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Actor and Academy Award-winning Director
Was it the Army that made Clint Eastwood tough? On screen as a leading actor, Clint Eastwood embodied the quintessential tough-guy-hero, creating the famous movie line, "Go ahead; make my day."
Drafted into the Army during the Korean War, Eastwood was sent to Ft. Ord in California for basic training, where he remained until discharged in 1953. In the Army, he became buddies with two other soldiers interested in acting: David Janssen and Martin Milner. After they were discharged, the three budding actors shared an apartment in Los Angeles. Janssen went on to become TV's The Fugitive; Milner became a cop on Adam-12; and Eastwood, of course, became one of the movies' all-time toughest tough guys, as well as an Oscar award-winning director.
Early in his career and signed to a contract at Universal, Eastwood was only given small roles in third-rate movies. Universal eventually dropped Eastwood altogether, noting that his Adam's apple was too large and that made him funny-looking.
Eastwood's luck changed when a CBS executive spotted him and thought he was right for an upcoming TV western series. For the next seven years, Eastwood played the role of Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, which made him a TV star.
Eastwood wanted to act in movies, but Hollywood filmmakers still showed little interest in him. Instead, Eastwood began making low-budget westerns in Italy. His trio of films, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, were at first dismissed as "spaghetti westerns," but it was these films that subsequently made Eastwood one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
Returning to America in typical tough guy fashion, Eastwood decided, "I can screw up my career just as much as anybody," and decided to start his own movie production company, The Malpaso Company. His first production was Hang 'Em High in 1968. His Malpaso Company produced most of Eastwood's famous films including Dirty Harry, The Enforcer, Escape from Alcatraz, Firefox, High Plains Drifter, Magnum Force, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Paint Your Wagon, Pale Rider, A Perfect World, Play Misty for Me, Two Mules for Sister Sara, and Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can.
In 1986, Eastwood announced that he was running for mayor of Carmel California. He won the election in a 72% landslide, and his two years as Mayor proved fruitful: Eastwood reduced the city's regulations, had sidewalks put in on city streets, and got a library annex built.
In his career, Eastwood has directed 25 feature films, most starring himself, and most earning positive including The Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby.