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May 31: Celebrate the birth of actor/director Clint Eastwood!
Date: 5/31/2017 8:03 AM

Clint Eastwood "It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people's lives."

Today we celebrate the birth of actor/director Clint Eastwood—born in San Francisco, California on this date in 1930. After many unsuccessful acting auditions, he made his first movie appearance with an uncredited minor role in 1955's Revenge of the Creature, a sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon. He appeared in a number of other minor film roles and had a few television appearances through the mid-1950s, but his breakthrough came in 1958, when he was cast as Rowdy Yates in the TV western series Rawhide. The show was successful for several years, though it was eventually canceled during the 1965-66 season.

In late 1963, Eastwood's Rawhide co-star, Eric Fleming, rejected an offer to star in an Italian-made western called A Fistful of Dollars, by director Sergio Leone. Eastwood thought the film would be an opportunity to escape his Rowdy Yates image and auditioned for the part. The film proved to be a landmark in the development of "spaghetti Westerns" and made Eastwood a major star in Italy. He reprised his role as The Man With No Name in For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)—which also starred Eli Wallach. Collectively, the three films came to be known as the Dollars Trilogy or The Man With No Name Trilogy, and were released in the US in 1967.

Stardom brought more roles for Eastwood, who appeared in three films in 1968. He starred in the western Hang 'Em High, played an Arizona lawman in Coogan's Bluff, and starred alongside Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare. He followed with two more westerns, Paint Your Wagon in 1969, and Two Mules for Sister Sara in 1970.

Eastwood took on what may be his most memorable character in 1971, when he played the title role of Police Inspector Harry Calahan in Dirty Harry, a film that has been credited with inventing the "loose-cannon cop" genre. Eastwood would reprise his role in four sequels: Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988). The Dirty Harry series was the source for several popular catch-phrase quotes over the years, including "A man's got to know his limitations," " "Go ahead, make my day," and "Do you feel lucky, punk?" (actually a misquote of "You've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?")

Eastwood worked steadily throughout the next decades, often playing cowboys, soldiers, or police officers. His westerns included such films as Joe Kidd (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), and Pale Rider (1985). He also received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in Unforgiven (1992)—a film for which he also won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. Eastwood's police roles (in addition to the Dirty Harry series) included The Gauntlet (1977), Tightrope (1984), City Heat (1984), The Rookie (1990), In the Line of Fire (1993), A Perfect World (1993), and Blood Work (2002). His military roles have included a US Army Ranger in Kelly's Heroes (1970), an Air Force Major in Firefox (1982), and a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Heartbreak Ridge (1986).

Eastwood has shown his acting versatility in roles outside his usual western and military types, as well. In 1978 he starred in an uncharacteristic offbeat comedy role in Every Which Way But Loose as well as its 1980 sequel, Any Which Way You Can. He also played a country-western singer in the 1982 film, Honkytonk Man, a legendary movie director in White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), a photographer in the romance drama, The Bridges of Madison County (1995), a retired NASA engineer in Space Cowboys (2000), and an aging baseball scout in Trouble With the Curve (2012).

Clint Eastwood is also a successful and prolific director, often starring in his own films. His first directing credit was the 1971 thriller, Play Misty for Me, in which he played a disc jockey pursued by an obsessed fan. He was nominated for a Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for directing Pale Rider in 1985, and for White Hunter, Black Heart in 1990. He won a Best Director Oscar for Unforgiven in 1992, and was nominated agin in 2003 for Mystic River, one of only a few films that Eastwood directed but did not appear in. He won the Oscar again for his 2004 boxing film, Million Dollar Baby, a film which also earned Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Eastwood) and Best Screenplay (for screenwriter Paul Haggis). Eastwood and Haggis would both also receive Oscar nominations for the 2006 war film, Letters from Iwo Jima. Eastwood would also earn a Golden Globe nomination that same year for Flags of our Fathers, and for Invictus in 2010. Other recent films Eastwood has directed include Gran Torino (2008), Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys (2014), American Sniper (2014), and Sully (2016).

To date, Clint Eastwood has 70 acting credits and 39 directing credits to his name. He has also composed the scores for eight films, and produced 44 different film projects through his production company, malpaso Pictures. He has won four Academy Awards (out of nine nominations), five Golden Globes (14 nominations), and an Empire Award. Although he has twice been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, his wins have all been for Best Director or Best Picture. In 2006, he received a lifetime achievement award fron the Directors Guild of America.

Check out a Clint Eastwood DVD, at your Pinal County Libraries!

[SOURCES: Wikipedia, IMDb.com, Biography.com, ClintEastwood.net, and BrainyQuote.com]

 
 
 
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