Actor, director, producer. Born Clinton Eastwood, Jr., on May 31, 1930, to Clinton, Sr. and Ruth Eastwood. He has one older sister, Jean. After traveling and looking for work throughout California during the Depression, the family settled in Oakland, where Eastwood graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1948.
Eastwood worked odd jobs as a hay bailer, logger, truck driver, and steel-furnace stoker. In 1950, he was called to military duty with the Army Special Services, based at Ford Ord in Monterey, California. While in the Army, Eastwood met actors David Janssen and Martin Milner, who convinced him to move to Los Angeles in 1954 after he finished his military duty. Eastwood took a screen test and signed a contract with Universal for seventy-five dollars a week. His first roles were in the science fiction films Revenge of the Creature (1955), and Tarantula (1955). Eastwood’s rugged looks landed him the role of Rowdy Yates in the CBS TV series Rawhide (1959), which ran for eight seasons.
In 1964, he went to Italy to star in a trio of westerns directed by Sergio Leone. The role Eastwood took—the cool, laconic “Man with No Name”—had been turned down by James Coburn and Charles Bronson. The films included A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) (a remake of the classic Yojimbo), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Nicknamed “spaghetti westerns” due to their Italian production, these films gained worldwide popularity and Eastwood became internationally known.
Back in the United States, he directed his first film, the thriller Play Misty For Me (1971), and starred in the leading role. His next important project was a series of violent action movies portraying Harry Callahan, a contentious San Francisco cop. The Dirty Harry series proved immensely popular with the public and included five films over a period of seventeen years, including Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988).
Eastwood then started directing, winning critical acclaim for the Charlie Parker biography, Bird (1988). He also earned accolades for directing and producing the 1992 Western Unforgiven, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He directed and starred in A Perfect World (1993); The Bridges of Madison County (1994) with Meryl Streep; and Absolute Power (1997). He directed (but did not appear in) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997); and produced, directed and starred in the thriller True Crime (1999).
August of 2000 saw the release of his directorial and acting project, Space Cowboys, costarring James Garner, Donald Sutherland, and Tommy Lee Jones. In 2003, he released the haunting and award-winning directorial effort Mystic River starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Eastwood won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Director for Million Dollar Baby starring Hilary Swank two years later. The film also won the Best Picture Oscar. That same year, he received the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.
In 2006, Eastwood directed two World War II dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. These companion films viewed the conflict from two distinctly different perspectives. Flags of Our Fathers explored the American side, telling the story of one man’s efforts to learn more about his father’s involvement in the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima—a moment captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. The film featured a number of young Hollywood actors, including Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, and Paul Walker. Truly multitalented, Eastwood wrote some of the music for the film.
Drawing from correspondence found on that island battlefield, Letters of Iwo Jima looks at the experiences of Japanese soldiers there during the war. While both films earned a lot of praise, Letters from Iwo Jima garnered four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Eastwood’s fourth nod for Best Director.
Next for Eastwood is the family dramatic thriller The Changeling, which stars Angelina Jolie as a mother of a kidnapped child. Her character suspects that the child who is eventually returned to her is not, in fact, her son. Based on a true story, the film is set for an October 2008 release.
Outside of acting, Eastwood has tried his hand at politics. He was elected mayor of Carmel, California, in 1986, serving two years.
Eastwood has been married only twice, but had a number of relationships and fathered several children out of wedlock. He was married to Maggie Johnson between 1953 and 1980. They had two children, Alison (1972) and Kyle (1968). While married to Johnson, he had a child by Roxanne Tunis: Kimber Eastwood (1964). He became romantically involved starting in 1975 with costar Sondra Locke, which ended bitterly with a palimony suit in 1989. He is the father of two children by Jacelyn Reeves: Kathryn (1988) and Scott (1986). He and Frances Fisher had a daughter, Francesca Ruth. He married Tina Ruiz, a TV newscaster, in 1996. They had a daughter, Morgan, in December 1996.