Prolific actor and director Clint Eastwood was born on this day, May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, California.
He and his family moved a number of times before settling in Piedmont, California, reports Britannica.
Eastwood was drafted during the Korean War and stationed in California — and upon his discharge from the Army in 1953, Eastwood moved to Hollywood.
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Likely best-known for portraying police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan, the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker started his noteworthy career with a screen test with Universal in 1954 — which netted him a 40-week contract.
But after one renewal and a series of bit parts in such movies as “Tarantula” (1955) and “Revenge of the Creature” (1955), his option was dropped, according to Britannica.
He appeared in several TV series before he got his big break in 1959, when he was cast as Rowdy Yates in the popular TV western “Rawhide” (1959–65), according to Britannica.
Eastwood also enjoyed international stardom during the 1960s when he played The Man with No Name — a fearless gunfighter whose stoicism masked his brutality. The character appeared in Italian westerns, popularly known as “spaghetti westerns,” directed by Sergio Leone.
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Those films include 1964’s “Per un pugno di dollar,” or “A Fistful of Dollars”; 1965’s “Per qualche dollari in più,” or “For a Few Dollars More,” and 1966’s “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo,” or “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” according to Turner Classic Movies.
Eastwood made his mark in “Dirty Harry” in 1971.
In 1967, the three films played in the United States and were immediate commercial successes, establishing Eastwood as a box-office star, noted the same source.
While continuing to appear in Western motion pictures throughout the 1970s, Eastwood made his mark in “Dirty Harry” in 1971, in which he first portrayed police inspector Harry Callahan, says Britannica.
“The film proved to be one of Eastwood’s most successful, spawning four sequels and establishing the no-nonsense character Dirty Harry — known for such catchphrases as ‘Go ahead, make my day’ — as a cinema icon,” the source recounted.
Over the next years, some career highlights included his directing debut with “Play Misty for Me” (1971), plus starring in “Every Which Way But Loose” (1978), “Escape From Alcatraz” (1979) and “Any Which Way You Can” in 1980.
Eastwood continued to branch out in both directorial, production and acting roles.
But Eastwood reached full fruition as a filmmaker with his Oscar-winning Western, “Unforgiven” (1992), says Turner Classic Movies.
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Off-screen, Eastwood pursued an interest in politics, serving as mayor of Carmel, California, from 1986-1988, History.com noted.
In 1995, he starred with Meryl Streep in the romantic drama “The Bridges of Madison County,” based on the novel of the same name; it introduced his talents to a new generation of fans.
Eastwood continued to branch out in both directorial, production and acting roles in such box-office smash films as “Mystic River” (2003), “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) and “Letters From Iwo Jima” (2006).
At age 74, Eastwood was the oldest person ever to be honored with a Best Director Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004.
All of them earned considerable acclaim while cementing Eastwood as one of the truly great creative talents in cinematic history, says the same source.
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At age 74, Eastwood was the oldest person ever to be honored with a Best Director Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004, according to TV Guide.
In 2006, Eastwood became only the 31st filmmaker in 70 years to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America, notes History.com.
That year, Eastwood directed a pair of World War II-themed movies, “Flags of Our Fathers” (2006) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006).
The latter film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and a fourth Best Director nomination for Eastwood, the same source recounted.
Eastwood next directed “Invictus” (2009), the “inspiring story of rugby captain Francois Pienaar, who led his team toward an unlikely World Cup championship in 1995,” says Turner Classic Movies.
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Eastwood’s more recent films include “J. Edgar” (2011), “American Sniper” (2014), “Sully” (2016), “The Mule” (2018), “Richard Jewell” (2019) and “Cry Macho” (2021), says History.com.
Eastwood has eight children — six daughters and two sons.