Interviews


Clint Eastwood


Occupation: Actor, Composer, Director, Musician, Politician, Producer
Date of Birth: May 31, 1930
Place of Birth: San Francisco, Calif., USA
Sign: Sun in Gemini, Moon in Leo
Relations: Wife: Dina Ruiz; ex-wife: Maggie Johnson; ex-girlfriends: Sondra Locke (actress), Frances Fisher (actress); kids: Kimber (with actress Roxanne Tunis), Kyle and Alison (both with Johnson), Francesca (with Fisher), Morgan (with Ruiz)
Education: Los Angeles City College; Honorary Ph.D., Wesleyan University

 

LIKE most superstars, Clint Eastwood's success can be attributed to equal parts good fortune, tenacity, and talent. On leave as a G.I., his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean: he swam three miles to shore, was made boot camp swimming instructor, and missed out on action in Korea. Encouraged to try acting by two of his Army buddies, David Janssen and Martin Milner, he landed a contract at Universal Studios in 1954, earning 75 dollars a week playing bit parts in movies like Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula. He was dropped when some execs decided his Adam's apple was too big. He swallowed his pride and, over the next few years, he dug swimming pools between playing bit parts in movies and on TV.

While visiting a friend at CBS, Eastwood was spotted by a network exec who cast him as cattle driver Rowdy Yates in the long-running western series Rawhide. That, in turn, led to spaghetti stardom in a string of Sergio Leone westerns, beginning with A Fistful of Dollars. He made his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me in 1971, the same year he made his bow as Dirty Harry, the Magnum-toting cop who cemented his reputation as a superstar. Throughout the '70s, he was the world's biggest box-office draw, but his critical reputation didn't begin to turn until 1980, when New York's Museum of Modern Art honored him with a career retrospective. In 1985, he was decorated by the French, and, the year after that, he was elected mayor of a Northern California seaside community, Carmel.

In 1988, after a two-year hiatus, he returned to film: he starred in the fifth and seemingly final Dirty Harry adventure, The Dead Pool, and directed the critically acclaimed Charlie Parker biopic, Bird. In his sixties, Clint's chiseled cheeks and rugged, thin-lipped charm seemed as sexy as ever, and coupled with decades of professional efficiency, he was ripe for enshrinement. In 1992, he won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Unforgiven, an artful, existential Western in which he starred with Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. With In the Line of Fire, a 1993 thriller in which he plays an aging secret service agent, Eastwood proved that he was firmly on top of  not over  the hill. At 65, he earned the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy, and bit into the plum romantic role of photographer Robert Kincaid (opposite Meryl Streep) in The Bridges of Madison County.

While Eastwood has tried to keep his personal life largely private, choosing to live out of the Hollywood limelight, in Carmel, he has seen his fair share of scandal. Married in 1954 to Maggie Johnson, he fathered a daughter, Kimber, by actress Roxanne Tunis in 1964. He and Maggie later had two kids of their own, but the couple split in the late '70s, when Eastwood took up with sometime co-star Sondra Locke. His split from Locke was even more traumatic, leading to multimillion-dollar lawsuits against Eastwood and his studio, Warner Bros. Eastwood and Locke finally settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. On a much happier note, Eastwood married television news journalist Dina Ruiz, 35 years his junior, and the couple had a baby daughter in December 1996.

Now closing in on 70, Eastwood shows little signs of slowing down: he produced, directed, and starred in the 1997 political thriller Absolute Power, and produced and directed an ambitious adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt's best-selling non-fiction account of a murder trial in Savannah, Ga. 1999 witnessed the release of the suspenseful and satisfying thriller True Crime, which he produced, directed, and starred in. As for upcoming projects, Eastwood has been mentioned to star in Henry in Love, a drama about an older man who marries a young woman, fathers a child, and then discovers that he has a terminal illness; and to direct Golf in the Kingdom, the story of a man who finds enlightenment while playing golf in Scotland. Speaking of golf, Eastwood is moving forward, despite the objections of environmentalists, to develop a golf course, hotel, and several exclusive homes in Monterey County, south of San Francisco.

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