The tall, lean and laconic ‘Man with No Name’ remains mostly famous for his spaghetti Westerns and ‘Dirty Harry’ movies.  In recent years, however, he has become a highly acclaimed director.

Born in 1930, Eastwood, the son of a steel worker, grew up during the dark days of the Depression and attributes his Republicanism partly to being raised without material comforts.  He thinks that that tends to make people more conservative. 

The patriotic young man was drafted into the army during the Korean War and was due to be sent there, but his Navy plane home to Seattle developed engine trouble and was forced to make a water landing near San Francisco.  The intrepid actor swam over a mile to shore.  The Navy was highly impressed and gave him a job as a swimming instructor.

He was able to study under the G.I. Bill and attended a business related degree at Los Angeles City College, where he also studied drama.  His first roles were in B-films, such as Tarantula (1955) and Francis in the Navy (1955), but he got his first big break in the long-running TV series, Rawhide (1959) after a studio executive said that Eastwood ‘looked like a cowboy.”  His character, the maverick cowboy, Rowdy Yates, was extremely popular and Eastwood’s star was born.

His Spaghetti Westerns – A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) – were also huge hits.  Directed by Sergio Leone, these rather cynical movies featured Eastwood as a lonely gunslinger only interested in money and determined to remove every obstacle in his way.

Other successful movies starring Eastwood included Where Eagles Dare (1968), a classic World War Two movie, Paint Your Wagon (1969), a musical with an off-beat charm, and the very creepy Play Misty for Me (1971) in which Eastwood’s character is stalked by a listener of his radio show.

In his famous and violent ‘Dirty Harry’ series of movies he played a tough police inspector who told a crook who threatened him to “Go ahead, make my day!”  This line used in the fourth ‘Dirty Harry’ movie, Sudden Impact (1985), was also famously spoken by President Ronald Reagan.  These movies were again huge hits.

His star declined in the late eighties but he began directing.  He has won Oscars for Best Director twice.  These were for the movies, The Unforgiven (1992), a Western set in the 1880’s in which Eastwood plays a bounty hunter, and Million Dollar Baby (2004) in which he stars as the trainer of a determined woman boxer.  The Unforgiven takes the view that violence doesn’t solve anything which was surprising after the violence of many of Eastwood’s earlier films.  Million Dollar Baby caused much controversy because it appeared to promote euthanasia for severely disabled people.

Some other big hits of Eastwood’s include The Eiger Sanction (1975), in which Eastwood did his own rock-climbing stunts, and In the Line of Fire (1993), in which he played a determined secret agent out to catch an assassin wanting to kill the president. 

The actor also has a famous profile outside acting.  He was Mayor of Carmel-on-the-Sea in California, where he also ran a restaurant, and he became Vice-Chair of the California State Park and Recreation Commission in 2002.

Eastwood appears to be just as maverick in real life as he is in his films.  Although registered as a Republican, he has argued that he is really a libertarian – not too conservative and not left-wing. He strongly supports same-sex marriages and his film, Million Dollar Baby, became controversial because it appeared to promote euthanasia.  He dislikes violence and is a vegetarian but he’s starred in very violent movies.  He refused to campaign for President Bush but he jokingly threatened to kill Michael Moore, perhaps because he didn’t like his interview with his good friend, Charlton Heston.  (Clint Eastwood, at

He has been married three times and has seven children.  His much younger wife, beautiful Dina Ruiz, was a local newsreader.