; son of Clinton and Ruth (Runner) Eastwood; married Maggie Johnson (a model), December 19, 1953 (divorced, 1982); married Dina Ruiz (a newscaster), March 31, 1996; children: (with Roxanne Tunis) Kimber L.; (first marriage) Kyle, Alison; (with Jacelyn Reeves) Kathryn Ann, Scott C.; (with Frances Fisher) Francesca Ruth; (second marriage) Morgan. Education: Attended Oakland Technological High School and Los Angeles City College, 1953-54. Politics: Republican. Hobbies and other interests: Jazz music.

Addresses

Home—Carmel, CA. Office—Malpaso Productions, 4000 Warner Blvd. Agent—William Morris Agency, 151 South El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2704.

Career

Film actor, director, and producer; founder and owner, Malpaso Productions, 1969—. Appeared as Rowdy Yates in the television series Rawhide, CBS, 1959-66. Also appeared in episodes of several television shows, including The West Point Story, ABC, 1957, Wagon Train, NBC, 1957, Maverick, ABC, 1959, Mr. Ed, CBS, 1962, and Crazy about the Movies, Cinemax, 1993; appeared in several television specials, including James Stewart: A Wonderful Life, PBS, 1987, The Presidential Inaugural Gala, CBS, 1989, The Siskel and Ebert Special, CBS, 1990, Clint Eastwood's Favorite Films, Cinemax, 1993, Clint Eastwood Talking with David Frost, PBS, 1993; Eastwood on Eastwood, TNT, 1997, AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Stars, CBS, 1999, and The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2000. Director of an episode of Amazing Stories, NBC, 1985. Performed on the single "Smokin' the Hive" with Randy Travis, 1990. Mayor of Carmel, CA, 1986-88; owner of Hog's Breath Inn, Carmel, CA; former lumberjack in Oregon, steel-furnace stoker, and gas pumper. Member of National Council on the Arts, 1973. Military service: U.S. Army, Special Services, 1950-54.

Member

Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, American Film Institute, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors

Golden Globe Award, world film favorite—male, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1971; People's Choice Awards, favorite motion picture actor, 1981, 1984, 1985, and 1987, and Favorite All-Time Motion Picture Star, 1998; named Chevalier des Lettres by the French government, 1985; shared Golden Apple Star of the Year Award, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1985; People's Choice Award as an "all-time favorite," 1988; Cecil B. De Mille Award, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1988; Orson Welles Award, best directorial achievement—English language, 1988, and Golden Globe Award, best director, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1989, both for Bird; Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Award, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, 1991; Golden Globe Award, best director, Academy Awards, best director and best picture, and Academy Award nomination, best actor, all 1992, all for Unforgiven; named NATO/ShoWest Director of the Year, city of Los Angeles, 1993; Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1995; César Award nomination, best foreign film, 1996, for The Bridges of Madison County; American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, 1996; César Honorary Award, and PGA Golden Laurel Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures, both 1998; PGA Golden Laurel Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures nomination, Career Achievement Award From the National Board of Reviewers, and People's Choice Award nomination, all 1999; Career Golden Lion Award, Venice Film Festival, 2000; Akira Kurosawa Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, and Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Art Directors, both 2001; Life Achievement Award, Screen Actors Guild, 2003; Golden Coach Award, Cannes Film Festival, 2003, Golden Globe Award nomination, best director, 2004, Academy Award nominations, best director and best picture, 2004, National Society of Film Critics Award, best director, 2004, all for Mystic River; Opus Award, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 2004; lifetime achievement award, Broadcast Film Critics Association, 2004.

Writings

FILMS: DIRECTOR

Play Misty for Me, Universal, 1971.

Breezy, Universal, 1973.

High Plains Drifter, Universal, 1973.

The Eiger Sanction, Universal, 1975.

The Outlaw Josey Wales, Warner Bros., 1976.

The Gauntlet, Warner Bros., 1977.

(And composer) Bronco Billy, Warner Bros., 1980.

(And producer) Firefox, Warner Bros., 1982.

(And producer) Honkytonk Man, Warner Bros., 1982.

(And producer) Sudden Impact, Warner Bros., 1983.

(And producer) Pale Rider, Warner Bros., 1985.

(And producer and composer) Heartbreak Ridge, Warner Bros., 1986.

(And producer) Bird, Warner Bros., 1988.

The Rookie, Warner Bros., 1990.

(And producer) White Hunter, Black Heart, Warner Bros., 1990.

(And producer and composer) Unforgiven, Warner Bros., 1992.

(And producer) A Perfect World, Warner Bros., 1993.

(And producer and composer) The Bridges of Madison County, Warner Bros., 1995.

(And producer) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Warner Bros., 1997.

(And producer and composer) Absolute Power, Columbia, 1997.

(And producer and composer) True Crime, Warner Bros., 1999.

