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Clint Eastwood is the man behind countless iconic films. After getting his start in some of cinema’s most memorable westerns, he evolved into creating some of the most heart-wrenching, Academy Award-winning films in Hollywood. As an actor and director, his resume more than speaks for itself, but we delved into the archives to find out more about the private actor. Take a look into the life of a man who’s had an indefinable impact on the film industry.
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1930: A Young Clint Eastwood
The actor was born in San Francisco in 1930. The Eastwood family moved around throughout the Great Depression, until they finally settled in Oakland, California.
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1950: Serving in the Military
At the age of 20, he was called to serve in the Korean War. He was sent to a base in California and was discharged in 1953.
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1953: Headed for Hollywood
Eastwood enrolled in the Los Angeles City College after his discharge from the army and held a number of odd jobs to make ends meet until his friends encouraged him to get into film.
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1953: Getting Married
In 1953, Eastwood met Maggie Johnson, a model working in Los Angeles. The pair were set up on a blind date and got married six months later.
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1954: Signed to a Studio
After a screen test with Universal, Eastwood was signed to a 40-week contract. At first, the actor was tested in a series of small roles, like in Tarantula and Revenge of the Creature.
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1955: His First Feature Movie
In 1955, Eastwood secured his first role in a feature film. Although not a starring role, the young actor played a sailor named Jonesy in Francis in the Navy.
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1956: Another Movie
His next big part didn’t come for another year, but in the meantime he picked up small roles in television. In 1956, he starred in The First Traveling Saleslady.
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1956: Dropped By Universal
After Universal dropped Eastwood’s contract, the aspiring actor landed a few spots on TV shows, like Highway Patrol, but ultimately turned to digging swimming pools for work.
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1959: A Big Break
The actor caught his big break in 1959, when CBS cast him in their new western television series, Rawhide. Here, Eastwood leaves wardrobe on the CBS lot.
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1960: TV Success
With western programs at their peak in popularity, Eastwood made a name for himself in the genre as TV’s Rowdy Yates on the popular show.
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1964: The End of His Marriage
After 10 years of marriage, Eastwood and Johnson separated in 1964 after Eastwood’s affair with his Rawhide costar, Roxanne Tunis, resulted in the birth of a daughter, Kimber Tunis Eastwood.
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1965: Spaghetti Western Star
While working on Rawhide, Eastwood simultaneously appeared in a series of Italian Western films—dubbed Spaghetti Westerns—directed by Sergio Leone. The new films led to growing popularity for the actor, not only in the United States, but also internationally.
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1967: Box Office Star
In 1967, Eastwood had three Italian Westerns debut in the U.S.—A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). All were a huge success at the box office.
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1968: On Again, Off Again
Although Johnson and Eastwood remained separated, the pair did not officially divorce until 1984. They continued to have an on and off relationship, which resulted in the birth of their two children, Kyle Eastwood (1968) and Alison Eastwood (1972).
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1968: His First American Western
Eastwood successfully formed his own production company, Malpaso, in 1967. With the company, he produced his first American Western, Hang ‘Em High.
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1971: Making ‘Dirty Harry’
In the early ’70s, Eastwood starred in the first film from the Dirty Harry franchise. The actor played a tough and ruthless cop who would do whatever means necessary to solve a crime. The films became a sensation and are some of Eastwood’s most popular projects to this day.
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1971: Father and Son
Eastwood with his three-year-old son, Kyle, at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
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1972: Learning to Direct
The actor credits his Dirty Harry director, Don Siegel, with teaching him how to direct. Throughout the ’70s, Eastwood began directing films that he starred in, starting with his directorial debut in 1971, Play Misty for Me, which was followed by High Plains Drifter (1972), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), and The Gauntlet (1977).
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1977: A New Romance
Actress Sondra Locke and Eastwood struck up a romance on the set of The Gauntlet. Even though Eastwood wasn’t divorced from Johnson yet, he moved into a Bel-Air home with her. They were together for 12 years, during which time they made four films together.
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1978: Testing Out Comedy
In the ’70s, Eastwood began dabbling in comedy. He appeared with Jeff Bridges in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974 and starred in Every Which Way but Loose in 1978. These films were a blimp on his career and he soon after returned to dramas.
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1978: At Home With Dad
Eastwood and his daughter, Alison, at his home in Pebble Beach, California.
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1982: A Different Type of Film
Straying from his classic western and cop films, Eastwood starred in the musical drama, Honkytonk Man, which was one of his most successful films to date.
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1983: ‘Dirty Harry’ Returns
After a brief hiatus, the Dirty Harry franchise continued with Sudden Impact. Eastwood directed and starred in the film, alongside his girlfriend, Locke.
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1984: A Hollywood Honor
In 1984, the actor received the honor of placing his handprints into the sidewalk at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. His children, Kyle and Alison, look on. Later that year, Eastwood officially divorced their mother, after being separated for almost 20 years.
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1985: Another Big Hit
Sticking with what he does best, Eastwood starred in and directed Pale Rider in 1985. The film was a huge hit and one of the most popular westerns of the decade.
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1986: Clint for Mayor
The actor was elected Mayor of his small California town, Carmel by the Sea, in 1986.
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1989: Another Affair
Eastwood and Locke split up in 1989, after the actor’s affair with flight attendant Jacelyn Reeves resulted in the birth of a son, Scott Eastwood in 1984, and daughter, Kathryn Eastwood in 1986. The children grew up with their mother in Hawaii.
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1990: ‘White Hunter Black Heart’
Eastwood starred in the drama White Hunter Black Heart, which was based on the 1953 book of the same name by Peter Viertel. In it, he played a ’50s director who was shooting a film in Africa.
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1990: Another Relationship
The actor began dating his costar from Pink Cadillac, Frances Fisher, in 1990. The two lived together for the next five years. In 1993, they welcomed a daughter, Francesca Fisher.
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1992: Oscar Glory
Once again, Eastwood broke outside of his blockbuster hits to direct and star in Unforgiven. His dramatic performance won the film Best Picture and the actor Best Director at the Academy Awards.