Clint Eastwood was born during the Great Depression and his parents had to take odd jobs and move around to make ends meet. His mother said that it was a shame for Eastwood that he wasn’t born rich because he could have had so much fun. Clint’s fortune now stands at a coll $375 million and he’s done it all through his own hard work. Here are the life experiences of this silver screen legend. Scroll down and learn about how he became the icon he is today.
His family settled down in Piedmont, California throughout most of the 1940s and Eastwood attended Piedmont High School until he was dismissed for tearing up a wet football field with his bike. He went on to enroll in Oakland Technical High School, where he got to work with his hands.
Eastwood worked a bunch of odd jobs after school and during the summers. He took jobs baling hay and working for California’s forestry service clearing brush and putting out fires. After graduating, he forged metal at Bethlehem Steel, sold bonds, worked on aircraft parts at Boeing, bagged groceries, patrolled the beach as a lifeguard, worked at a canning company, worked as a lumberjack in Oregon (where timber fell on him and messed up one of his knees), and caddied for the upper crust at the Claremont Country Club.
Eastwood claims he attempted to enroll in Seattle University, but didn’t make it because he was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. Luckily, he was never deployed into combat. Instead, he was sent to Fort Ord on Monterey Bay in California for basic training and later served as a swimming instructor, spending his nights and weekends working as a bouncer at the NCO club.
When Eastwood decided to take his girlfriend to visit his parents, the plane he was taking ran out of fuel, so had to crash land at sea. It was a successful landing, but he and the pilot had to swim to shore. The sea was actually infested with sharks, which they didn’t know at the time. Luckily they both made it to shore after swimming from the late afternoon until dark.
After his time in the army, he was accepted to Los Angeles City College and chose to major in business administration. He dropped out of college after one year and started to pursue acting full time.
Without any experience, Eastwood had no idea how to act. Luckily, he met up with a Universal Studios contract director, Arthur Lubin, who was struck by his good looks and whose company was searching for and training new talent. Eastwood was hired on a seven-year training contract that paid $75 a week.
According to Schickel’s biography, Eastwood had a “basic aversion to hard work.” His longtime friend and producer, Fritz Manes, summed up Eastwood by saying “I don’t think he wanted to do something that was too taxing. I don’t think he realized how taxing acting was.”
Eventually, Eastwood started getting bit part roles in films. His first working contract with Universal upped his pay to $100 a week for twenty weeks, with extensions up to six months which was quite a large sum of money at the time.
Eastwood’s debut came in a film called Revenge of the Creature in 1954. He played a lab assistant who misplaced a lab rat. As for the movie, well it was bad enough to get its own Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode.
Eastwood was fired in 1959, about five years after Universal had hired him. He had a small role in nine out of 11 movies during his time with Universal, although he did get third billing in the 1958 film Ambush at Crimson Pass. Eastwood later called this “probably the lousiest Western ever made.”
Eastwood started becoming famous for his role in Rawhide, a Western TV show based on two cattle ranchers in the late 1800s dealing with the hardships of travel. The show was a hit and gave Eastwood the attention he needed to land a significant screen role. By the end of its run, he was making $100,000 per season.
Eastwood refused to appear in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly until his demands of $250,000 and another new Ferrari were met. He, in fact, was not particularly interested in the movie due to the character and excessive dialogue.
When asked whether it was true that he wore the same poncho in A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1996) without washing it, Eastwood confirmed the rumor and explained that “If you washed it, it would fall apart.” He still has the poncho to this day.
Eastwood founded the Malpaso Company in 1968 and got the company’s name from his agent’s bad advice, who pointed out that it would be a “bad step” for Eastwood’s career to appear in Leone’s trilogy. “Bad Step” in Spanish is Malpaso.
Since its founding, Malpaso productions have produced 56 films and is showing no sign of slowing down. Last year, Eastwood’s movie The Mule, which is a true story about an 88-year-old drug dealer, opened to over $100 million at the box office and received glowing reviews.
Despite his lack of formal education, he has directed many award-winning films like Mystic River, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Letters From Lwo Jima and The Bridges of Madison County. He has a filmography of over 70 movies, but there are a few stinkers, including Paint Your Wagon, City Heart, Pink Cadillac, and White Hunter Black Heart.
When he was younger, Eastwood loved music, particularly jazz, and was good at the piano. He even released his own album, “Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites” in 1963 and released a single in 1961 called “Unknown Girl Of My Dream.” In 2001, he released a two-disc live album, “Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall,” where he played music with various jazz musicians, and it was well received.
Eastwood’s foray into politics hit its zenith during the 2012 presidential election, where he delivered a strange speech to an invisible Barack Obama sitting in an empty chair. In 1986, he was elected mayor of a 4,000 person town in California and was aggravated that the local government wouldn’t allow the sale of fast food, mainly ice cream, which could have been eaten on the streets.
According to Google, Eastwood has seven kids. However, his own daughter Alison told the Sunday Times in 2011, “My dad has eight children by six women.” Either seven or eight, that’s quite a lot.
In a 2016 interview with Esquire, Eastwood was asked how he stayed so vibrant. He gave his secret as below. “Yeah, you’re as young as you feel. As young as you want to be,” he said, “There’s an old saying I heard from a friend of mine. People ask him, ‘Why do you look so good at your age?’ He’ll say, ‘Because I never let the old man in.’ And there’s truth to that. It’s in your mind; how far you let him come in.”