CLINT EASTWOOD may have turned 70 today, but mention retirement and that leathery Dirty Harry grimace returns.
"What else could I do?" he says with a hint of mock indignation. "I'm not the retiring type. I think I'm the sort of person who'll always work."
The face certainly appears more weather-beaten and wrinkled and the hair is thinning but Clint Eastwood believes that, despite his advancing years, he can still be a hot property in Hollywood.
The inevitability of growing older certainly doesn't trouble the legendary actor who is happier than ever in his colourful personal life and can now pick and choose his professional projects.
He says: "I don't know what a person does if they don't carry on with what they love doing."
For the first time, it seems, Clint is totally content with his love life. He is happily married to newscaster Dina Ruiz, 34, and they have a three-year-old daughter, Morgan.
In his distinguished career, Clint has made 41 movies and directed 21 including Unforgiven in 1992 which won him best picture and best director Oscars.
And he is comforted in the knowledge that, having made his name and his millions no-one, not even the barbs of the critics, can bother him now.
He said: "As a friend of mine said the other day, there's one great thing to being in your seventies. What can they do to you?"
Hopefully, he still has a lot of living on both sides of the camera. His father died suddenly at the age of 63, but his paternal grandfather lived to 97.
Having generated almost $1billion in box-office business, Clint Eastwood is one of a select band of A-list actors who is also an A-list director.
His films include some of the undisputed greats of the past three decades including The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Pale Rider, Dirty Harry, Unforgiven and In The Line of Fire.
But he reached the pinnacle of his profession when he proudly stepped up to receive his Academy awards for Unforgiven.
Admittedly his career has cooled since then. But Clint refuses to view getting older with any negativity.
"Take Cary Grant," he says, referring to the late, English-born Hollywood heart-throb. "At some point he felt he had to retire. He felt nobody would want to watch him on screen. So he quit. He was such a great-looking man in his senior years, but for some reason he just lost interest.
"For me, the age is irrelevant. I've always looked for work that is character driven, and if those characters get a little older, well so am I."
Clint refuses to dwell on past mistakes and insists he is "a today person".
"Life is a constant lesson," he says with that statesmanlike wisdom. "Sometimes you learn it better than at other times. If you dwell on your old mistakes, you don't have time to avoid new ones."
Of all the older 20th century movie stars who are now of pensionable age, Clint Eastwood is one who could justifiably be called an icon.
He has been hailed as the second top movie cowboy of all time -eclipsed only by The Duke himself, John Wayne.
But he is not particularly flattered by the enduring adulation.
He says: "After you've been around for 40 years, people think, 'well, he won't go away. So I guess we'll call him something'. I may be old, but I hope I am not predictable.
"I'd like for my epitaph to read: 'He kept surprising them.'"
Clint began his career more than 40 years ago as the dashing cowboy Rowdy Yates in the TV series Rawhide. He made the transition from television to film with a trio of atmospheric spaghetti westerns - Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.
Clint was the Man With No Name and created a macho image that he has kept right up until his most recent film, True Crime.
In 1970, he added a distinguished director's feather to …