(And producer and composer) Space Cowboys, Warner Bros., 2000.

(And producer) Blood Work, Warner Bros., 2002.

(And producer and composer) Mystic River, Warner Bros., 2003.

FILMS: PRODUCER

Tightrope, Warner Bros., 1984.

The Dead Pool, Warner Bros., 1988.

The Stars Fell on Henrietta, Warner Bros., 1995.

FILMS: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser, Warner Bros., 1988.

(And director) The Rookie, Warner Bros., 1990.

FILMS: APPEARANCES

Lab technician, Revenge of the Creature, Universal, 1955.

First Saxon, Lady Godiva, Universal, 1955.

First pilot, Tarantula, Universal, 1955.

Jonesy, Francis in the Navy, Universal, 1955.

Star in the Dust, 1956.

Will, Never Say Goodbye, Universal, 1956.

Jack Rice, The First Travelling Saleslady, RKO, 1956.

Dumbo, Escapade in Japan, Universal/RKO, 1957.

Keith Williams, Ambush at Cimarron Pass, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1958.

George Moseley, Lafayette Escadrille (also known as Hell Bent for Glory), Warner Bros., 1958.

The Man With No Name, A Fistful of Dollars, United Artists (UA), 1964.

The Man With No Name, For a Few Dollars More, UA, 1967.

Joe, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, UA, 1967.

Lieutenant Morris Schaffer, Where Eagles Dare, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1968.

Jed Cooper, Hang 'em High, UA, 1968.

Walt Coogan, Coogan's Bluff, Universal, 1968.

Husband, The Witches, Lopert, 1969.

Pardner, Paint Your Wagon, Paramount, 1969.

Kelly, Kelly's Heroes (also known as The Warriors), MGM, 1970.

Hogan, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Universal, 1970.

John McBurney, The Beguiled, Universal, 1971.

Dave Garland, Play Misty for Me, Universal, 1971.

Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry, Warner Bros., 1971.

Title role, Joe Kidd, Universal, 1972.

The Stranger, High Plains Drifter, Universal, 1973.

Harry Callahan, Magnum Force, Warner Bros., 1973.

John "Thunderbolt" Doherty, Thunderbolt and Light-foot, UA, 1974.

Jonathan Hemlock, The Eiger Sanction, Universal, 1975.

Title role, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Warner Bros., 1976.

Harry Callahan, The Enforcer, Warner Bros., 1976.

Ben Shockley, The Gauntlet, Warner Bros., 1977.

Philo Beddoe, Every Which Way But Loose, Warner Bros., 1978.

Frank Morris, Escape from Alcatraz, Paramount, 1979.

Bronco Billy McCoy, Bronco Billy, Warner Bros., 1980.

Philo Beddoe, Any Which Way You Can, Warner Bros., 1980.

Mitchell Gant, Firefox, Warner Bros., 1982.

Red Stovall, Honkytonk Man, Warner Bros., 1982.

Harry Callahan, Sudden Impact, Warner Bros., 1983.

Wes Block, Tightrope, Warner Bros., 1984.

(And composer) Lieutenant Speer, City Heat, Warner Bros., 1984.

The Preacher, Pale Rider, Warner Bros., 1985.

Sergeant Thomas "Gunny" Highway, Heartbreak Ridge, Warner Bros., 1986.

Harry Callahan, The Dead Pool, Warner Bros., 1988.

Tommy Noak, Pink Cadillac, Warner Bros., 1989.

John Wilson, White Hunter, Black Heart, Warner Bros., 1990.

Nick Pulovski, The Rookie, Warner Bros., 1990.

William Munny, Unforgiven, Warner Bros., 1992.

Red Garnett, A Perfect World, Warner Bros., 1993.

Frank Horrigan, In the Line of Fire, Columbia, 1993.

Robert Kincaid, The Bridges of Madison County, Warner Bros., 1995.

Luther Whitney, Absolute Power, Columbia, 1997.

Steve Everett, True Crime, Warner Bros., 1999.

Dr. Frank Corvin, Space Cowboys, Warner Bros., 1999.

Terry McCaleb, Blood Work, Warner Bros., 2002.

Sidelights

"You get trapped by an image, but I've overcome it to some degree," commented Clint Eastwood in a Gentleman's Quarterly interview with Bernard Weinraub. "What the hell! You make an impact in a certain kind of role and everyone thinks you're that person. That's fine. It's nice in a way—you've set out to do what you want to do. But I don't carry a .44 Magnum around. . . . I've fought my way out of the genre."

Still, as Cosmopolitan writer Michael Segell noted, "Eastwood invites comparison to the rugged, laconic tough guys he's played during thirty-plus years of filmmaking. A loner with conservative working-class values . . . he admits to sharing a few traits of temperament with some of the maverick characters he's come to be identified with: Dirty Harry, The Man With No Name, William Munny (the hero of Unforgiven), and other moral avengers whose gritty independence pushes them to the fringes of society." Over the course of his acting and directing career, Eastwood has become entrenched as a true icon of American film on the strength of these roles.

