CLINT EASTWOOD DIRECTORIAL BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
“My involvement goes deeper than acting or directing. I love every aspect of the creation of motion pictures and I guess I'm committed to it for life.”- Clint Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood is an American film actor, director, producer, and composer.
He has appeared in over 55 films and has received multiple awards and nominations including; Academy Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and People's Choice Awards, as well as innumerable Film Festival and Critic's Choice Awards.
Born on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, Clint was an unusually large baby at eleven pounds and six ounces. His family is of English, Scottish, Dutch, and Irish ancestry, and he was raised in a “typical middle-class home” by his parents, Clint Sr. and Ruth. His family relocated often, as his father worked at different jobs along the West Coast. They finally settled in Piedmont, California, where Eastwood attended Piedmont Junior and Senior High School.
Clint was interested in movies at a very early age and remembers clearly, “One of the first films I went to - I went with my dad because my mother didn't want to go see a war movie - was “Sergeant York” (1941). My dad was a big admirer of Sergeant York stories from World War I. It was directed by Howard Hawks. That was when I first became aware of movies, who made them, who was involved. When I grew up there was such a variety of movies being made. You could go see “Sergeant York” (1941) or “Sitting Pretty” (1948) or “Sullivan's Travels” (1941), dozens of pictures, not to mention all the great B movies.”
Clint held a series of jobs as a teenager while his family moved to different areas, including paper boy, grocery clerk, lifeguard and golf caddy.
After graduating from high school in 1949, Eastwood intended to attend college and major in music theory. However, in 1950 he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was stationed at Fort Ord, where his certificate as a lifeguard got him appointed as a life-saving and swimming instructor. His duties at Fort Ord brought him into contact with many film and television actors who had joined the Army through the Special Services program, including John Saxon, David Janssen, and Martin Milner. In 1951, while on leave, Eastwood rode in a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes. After escaping from the sinking fuselage, he and the pilot swam three miles to the shore.
According to his official biography, Clint began pursuing an interest in film with the help of his friend from Fort Ord, Chuck Hill. Hill had contacts in Hollywood and managed to sneak Eastwood into a Universal Studios set, where he showed him to cameraman Irving Glassberg. Glassberg was impressed with Eastwood's appearance and stature and believed him to be "the sort of good looking young man that has traditionally done well in the movies". Glassberg arranged for director Arthur Lubin to meet Eastwood at the gas station where he was working in the evenings in Los Angeles. Lubin, like Glassberg, was highly impressed and promptly arranged for Eastwood's first audition. However, he was somewhat less enthusiastic after seeing the audition, remarking, "He was quite amateurish. He didn't know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything."
Success as an actor did not come easily for Eastwood, and he decided to begin by trying out for bit parts in movies. He found work as an actor with brief, uncredited, appearances in such 'B' films as “Tarantula” (1955) and “Revenge of the Creature” (1955), which led to credited supporting roles in “Francis in the Navy” (1955), “The First Traveling Saleslady” (1956), “Lafayette Escadrille” (1958) and “Ambush at Cimarron Pass” (1958).
As the saying goes, overnight success took Clint almost ten years. He got his breakthrough at the end of the decade with the TV series "Rawhide" (1959), where he was a cast member for six years. Playing the role of Rowdy Yates, Eastwood became a household name around the country, and that recognition led to even bigger and better things with a starring part in an Italian film: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) directed by Sergio Leone. The success of “A Fistful of Dollars” in Europe lead to its sequels “For a Few Dollars More” (1965), and the iconic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). The trilogy reinvented the classic western, and had a huge impact on Clint, not only in his fame and fortune, but also in how he perceived the art of making movies.
With his new found success Eastwood started up his Malpaso Productions Company, and co-produced “Hang 'Em High” (1968). The film became a major success after release in July 1968 and became the biggest United Artists opening to that point, even exceeding all of the James Bond films at that time. It debuted at number five on Variety's weekly survey of top films and had made its production costs back within two weeks of screening. It was also a widely praised critical success, being cited by Arthur Winsten of the New York Post as, "A Western of quality, courage, danger and excitement".
