Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clint Eastwood - King Of Hollywood's Alpha-Males

One of the grand old men of Hollywood, Clint Eastwood is the classic American alpha-male.

A sifu (master) of Hollywood, he is best known for his no-nonsense work ethics, spartan and health-conscious lifestyle, dedication to lifelong work and productivity, and raw masculinity which only Wolverine (played by Australian Hugh Jackman) can eclipse.

He turns 80 on May 31, 2010 and I take this opportunity to wish him a happy birthday, continued success and good health.

Read all about him, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Clinton Elias Eastwood, Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American film actor, director, producer and composer.

He has received five Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and five People's Choice Awards — including one for Favourite All-Time Motion Picture Star.

Eastwood is known for his anti-hero acting roles in violent action and Western films.

Following his role as a cast member of the TV series Rawhide starting in 1958, he went on to star as the Man With No Name in the Dollars trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns in the 1960s and as Inspector Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry films of the 1970s and 1980s.

These roles have made him an enduring icon of masculinity.

Eastwood is also known for his comedic efforts in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can, his two highest-grossing films.

For his work in the films Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004), Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture and received nominations for Best Actor.

These films, as well as Play Misty For Me (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Escape From Alcatraz (1979), Pale Rider (1985), In The Line Of Fire (1993) and Gran Torino (2008) have all received great critical acclaim and commercial success.

He has directed most of his star vehicles as well as films he has not acted in, such as Mystic River (2003) and Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), for which he received Academy Award nominations.

He also served as the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California from 1986–1988, tending to support small business interests on the one hand and environmental protection on the other.

Eastwood was born in San Francisco, California, to Clinton Elias Eastwood Sr. (1906–1970), a steelworker, and Margaret Ruth Rutherford (1909–2006), a factory worker.

He was a large baby (5.62 kg) and was named "Samson".

Eastwood is of British ancestry.

The family settled in Piedmont, California, where Eastwood attended Piedmont High School.

Eastwood held several jobs as he moved to different areas, including a paper carrier, grocer clerk, forest firefighter and caddy.

After graduating high school in 1949, Eastwood was drafted into the US Army.

He was stationed at Fort Ord where his certificate as a lifeguard got him appointed as a life-saving and swimming instructor.

Eastwood safeguarded film and television actors who had joined the Army through the Special Services Programme.

In 1951, while on leave, Eastwood rode in a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of gas and crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes.

After escaping the sinking fuselage, Eastwood and the pilot swam several miles to the shore.

He later moved to Los Angeles and wed college student Maggie Johnson in 1953.

In 1954, Eastwood made his first film audition, trying out for a part in Six Bridges To Cross. It was unsuccessful.

He also tried out for Brigadoon, The Constant Nymph, Bengal Brigade and The Seven Year Itch, all without success.

Eastwood eventually starred in the film Revenge Of The Creature, set in the Amazon jungle, which was the sequel to The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

Universal presented him with his first TV role, NBC's Allen In Movieland in 1955, starring Tony Curtis and Benny Goodman.

In 1958 he starred as Rowdy Yates in Rawhide. The TV series won the American Heritage Award as the best Western series.

Eastwood also appeared in Western comedy series Maverick, with James Garner.

In late 1963, Eastwood starred in A Fistful Of Dollars directed by Sergio Leone of Spain.

This film was a benchmark in the development of Spaghetti Westerns. Eastwood became a new icon of Western heroes, more lawless and desolate than usual.

It also made Eastwood a major film star in Italy. The film also redefined Western heroes into bounty hunters with distinct moral ambiguity.

A Fistful Of Dollars spawned two sequels, For A Few Dollars More in 1965 and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly in 1967.

Eastwood's iconic anti-hero in the trilogy was known as The Man With No Name.

In 1969, he starred in Hang 'Em High which was influenced by Rawhide.

He also starred in the World War II epic Where Eagles Dare.

In the same year he starred in his only musical Paint Your Wagon with Lee Marvin.

In 1970, Eastwood starred in the Western Two Mules For Sister Sara with Shirley MacLaine and the World War II movie Kelly's Heroes with Telly Savalas (Kojak) and Donald Sutherland.

Another major film in this year was The Beguiled, which was well-received in France.

In 1971, Eastwood directed his first film Play Misty For Me.

He also stepped into the iconic role of Inspector Harry Callahan, a tough, no-nonsense cop in Dirty Harry.

As Callahan, Eastwood defined the "follow-no-rules" cop film genre.

However, his character was also criticised for being misogynistic and disrespectful of human rights.

In 1972, he starred in the Western Joe Kidd. A year later, he starred in the Western High Plains Drifter.

In 1973, he reprised his role as Callahan in Magnum Force.

A year later he joined Jeff Bridges in action film Thunderbolt And Lightfoot.

In 1975 he starred in The Eiger Sanction, a commercial failure, and The Outlaw Josey Wales. It also starred his son Kyle, then seven.

He also did a third Dirty Harry film The Enforcer in 1976. Panned by critics, it marked Tyne Daly's first major screen appearance (she later became famous in Cagney And Lacey).

In 1977, Eastwood directed and starred in The Gauntlet as a down-and-out cop.

Two years later he appeared in Escape From Alcatraz, based on the true story of Frank Lee Morris, who, along with John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the notorious Alcatraz prison in 1962.

In 1980, Eastwood directed and played the star of a Wild West Show in the comedy film Bronco Billy.

His children Kyle and Alison had small roles as orphans.