One of the movie world's most enduringly popular figures since he first burst on the scene in the mid 1960s in A Fistful of Dollars, Eastwood's critical reputation has undergone a fascinating metamorphosis over the years. His work in Sergio Leone's "Man-With-No-Name" trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) and his portrayal of lone-wolf police detective Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movies prompted bitter denunciations from many prominent critics, who branded the violent films as amoral, sexist, and fascist in tone.

As the years passed, though, and Eastwood's body of work grew, a re-evaluation of the merits of his acting and directing abilities took place. Robert E. Kapsis noted in Society that as far back as the mid-1980s critics such as Vincent Canby confessed that they were rethinking their opinions on Eastwood. As quoted by Kapsis, Canby wrote, "I'm just now beginning to realize that, though Mr. Eastwood may have been improving over the years, it's also taken all these years for most of us to recognize his very consistent grace and wit as a filmmaker." Kapsis subsequently remarked that "this critical reevaluation occurred partly because Eastwood apparently made all the right career moves in reshaping his reputation. He would often select properties that challenged his earlier macho image without the constraint of a critical discourse hostile to such efforts. Also critics, writing during the less radical 1980s, could acknowledge that the charge that Eastwood was a 'fascistic' director was a vast over-statement."

The changing tide of opinion regarding the quality of Eastwood's work as an actor and director crystallized with the 1992 release of Unforgiven, a Western which received Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director (and a Best Actor nomination for Eastwood as well). Reviewers hailed the film as a masterpiece, pointing especially to Eastwood's portrayal of William Munny, a formerly violent man ashamed of his past who takes up his guns one last time. Critics noted how the dark tale destroyed much of the mythology built up around Western heroes. (Ironically, earlier Eastwood films such as AFistful of Dollars, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and High Plains Drifter had contributed greatly to such myths.) Film Comment writer Henry Sheehan spoke for many when he contended that "Unforgiven is the harsh, brilliant culmination, indeed consummation, of themes, motifs, characterizations, and critical attitudes that have evolved in Clint Eastwood's Westerns for more than thirty years."

Blue-Collar Roots

Eastwood was born on May 31, 1930, in San Francisco. He grew up in Depression-era California, and his parents were often forced to move the family in their search for work. Eastwood's father worked at various times as a salesman, pipe fitter, and defense-industry worker, and his blue-collar work ethic was passed on to his son and daughter. "I guess I was what they now call a latchkey child," Eastwood recalled in his conversation with Weinraub. "My parents were working-class people. They both worked a lot. They were very caring. . . . My father believed nothing came to nothing. You had to work like hell."

After his father secured a steady job in Oakland, Eastwood was able to settle in at one school for his high school years. He graduated from Oakland Technical High School and moved on to a series of jobs. He pumped gas, hauled lumber, worked in factories, and fought fires for the Forest Service before being drafted at the age of twenty. Eastwood was stationed at the Fort Ord army base in Monterey, California, where he spent much of his time working as a lifeguard. It was during his stay at Fort Ord that Eastwood became acquainted with a group of soldiers who wanted to be actors.

After his discharge from the service in 1954, Eastwood enrolled at Los Angeles City College and set about trying to make some inroads in Hollywood. He also married Maggie Johnson, with whom he eventually had two children—Kyle and Alison. In 1955 Eastwood was signed by Universal Studios for $75 a week as a contract player, and he quickly tallied up a string of bit roles in B-pictures. "I'd always play the young lieutenant or the lab technician who came in and said, 'He went that way' or 'This happened' or 'Doctor, here are the X-rays' and he'd say, 'Get lost, kid,' I'd go out and that would be the end of it," he told an interviewer for Show. Universal finally dropped Eastwood after eighteen months, and he was forced to make ends meet as a mechanic and garbage man.

In 1959, though, Eastwood secured the role of Rowdy Yates in Rawhide, a popular television series. During a break in the shooting for the show in 1964, Eastwood accepted an offer to star in A Fistful of Dollars, a movie being shot in Spain by Italian director Sergio Leone. "In the TV Western," Eastwood told Weinraub, "I was playing a good guy, and I kept thinking, Wouldn't it be great to play the hero sort of like the villain is normally played and give the villain some heroic qualities?" Eastwood convinced Leone to drop a great deal of the dialogue in the original script, stripping his character down to a terse, menacing mystery man with ice in his veins and a penchant for gallows humor. Sheehan noted that "this deliberately unsettling humor quickly became a hallmark of (most) Eastwood performances, accomplished with expressions as whittled-down as a suspicious shift of the eyes."