1971 proved to be a professional turning point in Eastwood's career. Malpaso Productions allowed Eastwood the artistic control that he desired and he made his directorial debut in the thriller “Play Misty for Me” (1971). The film was highly acclaimed by many critics, with Time, the Village Voice, and the New York Post all praising Eastwood's directorial skills.
Following the great success of “Play Misty for Me”, Eastwood took on “High Plains Drifter” (1973), his first western as a director. In Eastwood's words, “I feel very close to the western. There are not too many American art forms that are original.” Obviously influenced by Sergio Leone's directorial style Eastwood also began to expand his talents as a filmmaker with “High Plains Drifter's” signature scenery, cinematography, and set production. Seen as one of the classic modern westerns, it is filled with a great deal of black humor and allegory. Interestingly, some of the headstones in the graveyard bear the names of Sergio Leone, Don Siegel, and Brian Hutton, as a tribute to those who had worked with Clint early in his career as an actor. As Eastwood himself said with a smile, “I buried my directors.”
Eastwood directed a string of successful movies including the quintessential western “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976), the action flick “The Gauntlet” (1977), “Firefox” (1982), “Pale Rider” (1985), and “Heartbreak Ridge” (1986), which were all big hits but did not become classics.
“Unforgiven” (1992), began a string of incredible success for Clint, earning him Oscars for Best Director and Producer of the Best Picture, as well as a nomination for Best Actor. (“Unforgiven” also earned Gene Hackman the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.)
But Eastwood's talent includes more than just westerns and action films, as witnessed by Clint returning to his love of music and directing “Bird” (1988), starring Forest Whitaker, about jazz great Charlie 'Bird' Parker. He is also the director who filmed “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995), a popular love story with Meryl Streep, in such loving and romantic detail.
In 2004 Eastwood expanded himself once again, starring opposite Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman in what is arguably the best film of his career: the boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby” (2004). A critical and commercial triumph, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as earning Eastwood a nomination for Best Actor and a win for Best Director. “Million Dollar Baby” highlights the directorial style Clint is well known for, which is very soft spoken and ensemble oriented. As he explains, “I like to direct the same way that I like to be directed. I like working with actors who don't have anything to prove. Having a good person as a foil certainly helps, because acting is an ensemble art form. Clark Gable is only as good as Claudette Colbert in “It Happened One Night” (1934).”
After “Million Dollar Baby” he took a four-year acting hiatus before starring in “Gran Torino” (2008). “Gran Torino” grossed $30 million during its opening weekend in 2009, making him the oldest leading man to reach #1 at the box office, and the movie is another of his biggest hits.
Like most superstars, Clint Eastwood's success can be attributed to equal parts good fortune, tenacity, and talent.
Clint sums it up this way, “I also wonder how I got this far in life. Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do. I was not a terribly good student or a very vivacious, outgoing person. I was just kind of a backward kid. I grew up in various little towns and ended up in Oakland, California, going to a trade school. I didn't want to be an actor, because I thought an actor had to be an extrovert - somebody who loved to tell jokes and talk and be a raconteur. And I was something of an introvert. My mother used to say: "You have a little angel on your shoulder." I guess she was surprised I grew up at all, never mind that I got to where I am. The best I can do is quote a line from “Unforgiven” (1992): 'Deserve's got nothing to do with it'."
1971 The Beguiled: The Storyteller (television)
1971 Play Misty for Me
1973 High Plains Drifter
1975 The Eiger Sanction
1976 The Outlaw Josey Wales
1977 The Gauntlet
1980 Bronco Billy
1982 Honkytonk Man
1983 Sudden Impact
1985 Pale Rider
1985 Amazing Stories: Vanessa in the Garden (television)
1986 Heartbreak Ridge
1990 White Hunter Black Heart
1990 The Rookie
1993 A Perfect World
1995 The Bridges of Madison County
1997 Absolute Power
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
1999 True Crime
2000 Space Cowboys
2002 Blood Work
2003 Mystic River
2003 The Blues: Piano Blues (television)
2004 Million Dollar Baby
2006 Flags of our Fathers
2006 Letters from Iwo Jima
2008 Gran Torino