Clint Eastwood-Invictus

Clint Eastwood was a shy middle class child who had many rich friends. He was always talented in sports and music though he didn’t join any school teams or groups. He was approached to become part of the school basketball team because of his height and physical fitness but he was more interested in golf and tennis. Eastwood was born in San Francisco but moved up and down the west coast with his parents since his father was a steelworker. He attended Oakland Technical High School and had intentions on attending Seattle University to major in music but he was drafted into the army during the Korean War. Eastwood’s first part was in a minor role as lab technician in the film Revenge of the Creature (1955), the sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon. He had a bumpy ride as a first time actor as he was turned down for many roles and made little money. He became discouraged after shooting the film Ambush at Cimarron Pass in 1958, even though it was his biggest part yet, and contemplated leaving his acting career behind altogether. He claimed that this was his lowest point in his acting career and that the movie was the “lousiest Western ever made”. I’m sure I can speak for many people when I state that I’m glad Eastwood did not give up his career in 1958. Imagine what a gem the film industry would have lost. Eastwood decided to give it another shot and signed on with his new agent Bill Shiffrin. Shiffrin suggested Eastwood audition at CBS for a one-hour-long TV show. An executive for the show Rawhide spotted Clint in the canteen of the studio. The executive asked Eastwood how tall he is and he replied that he is 6’4″. Clint was then invited to a screen test and ended up landing the role of Rowdy Yates, beating actor Bing Russell (Kurt Russell’s father). He was on the TV show Rawhide from 1959-1964. Eastwood was offered the lead in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars in 1964 as Joe “The Man with No Name”. Actor Richard Harrison was one of the actors considered for this role but he instead suggested producers look at Eastwood for the part. Harrison said, “Maybe my greatest contribution to cinema was not doing Fistful of Dollars, and recommending Clint for the part”. This film was a hit in the U.S. and Europe and was the spark that ignited Eastwood’s film career. He would go on to win numerous awards for his acting including Best Actor in 2008 from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures for his work in Grand Torino. Clint Eastwood has starred in 59 movies throughout his career, 31 of which he directed. Play Misty for Me (1971) was the first film directed by Clint Eastwood. He also played the part of Dave Garver in this movie, a radio D.J. who is stalked by a crazed female fan. It is said that this film set the stage for future female stalker films like Fatal Attraction. Eastwood has made many contributions to film with his superior directing and won numerous awards for directing Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Unforgiven. At age 74, Eastwood became the oldest person to win the Academy Award for Best Director. Eastwood has earned his share of Lifetime Achievement Awards as well as honorary degrees from Universities. He was the first recipient for the Jack Valenti Humanitarian Award for sending society a positive message with the films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima both released in 2006. He received the Legion d’honneur in 2007, a high honor in France where the president deemed him “the best of Hollywood”. Japan also hailed Eastwood’s achievements, giving him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in April 2009. Clint Eastwood’s list of awards goes on for miles, but the one thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that Clint Eastwood has followed his dreams to the fullest. He didn’t give up on acting when things were difficult and he went on to become a producer, writer and director. The most admirable part of all his accomplishments is the fact that Eastwood always had a passion for music but was always so busy with his acting and directing that singing and touring with other musicians was placed on the back burner. Eastwood would eventually attend Berklee College of Music and receive his honorary Doctor of Music degree in 2007 when he was 77 years old.

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