Clint Eastwood has graced the silver screen for 60 years! He’s played a variety of roles, but there is a personal side to Clint that many don’t know about. He’s an amazing 86-years-young and lives a healthy lifestyle while taking on a conservative position when it comes to politics, something that is rare in Hollywood.
His childhood was difficult, and once you learn how this guy started out, you will admire him even more.
He was born Clinton “Clint” Eastwood Jr. on May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, California. His dad, Clinton Eastwood Sr., was a steelworker and migrant worker. His mom, Margaret Ruth (Runner) Eastwood, was a factory worker.
He was a big kid right out of the gate. A big 11.59 lbs. at birth gave him the nickname “Samson.” Very rare for a baby to be that big back in 1930!
His family moved often, but finally settled in Piedmont California where Clint went to the Piedmont Junior High School.
He struggled with school and got into trouble. Nearly every summer meant summer school!
In high school he skyrocketed to 6’4 in height. He had athletic talent as well as musical talents. But he didn’t go for team sports or the school band. He was more into solo sports like tennis and golf, and solo musical endeavors like playing the piano.
But as a teen, he was into cars, jazz music, and of course, girls! His dad got him a car for 25 bucks and that became his passion, even more so than the ladies. Though “fast cars and easy women” did become his motto.
The reckless Eastwood ended up riding his bike through the school’s field after it rained. The wet turf was torn up and in turn he was refused enrollment from the school.
He then went to Oakland Technical High School. That’s where drama class began. He was encouraged by teachers but says he was “far too shy to step foot on stage.”
It was auto mechanics and aircraft maintenance that Clint took to as he rebuilt both aircraft and car engines.
He pursued the piano as well, becoming a dedicated student. A friend even said how he “would actually play the piano until his fingers were bleeding.”
It was 1949 when his father moved to a plant in Seattle but to finish out the high school in Oakland, Eastwood moved in with friend Harry Pendleton, while working a bunch of jobs which included: lifeguard, hay baler, paper carrier, grocery clerk, forest firefighter, golf caddy, and he also had a gig playing some ragtime piano at a small local bar.
He would rejoin up with his family in Seattle and he ended up working at the Weyerhaeuser Company pulp mill in Springfield, Oregon, where his dad worked.
He then enrolled in Seattle University in 1951. But then he was drafted into the United States Army and was assigned to Fort Ord in California. There he was assigned as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.
He got $67 a month salary, but he also would work long hours for Spreckles Sugar Refining Company on a loading dock.
He returned home for a weekend and was aboard a Douglas AD-1 bomber when it ran out of gas and crashed in the ocean. Eastwood would end up escaping from the wreckage and swimming 3 miles to shore without serious injury.
“I thought I might die. But then I thought, other people have made it through these things before. I kept my eyes on the lights on shore and kept swimming.”
Through the military, signs kept appearing which would eventually lead him to Hollywood. The near-death experience would cement in his destiny to become an actor.
During the service he met TV actors stationed in Fort Ord, Martin Milner, David Janssen, and Chuck Hill. Chuck had actual connections in Hollywood.
It was the spring of ‘52 that he moved back to Seattle with family and worked as a lifeguard. He saved up money and rather than go back to school, he headed to Los Angeles to give the acting thing a go.
It would be several years before anything would happen. He worked as an apartment manager at day and pumped gas at night.
Then he hooked back up with Chuck Hill. A good looking telephone operator helped to sneak Clint into Universal studio where cameraman Irving Glassberg was. He was impressed with the appearance of Clint and thought 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 worked nights. Lubin was quickly impressed commenting how he was “so tall and slim and very handsome looking.”
Then the first audition came. But Lubin was skeptical.
“He was quite amateurish. He didn’t know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything.”
Glassberg encouraged Clint to keep going and even to take drama classes. He would arrange for a contract for Eastwood in April of 1954 for $100 a week.
Clint was good at showing anger on screen despite his otherwise camera self-consciousness.
He even made Betty Jane Howarth cry during one improvised scene they did.
His awkward manner as well as his speech was criticized heavily.