Eastwood reprised the role as the Man With No Name in two subsequent films, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Leone's violent trilogy struck a chord with audiences in Europe (where the movies were first released) and the United States, and, as Peter Buskind suggested in Premiere, "established the formula for the Eastwood western: the Man With No Name squinting in the fierce midday sun, laconic, cool, and laid-back but remorseless and vengeful at the same time, coming from nowhere, going nowhere, without a past, without a future."

Eastwood proved adept at capitalizing on his immensely popular screen persona. In 1968 he returned to the United States to star in Hang 'Em High, the first of several violent Westerns (including Coogan's Bluff, Two Mules for Sister Sara, and Joe Kidd) in which the actor played characters that resembled, at least to some extent, the vengeful and implacable gunslinger of the Leone epics.

From Actor to Director

In 1971 Eastwood weighed in with his first directorial effort. Play Misty for Me concerns a popular disc jockey (played by Eastwood) who is being stalked by a psychotic female fan. Skillfully rendered and executed, the film received positive reviews for the most part, but Eastwood's debut in the director's chair was quickly obliterated in the public's eye by the controversy that surrounded the release of Dirty Harry. This film was the first of a series of films in which Eastwood played the role of "Dirty" Harry Callahan, an embittered San Francisco police detective who tracks murderers and drug dealers with a vigilante zeal that puts him at odds with bureaucrats and a justice system that is portrayed as ineffectual and uncaring. The Dirty Harry films were directed by Don Siegel, who, along with Leone, was a key mentor to Eastwood during the actor's early film career.

Dirty Harry proved tremendously popular with the ticket-buying public, but many reviewers savaged the film (and its sequels). Influential New Yorker critic Pauline Kael charged that the movie was fascist in tone and deeply immoral. Hers was by no means the only voice leveling such accusations. When asked by Psychology Today contributor Stuart Fischoff about the social commentary in Dirty Harry and the other films featuring Harry Callahan (Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, and The Dead Pool), Eastwood responded, "I approached it from the uncomplicated point of view. That it was an exciting detective story but it also addressed the issue of the victims of violent crime. In the 1960s and early '70s, it was very fashionable to address the plight of the criminals instead of the victims. Dirty Harry came along and it seemed like it was ahead of its time." New York Times Magazine writer John Vinocur similarly argued that "what Dirty Harry did in the 1970s was to outrun an American political phenomenon by close to a decade. In the series involving the rebellious detective, Eastwood caught a mood of blue-collar discontent with a country portrayed in the films as being run by bureaucrats, sociologists, appeasers and incompetents. American society's deepest incapacity, the Dirty Harry films said, was in failing to protect the normal lives of its normal people."

Eastwood has been a prolific artist throughout his career, and the 1970s were no exception. In addition to the Dirty Harry movies, he starred in and directed The Eiger Sanction (1975) and The Gauntlet (1977), and returned to the mythical West in High Plains Drifter (1973) and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976). Both of the films were directed by Eastwood, and there were reviewers who detected promising elements in the works. Commenting on High Plains Drifter, Sheehan remarked that "Eastwood displays a . . . startling stylistic maturity in his first Western feature." The Outlaw Josey Wales, meanwhile, was touted as "an attempt to socialize, to humanize, The Man With No Name," according to American Film writer Dave Kehr, who went on to contend that Eastwood had created a work of "grandeur" and "moral seriousness."

The late 1970s and early 1980s also saw some dramatic changes in Eastwood's personal life. In 1977, after twenty-four years of marriage, he left his wife and began seeing actress Sandra Locke, who subsequently appeared in a number of his films. His divorce was finalized in 1984, and Johnson received $25 million as part of the settlement.

By the early 1980s, it was clear that Eastwood intended to use his box office muscle to experiment, to investigate roles and stories that did not hinge on the actor's usual portrayal of some flinty-eyed dispenser of retribution. In 1980 Eastwood directed and starred in Bronco Billy, in which the title character leads "an impoverished cowboy circus through the back roads of the Midwest in a decidedly corny fable about idealism and perseverance," wrote Doug Brod and Steve Daly in Entertainment Weekly. "A sentimental, arch and harmlessly good-natured" film, according to Newsweek's David Ansen, Bronco Billy still stands as one of Eastwood's favorites. Two years later he released another sentimental movie, Honkytonk Man, in which he portrays a dying country singer touring during the Depression.

The film that really caught people's attention, though, was Tightrope. Time reviewer Richard Schickel called Eastwood's performance as tough police detective Wes Block a fascinating one because "he has dared to play into type, to bring to the surface certain disturbing aspects of his Dirty Harry character." Schickel remarked that Eastwood's decision to play a detective who in several ways resembles the murderer he is hunting down "represents a provocative advance in the consciousness, self and social, of Eastwood's one-man genre."

