The international film icon was born today, May 31st, 1930, in San Francisco to Clinton Eastwood Sr. and Ruth Wood. While growing up the family moved around Northern California frequently before finally settling in Oregon. He moved to Seattle in 1951 where he worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the military for two years, before returning to California.
His acting career started in 1955 with Clint getting mostly small uncredited parts in B-movies. He almost gave up acting before getting his big break in 1959 on the TV series ’Rawhide’, where he was a supporting cast member for six years. Eventually, Eastwood was cast in his first leading role on the big screen as “The Man with No Name” in the spaghetti western trilogy ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ (1964), ‘For a Few Dollars More’ (1965) and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966), all by legendary Italian director Sergio Leone.
Here are some fun facts that you may not have known about the actor:
- Even Chuck Norris is afraid of him .
- Is of a mixed heritage that includes Dutch, Scottish, Irish and English blood.
- Got his role in ‘Rawhide’ in 1959 while visiting a friend at the CBS lot when a studio exec spotted him because he “looked like a cowboy.”
- He wore the same poncho, without ever having washed it, in all three of his “Man with No Name” Westerns.
- Elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
- It’s reported that when directing, he simply says “okay” instead of “action” and “cut.”
- Known on-set as a director for filming very few takes and having an easy shooting schedule. Tim Robbins once said that when working on ‘Mystic River’, Eastwood would usually ask for only one take, or two “if you were lucky”, and that a day of filming would consist of starting “no earlier than 9 a.m. and you leave, usually, after lunch.”
- Was offered Al Pacino’s role in ‘Any Given Sunday’ (1999), but turned it down because Warner Bros. wouldn’t let him direct it also.
- The producers of ‘Dirty Harry’ (1971) originally didn’t want Eastwood. They only accepted him for the role after John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and Robert Mitchum turned the film down.
- Turned down Tommy Lee Jones’s roles in ‘Men in Black’ (1997).
- Fluent in Italian.
- He’s an accomplished jazz pianist.
- Though he has always been an agnostic, he practices meditation twice a day.
- According to sources and published biographies, he had affairs with actresses Catherine Deneuve, Jill Banner, Kay Lenz, Jamie Rose, Inger Stevens, Jo Ann Harris, Rebecca Perle, casting director Jane Brolin (née Agee), script analyst Megan Rose (long-term), and former swimming champion Anita Lhoest.
- Has 7 children by 5 different women.