He was actually very stiff and uncomfortable when performing in front of people. No way was this guy a leading man it seemed. While he may have been a “ladies man” off screen, on screen he simply did not come off as such.
Here’s how John Saxon, a fellow actor at the talent school, described Eastwood at the time:
He said he was “being like a kind of hayseed.. Thin, rural, with a prominent Adam’s Apple, very laconic and slow speechwise.”
It took several years of more acting classes, and more menial jobs. He didn’t give up, and thankfully his hard work did end up paying off. Even through all the many rejections where Eastwood was continually criticized for his whispering style voice and delivery, he kept going, and found a way to flip the switch, making these so-called negative traits that he couldn’t seem to shake, turning them into positive features that would end up landing him iconic roles. In The Man with No Name, Eastwood would employ that whispering voice through clenched teeth and the results was very effective.
He then began landing a number of parts in both pilots and small films, but he was still very much struggling. Still, Clint would simply not give up. He went on to apply to a number of different day jobs, while continuing to take acting class after acting class, while also training at the gym as hard as ever.
This was a period where Eastwood felt, as he said, “really depressed”. He views that time as the lowest point in his career. This was the time where he finally considered quitting the game altogether. He was serious about throwing in the towel and began to believe that perhaps he should finally go back to school and start to do something real with his life.
He had some real life toughness to him, and certainly had been put to the test with real experiences he had had in the past. But translating that toughness on screen was actually a big struggle. His friends were once confronted and threatened by Latin thugs on the street at gunpoint and Clint stepped up and defended his buddies.
His friends turned and were ready to run, but Clint didn’t budge. He stood firmly and stated to the thugs, “Go on and pull that trigger, you little son of a bitch, and I’ll kill you before I hit the ground.” It was the thugs that ended up running off.
There was yet another incident where they were all at a bar, and Clint was called out by a group of sailors who taunted him because of his long and wavy hair. They actually called Eastwood a “Hollywood faggot” and then one took a shot at Eastwood, punching him in the face. But Clint quickly turned the tables and the end result was two of the men ending up in the hospital and the others with injuries as well.
Now 28, and six years into his life in L.A., a casting call came out for what was described as “an hour-long Western series.” This would be the call that would change Clint’s life forever.
It was one week after the screen test. Finally, he had beat out his acting competition. And that competition included Kurt Russell’s father, Bing Russell. Clint secured the role for “Rowdy Yates”. The show was on CBS, and it was called Rawhide.
Eastwood played a young reckless and irresponsible cowboy. The character was immature, but due to Eastwood’s rugged portrayal, he ended up charming everyone who watched the show.
It was set in the hot Arizona heat in the summer of ‘58 and lasted all the way until 1965. These would prove to be the most grueling years ever for Eastwood as far as his career went. This is when acting meant a six day a week schedule with 12 hour shoot days in the hot Arizona heat, with likely a lot less of the comforts that actors experience today. Working past the point of exhaustion was par for the course and Eastwood’s tough work ethic carried him through it all.
It was only three weeks after it’s premiere in 1959 that Rawhide reached the top 20 ratings for TV. It earned critical acclaim, winning the American Heritage Award as the “Best Western Series on TV.” “Best Episode” nominations were earned several times by the Writer’s and Director’s Guilds.
In August 1959, Eastwood was interviewed for his Rawhide role, and the focus was on Eastwood’s excellent shape and how he did pushups at his home. He was clearly ahead of his time as he warned readers against eating carbs, not drinking sugary drinks, and instead loading up on veggies, fruits and vitamins. Still to this day he sticks to these ideals.
It was July 21, 1970 when Eastwood’s father died tragically. It was an unexpected heart attack at only 64. His grandfather had lived to be 92, so the death was a total shock to Eastwood and he was struggling to deal with it, yet became extra motivated to work more diligently than ever before.
He even increased his health and fitness regimen. No more hard liquor and an increased appetite to stay as fit as possible.
It was after huge success knocking off a whopping 217 Rawhide episodes, when Clint began landing the big parts in movies. He played “The Man With No Name” in the movie A Fistful of Dollars.