Steps into Political Arena

In 1985 Eastwood returned to the West with Pale Rider, in which he plays a mysterious preacher who delivers innocents from greedy strip miners. The following year, however, it was Eastwood's fledgling political career that made headlines. In 1986 he campaigned for and won the mayor's office in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, a small coastal village in the northern part of the state where the actor had lived since the early 1960s. Once installed as the new mayor, he initiated changes to the town's zoning laws and tackled the inevitable paperwork that accompanies the assumption of such a public office. Time contributor Paul A. Witteman noted that Eastwood "takes a kind of bemused pleasure in the minor crises that bedevil any small-town mayor. 'If someone had told me two years ago that I'd be spending time in someone else's garage, deciding if it could be moved three inches to the north,' he says ruefully, 'I would have said he'd lost it.'"

The actor declined to run for re-election after his term expired in 1988. "I'm not a good politician," he told Segell. "I could get along with people, but to sit there and fudge the truth all the time or omit things or say you're going to do something and know you're not going to do it—well, that's not me." Eastwood continued to make his home in Carmel regardless, and residents confirm that Eastwood is far more likely to be found drinking beers with blue-collar golf buddies from the town than sipping martinis in Hollywood.

In 1988 Eastwood directed Bird, a film based on the life of legendary jazz musician Charlie Parker, a self-destructive genius who remains one of the jazz world's pre-eminent figures. A long-time jazz fan, Eastwood tackled the project enthusiastically. "When I was growing up in San Francisco there was a big classic-jazz revival in the Bay Area. I used to go to Hambone Kelly's, lie about my age, stand in the back and listen to Lu Watters and Turk Murphy play New Orleans jazz," recalled Eastwood in an interview with Newsweek's Jack Kroll. "I played piano, I played a little cornet, I listened to a lot of rhythm and blues on radio. I think I was really a black guy in a white body."

Besides allowing Eastwood to indulge his passion for jazz music, Bird further solidified his rapidly growing standing as a director of merit. Reviewing the film for the New Republic, Stanley Kauffmann remarked that "Eastwood has been highly praised for his direction because, though he has directed before, people seem to be surprised that he knows a lot about films. In fact he's an old hand who has worked with many old hands." As a result, said Kroll, "Bird is an extraordinary work, made with honesty, insight and unmistakable love for the subject. . . . The movie is visual bebop, exultant and sorrowful, just like the music." For his part, Eastwood told Film Quarterly interviewer Ric Gentry that "of Charlie Parker's relatives and friends who've seen it, they're all moved by it and even a little spooked by it, that they were watching something they lived and they recognized as characteristic of what happened to them, and what Charlie Parker was like. I guess I'm as proud of that as I am of anything."

In 1989 Eastwood's thirteen-year relationship with actress Sandra Locke came to an end. Eastwood, who had initiated the breakup, was subsequently hit by Locke with a palimony lawsuit that featured several unsavory charges. Newspaper tabloids were quick to pounce on the acrimony, and Eastwood was shaken by the resulting bad publicity. They eventually settled the suit out of court, agreeing not to discuss the arrangements. Eastwood began seeing actress Frances Fisher, with whom he had a daughter, Francesca. He and Fisher parted ways in the mid 1990s, and in March of 1996 he married newscaster Dina Ruiz. The couple has one daughter, Morgan.

By the dawn of the 1990s Eastwood had settled on a movie-making formula that seemed beneficial both for him and Warner Brothers (Eastwood has long had a non-contractual, handshake agreement with the company). He still appeared in action-adventure films for the studio, invariably dispatching criminals and other unpleasant individuals with his trademark efficiency, but his work in those films also allowed him to freely pursue his own projects without worrying about their commercial viability. One of these projects was 1990's White Hunter, Black Heart, a fictionalized portrayal of famous movie director John Huston of African Queen fame. Many reviewers found it to be a flawed film, but they also recognized that, as People contributor Ralph Novak said, "Eastwood has had the courage to address a real and difficult phenomenon—the coexistence of artistic genius and personal immaturity in the same person." Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers praised his efforts as well, writing that Eastwood's performance, "like the movie, is a high-wire act that remains fascinating even when it falters." Eastwood himself professed to Weinraub that he enjoyed making the film, in part because the obsessive Huston was so unlike himself. "And yet I totally agree with one of his favorite lines. He said, 'When you make a film, you must forget anybody is ever going to see it. Just make it. Just stay true to it.' I believe that."

Unforgiven Praised for Expanding Genre

While films like Bird and White Hunter, Black Heart suggested that Eastwood's filmmaking vision was growing increasingly complex and interesting, it was not until the 1992 release of Unforgiven that many reviewers conceded that the long-time actor was also a director of considerable skill. The film's story line concerns William Munny, an aging gunfighter-turned-farmer with small children who lives a life of grinding poverty. Munny, accompanied by his old partner and a young punk, sets out to collect the bounty on two cowboys who viciously slashed a prostitute. Munny and his party subsequently run afoul of Little Bill Daggett, a jovial and sadistic sheriff. At the same time, Munny grapples with his dark past and his promise to his dead wife to forsake his previous life of violence.

