Few actors are more iconic than Clint Eastwood. The legendary actor, director and producer has been living his best life in the film industry for more than half a century. Now, aged 91, it doesn’t seem like he’s ready to slow down.
From being an uncommitted acting student to a legend in the industry, Eastwood has been involved in a great deal of projects you can name. Given his advanced years and extreme work ethic one might think life is now taking its toll.
However, an insider recently told Closer what sort of condition Clint Eastwood is in. Safe to say, it’s just as we all expected.
Clint Eastwood was born Clinton Eastwood Jr on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, California.
Clint Eastwood – early life
Born in the midst of the Great Depression, Eastwood’s early days weren’t a bed of roses. His parents – Clinton Sr. and Ruth Eastwood – travelled around California looking for work. That, according to his mother, meant that Eastwood became a loner and “rootless”, since he didn’t have a place to belong.
Furthermore, Eastwood’s mother claimed that this was actually the reason why he became an actor at an early age, since he was used to playing with imaginary friends.
“I think kids are natural actors. You watch most kids; if they don’t have a toy they’ll pick up a stick and make a toy out of it,” Clint Eastwood told The Guardian.
“Kids will daydream all the time. I daydreamed constantly, I was a mediocre student because I would sit in the classroom, the leaves would rustle and I would be off on a journey somewhere. So it was tough to concentrate in those years.
“But it’s amazing, when kids concentrate on a game, to watch the intensity with which they do it.
“They can be extremely convincing. And the problem with becoming an actor as an adult is that as you grow up you pile all these inhibitions upon yourself, and all the social mores. You get kidded by people as you’re growing through your teenage years and into adulthood, and then, you’re at the stage where you don’t want to make a fool of yourself if at all possible.”
Clint Eastwood and his family eventually settled in Piedmont in the Bay Area. As a young boy, he was very interested in film. However, he had to wait until his early teens to be able to go to the movies.
Discovered his passion for film
And as you can imagine, once he did, it changed everything.
“We didn’t have television, most of our entertainment came by listening, from the radio. I don’t want to date myself – we didn’t exactly listen on crystal sets, but it was something a little more modern than that. But that was the way things went then,” he recalled.
“So going to the movies was a very big pleasure – all families went to movies together and sometimes adults would get a subject matter they didn’t want the kids to see. But by and large, people went a lot and it was a very nice family outing.”
Clint Eastwood loved watching films, and his interest rapidly grew. But it wasn’t until he went to see the war movie Sergeant York that he really became obsessed with the big screen. Suddenly, he wanted to know more about the people who made them and those involved – it would turn out to be a turning point regarding his life and its direction.
Eastwood graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1949. He went on to be drafted into the U.S Army, where he worked as a swimming instructor at Fort Ord at Monterey Bay, California.
Clint knew he didn’t want to be a swimming instructor for the rest of his life. His passion was acting, and so he decided to pursue his big dream.
Clint Eastwood – early career
In 1953, he left for Los Angeles, where he took classes at Los Angeles City College while working at a gas station.
However, school just wasn’t really Clint Eastwood’s cup of tea.
“I just joined acting classes and acted stupid. We would have acting classes where you do inhibition-relieving exercises or whatever they were, where you played chickens walking across the floor. How the hell do you play a chicken?” Eastwood told The Guardian.
“I don’t know but you tried all kinds of things like that. And you did all kinds of improvisation and they’d have you stand and just be. I had an acting coach who once said ‘Don’t just do something, stand there’.
“They wanted you to not be afraid to just be, just to stand there with your hands at your sides and be able to relate out and not be inhibited. There’s really no way to teach you how to act, but there is a way to teach you how to teach yourself to act.”
In his early days of acting, Eastwood wasn’t exactly a prodigy. There were few studios that thought he had what it took to become a great actor. However, the tall and handsome Clint finally landed a screen test with Universal, and soon after got a contract, despite his minimal experience.
In 1955, Clint Eastwood landed his first roles – and the rest is history.
“It takes a heck of a lot of luck”
Eastwood starred in a small film, Ambush, and after seeing the final edit, he started questioning if he really wanted to be an actor or not. In the mid- 1950s, he made his money by digging swimming pools in Encino.
As with many success stories, luck was a big factor for Eastwood.
One day, he ran into a person working at CBS on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles by accident. At the time, they were working on the western called Rawhide, and Eastwood ended up being one of the lead cast members.
He stayed on the show for six years – and it helped to jump-start his career.
“I always tell people it takes just a little bit of skill and a heck of a lot of luck,” he said. “I kept wanting to give up but you never quite give up. You always kind of hang in.”
In the 1960s, Eastwood worked with director Sergio Leone for a trio of Western films, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and of course, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The three classic “spaghetti westerns” became somewhat legendary, and Eastwood gained worldwide popularity.