Here’s how Eastwood described his character:
“In Rawhide I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat. The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an anti-hero.I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long. I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience.”
He would end up being in over 50 films, with 42 of those having starring roles. Everything from westerns to comedies, as well as dramas and shoot ‘em up action films.
Not only acting, but Eastwood would end up directing and producing. He directed in 1971 and in 1982, his debut as a producer was with the movies Firefox and Honkytonk Man.
He’s received awards and nominations for his work in the following movies:
Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby, among others.
The awards include Academy Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and People’s Choice Awards.
Apparently he has ended up grossing over $1.71 billion domestically, with an average of $37 million per film.
American Sniper, released on January 16, 2015, had the biggest box office opening weekend ever for a film released in January.
He took heat from liberal Hollywood for making the movie American Sniper, which was about the heroic fallen U.S. Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. He was told that it would win zero awards. Clint’s response? He said “We’re not making the picture for awards.”
Eastwood has indeed run against the grain when it comes to liberal Hollywood as he has been an outspoken and strong conservative, never afraid to speak the truth.
Hannity even asked Eastwood why he pushed so many buttons politically when given the opportunity, and Clint simply said the following:
“I just felt one day, we [referring to actors in Hollywood] never stepped up to do anything. And I thought, you know… we are kinda chicken, we’re sitting here going, ‘we’ll let somebody else do it.’ If it makes the right people angry, then good. Maybe it will wake them up!”
Clint has certainly stepped up to the plate and walked the walk.
Even after his criticism for supporting our Second Amendment, the actor responded in classic Eastwood fashion:
“I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.”
Then of course there was the empty-chair speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012 which liberals just could not stand. Here was an 85-year-old legend, and he uses an empty chair to address the empty Obama presidency with all of it’s empty promises and utterly misleading leadership.
Of course now the liberal media has their panties all knotted up over Clint’s compliments of Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
“I think people are looking for somebody who is outspoken and who isn’t afraid. And he [Trump] seems to have kind of a fearless attitude.”
While the majority of all other wealthy actors squander their lifestyle on riches and excess, here is Clint, one of the wealthiest out of all of them, yet his lifestyle remains modest as he focuses on investing in his children while living casually in Sun Valley, Idaho.
He values the privacy of his family and that is very difficult being as famous as he is while having seven kids to protect.
Scott Eastwood, Clint’s son, posted a recent photo which pretty much sums it up:
“Family dinner. 3 of my sisters and my brother. And who is that good looking guy? My pops. The man, the myth, the legend.”
Eastwood is not perfect and this he admits. A lot of mistakes were made and he recognizes this. His womanizer days is not something he is proud of. His lack of self-esteem has caused failed relationships and unfaithfulness. He eventually turned things around and placed focused on being a true family man, while stressing to his kids to never, ever, allow fame to go to their heads.
Here’s Scott once again:
“He [his father, Clint Eastwood] didn’t care if I was a plumber or if I was an actor. He just said, ‘Whatever you do, do it well. Be humble, work hard and be a man.’”
No handouts in the Eastwood household. You work hard and you earn your own money. That’s the Eastwood way.
Scott explained how it was growing up with this kind of structure:
“My dad was pretty old school. I’ve had a job since I can remember and it’s not like he was like, ‘Hey, what kind of car do you want?’” he says with a laugh. “My first car was a ’91 Ford Crown Victoria that was $1,000. And I had to buy every car after that. I had to do it all.”
While most young siblings of actors turn out as soft as can be, Scott Eastwood was truly molded into a hardcore man by his father. And he knows this as he states how his father “made me into a man!”
The now 86-year-old has had five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and numerous other honors. The main awards are his children though.
Eastwood is the prime example of what happens when you work hard and do not give up, despite of all the negatives you are being told. He was never, ever, supposed to become a lead actor. Yet he became one of our greatest lead actors ever.
Share this inspiring story of Clint Eastwood with all of your friends and family to remind them of how old school values are what separate the men from the boys, and what eventually lead to absolute greatness.