Reviewers marveled at the complexity of Unforgiven and Eastwood's ability to realize his vision of the film. "In his long, many-chambered career, Clint Eastwood has exhibited both genuine talent and commercial cynicism," wrote New York critic David Denby. "In the Dirty Harry films and some of the thrillers, Westerns, and cop movies he directed himself, he easily exploited the American love of shooting-gallery violence. Under his pitiless monetary gaze, the bodies fell by the hundreds. And yet sterner impulses were obviously working in him—an obsession with isolated, tormented men. . . . [In Unforgiven] he has created a work of surprising moral complexity, a mordant yet sustained and even-flowing work of art." Newsweek reviewer David Ansen, meanwhile—a vehement critic of Eastwood's early films—wrote that "the deeper Unforgiven plunges into violence, the more powerfully Eastwood reveals his disgust for the false mythology of the Western hero. A lot of violent movies have pushed an anti-violent message, but there's no taint of hypocrisy in Eastwood's methods here." Unforgiven, he concluded, is "a stunning, dark Western that may stand as actor/director Eastwood's summation of the form."

Unforgiven was honored with numerous awards, including Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards, and Eastwood confirmed that it was a film that he was determined to make. "Unforgiven became a very important film for me, because it sort of summed up my feelings about certain movies I participated in," he told Fischoff. "Movies where killing is romantic. And here was a chance to show that it really wasn't so romantic."

A year later Eastwood directed (and co-starred with) Kevin Costner in A Perfect World, which tells the story of a sheriff's pursuit of an escaped convict in early 1960s America. While A Perfect World did not enjoy the same level of popular or critical acclaim that Eastwood's previous film had experienced, the director noted that its subject matter was the same. "I don't want to make family values the sole thing in Perfect World," he told Entertainment Weekly's Anne Thompson, "but one of its big concerns is how violent acts rot your soul. It's the theme of Unforgiven—the young boy glamorizes being a killer until he finds out what it does to him, when he has a taste of it, something the character William Munny understood all along but couldn't communicate."

Another 1993 film in which Eastwood appeared—In the Line of Fire—was tremendously successful at the box office. Kapsis noted that Eastwood's "portrayal of a character haunted by his failure of having prevented President Kennedy's assassination thirty years earlier transforms a fairly conventional chase film into one of the most satisfying thrillers in recent years." In 1995 Eastwood appeared in and directed yet another blockbuster, The Bridges of Madison County. The film, which was based on the bestselling romance novel by Robert James Waller, also starred Meryl Streep.

During the filming of The Bridges of Madison County, Streep was exposed for the first time to Eastwood's famously economical and laid-back movie making style (he brings in nearly all of his films under budget). She thus joined the swelling ranks of actors and actresses who have lauded the atmosphere that Eastwood creates on the sets of the films he directs. "I feel the director's job, besides picking a script, is casting the right people," Eastwood told Time's Richard Schickel. "But then after that, the real responsibility is to make those people feel at home. Set an atmosphere where everybody is extremely relaxed and there's no tension. Coming from acting, you know what rattles people, what rattles you. You have to set a tone and just demand a certain amount of tranquility."

Eastwood's film crew is renowned for its stability and for limited turnover, an indication that they are comfortable with one another. Indeed, Eastwood is known for hanging out with the crew rather than retreating to his trailer during filming breaks on the set. "I really don't think he knows he's Clint Eastwood," a friend told Weinraub. "I don't think he knows his power. We work in a world here where people think they're stars and demand chauffeur-driven limousines or private helicopter trips or behave like megalomaniacs. Here's a guy who gets in his pickup truck and drives himself to work, drives himself to the airport. No entourage. No bullshit."

In 1997 Eastwood directed and starred in the thriller Absolute Power, in which he portrays an aging thief who in the course of a jewel heist witnesses the president of the United States commit a sexual assault and murder. The film garnered mixed reviews, as did Eastwood's next two directorial efforts, a 1997 film adaptation of John Berendt's best-seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the 1999 film True Crime, about a reporter—played by Eastwood—who races to save the life of a death-row inmate.

Eastwood displayed no inclination to retire from the world of cinema in the twenty-first century, either as an actor or director, having kicked off the decade of the 2000s with Space Cowboys, "a crowd-pleasing lark with a daffy, irresistible charm and a surprise payload of excitement," remarked a critic in Maclean's. Space Cowboys follows the exploits of four aging test pilots who are called out of retirement to repair an antiquated communications satellite. According to Entertainment Weekly reviewer Lisa Schwarzbaum, "in distributing the bodily betrayals and spiritual triumphs that mark diminished masculine vigor among four such different old men (and four such different old-pro actors), Eastwood is able to share the vulnerability (and a few jokes) rather than act his usual high plains drifter self."

