Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
May 31, 1930
Currently Known For:
Actor, filmmaker, musician and political figure
Man With No Name trilogy, Dirty Harry series, Unforgiven
“Go ahead, make my day.” There was a time when Spaghetti Westerns were all the rage in Hollywood, and part of that is thanks to actor Clint Eastwood. Eastwood would star in several different Westerns on both television and on the big screen, making him the ultimate macho character in entertainment.
Eastwood knew that he wanted to star in Western films. “Every kid wanted to be in a Western and every kid wanted to pack a gun and ride a horse,” Eastwood said. It wasn’t always easy growing up, as Eastwood said that he was very shy and moved several times while growing up. “I was always the new guy in school, so they thought ‘He’s just a gangly guy here, we gotta take him on…’ In those days you just said ‘Hey, shut up!’ and punched the guy.”
During his early 20s, Eastwood would get his first shot at fame in Hollywood when he was discovered by an assistant that suggested using the tall actor to star on the show “Rawhide”. Eastwood wasn’t well versed in acting at that point, though, making for some growing pains on the set and leading him into getting acting classes. It would be a few more years before “Rawhide” to make it onto television as Eastwood was still developing as an actor and landing some more supporting roles.
“Rawhide” was one of the most popular shows on television for a few years, but started to wane in popularity. Eastwood was interested in branching out into films, including getting some time behind the camera as a director. Interestingly enough, Eastwood’s biggest film role to that point would come when Eric Fleming, who co-starred on “Rawhide”, was offered the starring role in “A Firstful of Dollars”, but rejected it and allowing Eastwood to get the role.
The film wasn’t expected to be a hit, directed by an Italian company that had little-known director Sergio Leone. “The idea of making a Western in Italy sounded odd, but then it turned out well,” Eastwood said. “I always thought at the time this thing will either do really well or it won’t do anything. Probably the latter. I thought ‘This thing is really gonna bomb out, but I’m gonna get a trip to Italy or Spain.’”
Eastwood was excited to play a different kind of cowboy than he had played on “Rawhide”, becoming more of a darker anti-hero instead of the ultimate good guy. The success of the film spawned a pair of sequels, with “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” being released over the next few years. The Man With No Name became one of the most iconic film characters of all-time as a result.
Following the success of “Rawhide” and the trilogy of films, Eastwood was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and was a must-have name for producers. He would release films such as “Hang ‘Em High”, Where Eagles Dare” and “Paint Your Wagon” for the remainder of the 1960s, continuing to establish himself as a huge action star.
The 1970s would prove to be just as fruitful for Eastwood as he starred in the successful film “Dirty Harry” and was even offered to take over for Sean Connery as James Bond, but turned it down because he didn’t want an American playing the role. Eastwood would remain successful, though, starring in many different films and also dabbling more in the directing side of Hollywood.
The 1990s would prove to be a lull in Eastwood’s career, but the new millennium had much bigger things in store for the actor that had become more of a full-time director. He’d start off the 2000s by directing “Space Cowboys”, followed up by his critical successes in the form of “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby”. The latter would end up being the second film that Eastwood directed that won him the Oscar for Best Director (as well as Best Picture) after his 1993 film “Unforgiven”.
Eastwood would also get back in front of the camera with “Gran Torino”, which he also directed, and the film would be the biggest financial success in Eastwood’s illustrious career. In recent years, he’d also direct the films “American Sniper”, “Sully” and “The 15:17 to Paris” that would all find success on the big screen.
Now 87 years old, Eastwood is still one of the most successful directors in Hollywood, and between that and his acting, it’s made him very rich with an estimated net worth of around $400 million. We’ve also seen Eastwood get much more involved in politics in the past decade or so, as a registered Libertarian that has spoken at the Republican National Convention.
Many of Eastwood’s films in recent years have focused on people who have fought against terrorism, saying that his films are more of a “tribute to the common man.” Of course, he’s always outspoken against the younger generations, saying that “The political correctness era that we’re in is really not doing anyone any good. It’s taking everyone and weakening society. It doesn’t seem that people have to take themselves so serious.” He added that “I’m never cautious about what I say because, you know, I’ve been around for a long time, what can they do?”