Actor and director Clint Eastwood (1930-) was born Clinton Eastwood, Jr. on this day in San Francisco, California. His father was a successful stock broker until the Great Depression.
Eastwood, like many others at that time, grew up watching his dad struggle to support his family. The talented performer turned to music and played jazz piano while still in high school.
"Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands," Eastwood once advised.
In 1959, the actor won popularity on the TV Western Rawhide, then starred in three Italian spaghetti Westerns with director Sergio Leone as the stoic but violent gun slinger. "A grizzled Christ figure," described Time Magazine critic Richard Corliss.
"Violence is nothing new," the charismatic actor said. "It's given to kids out of the Old Testament in stories that are much more violent than any film I've made."
"Go ahead, make my day," his character Dirty Harry Callahan dared. The vigilante law enforcement officer became a cultural icon and spiraled Eastwood to entertainment immortality.
"There was some feeling at that time that there was some kind of great political statement in Dirty Harry," Eastwood explained. "But that was just kind of nonsense. We we just trying to make a good detective story. We didn't care too much about all that other stuff."
In 1986, the actor was elected Mayor of Carmel and served for two years, helping "to get things done." He later said, "We got things built -- beach walkways, a library annex which had been waiting 25 years, and so on. I approached it from a business point of view, not a political one."
Eastwood's crowning achievement was winning the Best Director Oscar in 1993 for Unforgiven, considered one of the best Westerns ever made.
"If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster," tough guy Eastwood observed. "If you think it's going to rain, it will."
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With age comes wisdom.