Directoral Accomplishments Mount

The psychological thriller Blood Work, which Eastwood directed and starred in, appeared in 2002. Eastwood plays Terry McCaleb, a retired FBI agent who survived a heart transplant. When McCaleb learns that the donor of his new heart was murdered, he vows to track down the killer. Owen Gleiberman, reviewing the film in Entertainment Weekly, stated that Eastwood is "now playing a man whose will is stronger than his body, and it's that tension—between anger and frailty, steel and decay—that powers the movie." As David Denby wrote in New Yorker, "Blood Work is a testament to experience and to the wisdom of saving one's energy for what's serious in life."

Eastwood earned Academy Award nominations for best director and best picture for Mystic River, a 2003 drama "which hauntingly reveals how pain is too often part of living, violence has ruinous consequences, and some cuts go too deep ever to heal," observed Leah Rozen in People. Adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane, Mystic River concerns Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle, three men from a working-class Boston neighborhood whose lives have been marked by violence. As children, Jimmy and Sean watched helplessly as Dave was abducted by two men who repeatedly molested him. Some thirty years later, Jimmy's teenage daughter is murdered, and during the investigation led by Sean, now a police detective, Dave becomes the prime suspect. "Eastwood has made his most intense, pain-filled movie, steeped in Roman Catholic guilt and sexual shame," noted David Anson in Newsweek. "It's also his most humane in its respect for the complex humanity of its characters. It's not the melodramatic twists and turns of the plot that fascinate Eastwood at this point in his career: it's the twists and turns of the heart."

Eastwood continues to investigate new roles and stories that offer challenges. As he told an interviewer in Hollywood Reporter, "With each story, you learn something new about yourself. Once you know everything, you've had it. You're destined to be just repetitive or boring or both. I feel I learn something on every movie—about actors, about storytelling, about myself."

If you enjoy the works of Clint Eastwood

If you enjoy the works of Clint Eastwood, you might want to check out the following films:

Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven, 1960.

Henry Fonda in Once upon a Time in the West, 1984.

Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, 1987.

Steve McQueen in Bullit, 1968.

Eastwood's critical reputation has seen peaks and valleys as well, but as Gentry noted, an examination of Eastwood's films "reveals a dramatically diverse but thematically consistent body of work. Moreover, his independent, usually rootless characters may be presented with varying degrees of aesthetic depth, but there is an undeniable seriousness and passion to someone who makes films so prolifically." This passion, though, has been but one factor in the consolidation of Eastwood's unique and enduring place in American movies. As Kehr remarked, Eastwood "has fashioned a mythic image, drawing on elements both personal (the distinctive voice, glance, stride) and cultural (the American legends of the West, of individualism versus the law) to create the best-defined, most resonant screen persona in contemporary American cinema."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Bingham, Dennis, Acting Male: Masculinities in the Films of James Stewart, Jack Nicholson, & Clint Eastwood, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1994.

Clinch, Minty, Clint Eastwood, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1995.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 45, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Gallafent, Edward, Clint Eastwood: Filmmaker and Star, Continuum (New York, NY), 1994.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers: Directors, 3rd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Kapsis, Robert, and Kathie Coblantz, editors, Clint Eastwood: Interviews, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1999.

Knapp, Laurence, Directed by Clint Eastwood: Eighteen Films Analyzed, McFarland & Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1996.

Locke, Sondra, The Good, The Bad and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey, Morrow (New York, NY), 1997.

McGilligan, Patrick, Clint: The Life and Legend, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Munn, Michael, Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner, Parkwest (New York, NY), 1993.

Newsmakers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

O'Brien, Daniel, Clint Eastwood: Film-Maker, Trafalgar Square (North Pomfret, VT), 1997.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.

Schickel, Richard, Clint Eastwood: A Biography, Knopf (New York, NY), 1996.

Tanitch, Robert, Clint Eastwood, Studio Vista Books (London, England), 1995.

Thomson, David, A Biographical Dictionary of Film, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.

Zmijewsky, Boris, and Lee Pfeiffer, The Films of Clint Eastwood, Citadel Press (New York, NY), 1993.

PERIODICALS

Advocate, November 11, 1997, p. 24.

American Enterprise, January-February, 1998, John Meroney, "Clint Eastwood," pp. 20-24.

American Film, March, 1985, Dave Kehr, "A Fistful of Eastwood," pp. 63-67; September, 1988, Nat Hentoff, "Flight of Fancy."

Billboard, August 30, 1997, p. 1.

Commentary, April, 1984; March, 1994, Richard Grenier, "Clint Eastwood Goes PC."

Cosmospolitan, August, 1993, Michael Segell, "Clint Eastwood: The Man behind the Myth," p. 154.

Down Beat, January, 1998, p. 10.

