Eastwood, Clint

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Eastwood, Clint

Clint Eastwood (Clinton Eastwood, Jr.), 1930–, American actor and director, b. San Francisco. Eastwood, who began his acting career in 1955, came to public attention in the TV Western Rawhide and in so-called spaghetti Westerns (usually filmed in Italy), such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). As an actor, Eastwood is best known for portraying strong, silent, often violent heroes in action films. He has starred in more than 40 movies, including Dirty Harry (1972), Magnum Force (1973), The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976), and In the Line of Fire (1993). Films in which he is both director and star include Play Misty for Me (1971), Sudden Impact (1983), the Academy Award–winning Unforgiven (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), True Crime (1999), Blood Work (2002), and Gran Torino (2008). Eastwood scored a critical and box-office success as director of Mystic River (2003), a haunting cinematic parable of violence and revenge. The following year he directed and starred in Million Dollar Baby, the saga of a young female boxer and her grizzled trainer, which garnered Academy Awards for best director and picture. He also directed Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima (both: 2006), which explore the battle for Iwo Jima and its echoes from the American and Japanese perspectives, respectively. He subsequently directed the somber drama Changeling (2008), explored the possibility of an afterlife and of communicating with the dead in the contemplative Hereafter (2010), and examined the public and private lives J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar (2011). A gifted musician who has written scores for a number of his films, he also served as mayor of Carmel, Calif., from 1986 to 1988.

See Clint Eastwood: Interviews (1999), ed. by K. Coblentz; biographies by J. Ryder (1987), B. McCabe (1996), and R. Schickel (1996); studies by L. Pfeiffer and B. Zmijewsky (rev. ed. 1988) and P. Smith (1993).

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