In 1982, Eastwood directed and starred in Honkytonk Man, based on the novel by Clancy Carlile about country music singer Red Stovall, set during the Great Depression.

In 1982, Eastwood also directed, produced and starred in the Cold War-themed Firefox, based on a 1977 novel by British novelist Craig Thomas.

The fourth Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact in 1983 was considered the darkest, "dirtiest" and most violent film of the series. However, it was also the most popular.

In 1984, Eastwood starred in the thriller Tightrope set in New Orleans.

Eastwood starred in the period comedy City Heat with Burt Reynolds in 1984.

A year later he starred in Steven Spielberg's TV series Amazing Stories. Spielberg later produced Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima with Eastwood as director.

In 1986, Eastwood starred in the military drama Heartbreak Ridge, about the 1983 US invasion of Grenada.

Eastwood's fifth and final Dirty Harry film, The Dead Pool was released in 1988. It starred Jim Carrey and Liam Neeson.

Carrey later appeared with Eastwood in the poorly received comedy Pink Cadillac (1989).

In 1990 Eastwood starred as a character closely based on the legendary film-maker John Huston in White Hunter Black Heart.

The film was shot in Zimbabwe and Pinewood Studios in England.

He also directed and co-starred with Charlie Sheen in The Rookie.

In 1992, he revisited the Western genre in the self-directed film, Unforgiven, taking on the role of an aging ex-gunfighter.

The film, also starring esteemed actors as Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris, laid the groundwork for later Westerns as Deadwood.

It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Eastwood and Best Original Screenplay.

It won four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.

As of 2009, Unforgiven is the last Western film that Eastwood has made.

In 1993, Eastwood played Frank Horrigan, a guilt-ridden Secret Service agent in the thriller In The Line Of Fire, co-starring John Malkovich and Rene Russo and directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

Later in 1993, Eastwood directed and co-starred with Kevin Costner in A Perfect World.

Eastwood starred opposite Meryl Streep in the love story The Bridges Of Madison County in 1995.

He also directed and starred in the well-received political thriller Absolute Power and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil in 1999.

In 2000, Eastwood directed and starred in Space Cowboys, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner.

Two years later, he appeared with Jeff Daniels in the thriller Blood Work.

In 2003, he directed the crime drama Mystic River which won two Academy Awards, Best Actor for Sean Penn and Best Supporting Actor for Tim Robbins, as well as nominations for Best Director and Best Picture.

In 2005, Eastwood produced, directed and starred in Million Dollar Baby with Hilary Swank.

He played a cantankerous trainer who forms a bond with a female boxer (played by Swank) whom he reluctantly trains after being persuaded by his lifelong friend (played by Morgan Freeman).

She becomes paralysed in a fight and he assists her suicide.

The film won four Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Freeman).

Eastwood also received a nomination for Best Actor and the trio was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture.

In 2006, Eastwood directed two films about the Battle Of Iwo Jima in World War II.

The first one, Flags Of Our Fathers, focused on the men who raised the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi.

The second one, Letters From Iwo Jima, dealt with the tactics of the Japanese soldiers on the island and the letters they wrote to family members.

Letters From Iwo Jima was the first American film to show a war issue completely from the view of an American enemy.

Both films were praised by critics and garnered several Oscar nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture for Letters From Iwo Jima.

In 2007, Eastwood directed and produced Changeling, based on a true story starring Angelina Jolie.

He also directed, produced and starred in Gran Torino, and wrote the film's theme song.

Gran Torino became his highest grossing film.

In 2009, Eastwood directed Invictus, with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby team captain Francois Pienaar.

In the same year he directed Hereafter, a thriller film starring Matt Damon as "a reluctant psychic".

Eastwood is politically conservative and Republican. However he is against authoritarianism and US invasions (of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq), and for gun control, gay rights, feminism and abortion.

His first marriage to model Maggie Johnson in 1953 resulted in the birth of Kyle in 1968 and Allison in 1972. They divorced in 1975.

His second wife from 1975 to 1989 was Sondra Locke who starred in some of his films (Every Which Way But Loose, Any Which Way You Can and Bronco Billy).

His third wife from 1989 to 1995 was actress Frances Fisher who starred with him in Unforgiven. They had a daughter, Francesca in 1993.

In 1996, he married television host Diana Ruiz, 35 years his junior.

As a singer and musician, Eastwood loves jazz. In 1996 he hosted a jazz concert titled Eastwood After Hours and wrote Why Should I Care with Linda Thompson and Carole Bayer Sager.

His son Kyle is a jazz musician.

Eastwood also owns the Tehama Golf Club in Carmel-By-The-Sea.

Eastwood is one of only two people to have been twice nominated for Best Actor and Best Director for the same film (Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby), the other being Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait and Reds).

Along with Beatty, Robert Redford, Richard Attenborough, Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson, he is one of the few directors best known as an actor to win an Academy Award for directing.

On February 27, 2005, at 74, he became one of only three living directors (along with Milos Forman and Francis Ford Coppola) to have directed two Best Picture winners.

He was also, at age 74, the oldest recipient of the Academy Award for Best Director.

Eastwood has directed five actors in Academy Award–winning performances - Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in Mystic River and Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.

Eastwood has received numerous other awards, including an America Now TV Award.

He received an honorary degree from the University Of The Pacific in 2006 and an honorary degree from the University Of Southern California in 2007.

In 2009, he was made French Legion Of Honour Commander. He was previously made French Legion Of Honour Knight in 2007.