Entertainment Weekly, December 10, 1993, Anne Thompson, "Eastwood's World," p. 22; December 10, 1993, Doug Brod and Steve Daly, "Direct from Clint," p. 24; November 1, 1999, p. 92; August 11, 2000, Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Artful Codgers," p. 50; August 16, 2002, Owen Gleiberman, "Angina Monologue," p. 46; October 10 2003, Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Boys to Men," p. 97.

Esquire, March 14, 1978, J. Vallely, "Pumping Gold with Clint Eastwood, Hollywood's Richest Actor"; June, 1995.

Film Comment, January-February, 1978, R. Thompson and T. Hunter, "Clint Eastwood, Auteur"; September-October, 1984; September-October, 1991, Don Siegel, "The Padron"; September-October, 1992, Henry Sheehan, "Scraps of Hope: Clint Eastwood and the Western."

Film Quarterly, spring, 1989, Ric Gentry, "Clint Eastwood: An Interview," pp. 12-23.

Films and Filming, November-December, 1988.

Focus on Film, spring, 1972, DeWitt Bodeen, "Clint Eastwood"; summer-autumn, 1976.

Gentleman's Quarterly, March, 1993, Bernard Weinraub, "Even Cowboys Get Their Due," pp. 213-17, 286.

Good Housekeeping, July, 1995.

Hollywood Reporter, March 11, 1993; August 2, 2002, "Dialogue with Clint Eastwood," p. 1.

Interview, October, 1990, Graham Fuller, "The Man Who Would Be Huston"; June, 1999, Jack Mathews, "Clint," pp. 32-34.

Journal of Film and Video, Volume 42, number 4, Dennis Bingham, "Men with No Names: Clint Eastwood, the Stranger Persona, Identification and the Impenetrable Gaze."

Journal of Popular Film and Television, fall, 1982, Eric Patterson, "Every Which Way but Lucid: The Critique of Authority in Clint Eastwood's Police Films."

Jump Cut, May, 1979, Robert Alpert, "Clint Eastwood Plays Dumb Cop."

Literature-Film Quarterly, Volume 21, number 1, J. C. Tibbetts, "Clint Eastwood and the Machinery of Violence."

Maclean's, August 14, 2000, "Stratospheric Seniors," p. 46.

McCall's, June, 1987.

Millimeter, December, 1980.

Nation, July 5, 1980.

New Republic, October 31, 1988, Stanley Kauffmann, "Leaning on Lives," pp. 26-28.

Newsweek, June 23, 1980, David Ansen, "Clint Goes Soft," p. 77; July 22, 1985; April 7, 1986; April 21, 1986; October 31, 1988, Jack Kroll, "Clint Makes Bird Sing," pp. 68-71; August 10, 1992, David Ansen, "Bloody Good and Bloody Awful," p. 52; October 13, 2003, David Ansen, "The Walking Wounded," p. 70.

New York, August 24, 1992, David Denby, "How the West Was Lost," pp. 119-20.

New Yorker, January 14, 1974, Pauline Kael, "Current Cinema"; January 23, 1984; August 12, 1985; July 12, 1993; June 19, 1995; August 19, 2002, David Denby, "Action!"

New York Times, June 17, 1979; January 11, 1981; February 24, 1985.

New York Times Magazine, February 24, 1985, John Vinocur, "Clint Eastwood, Seriously."

Parade, October 23, 1983, Norman Mailer, "All the Pirates and People."

People, October 8, 1990, Ralph Novak, review of White Hunter, Black Heart, pp. 14-15; October 13, 2003, Leah Rozen, review of Mystic River, p. 29.

Premiere, April, 1993, Peter Buskind, "Any Which Way He Can," p. 52.

Psychology Today, January-February, 1993, Stuart Fischoff, "Clint Eastwood & the American Psyche—A Rare Interview," p. 38.

Reel West, October-November, 1992.

Rolling Stone, October 18, 1990, Peter Travers, "The Past Picture Show," p. 45; September 17, 1992; June 29, 1995; August 24, 1995.

Show, February, 1970.

Sight and Sound, spring, 1985, Tony Rayns, "Clint at Claridges"; October, 1992, Richard Combs, "Shadowing the Hero."

Society, September-October, 1993, Robert E. Kapsis, "Clint Eastwood's Politics of Reputation," p. 68.

Time, January 9, 1978; August 27, 1984, Richard Schickel, "The Gams and Guns of August," p. 64; April 6, 1987, Paul A. Witteman, "No More Baby Kissing," p. 34; November 29, 1993; June 5, 1995, Richard Schickel, "The Cowboy and the Lady," pp. 62-64; August 14, 2000, Richard Corliss, "Clint Does It the Old Way," p. 70.

Variety, August 28, 2000, p. F12; September 11, 2000, p. 52; May 26, 2003, Todd McCarthy, "Classy River Runs Deep," pp. 25-26.

Vogue, February, 1993, p. 220.*

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